Waste Management Scandal Essay

882 Words May 2nd, 2013 4 Pages
Waste Management Scandal

Dean Buntrock established Waste Management, Inc. in 1968. Its main purpose is to pick recycling and garbage up from residential housing and businesses. WM also disposes of the garbage in landfills. It has grown to be the largest garbage disposal company in the U.S. today. This company has managed to survive “one of the most egregious accounting frauds we have seen” said Thomas C. Newkirk of the SEC.
This accounting scandal lasted from 1992 to 1997 and was the result of numerous improper expense adjustments to inflate Waste Management’s earnings. They also incorrectly recorded liabilities, depreciation, salvage value of assets and the useful life of those assets to meet projected earnings. Buntrock was the
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This $490 million came from the netting manipulation when they offset their expenses with unrelated gains on the sale of assets. The geography manipulation allowed them to move millions of dollars to different sections of the income statement to “make the financials look the way we want to show them” said James Koenig, one of the primary forces behind the scandal. However, none of the fraudulent activities would have gone unknown for so long without the aid of the auditors, Arthur Anderson LLP, involved with Waste Management.
Buntrock did not act alone in this scandal. Many of his upper-level associates had a hand in this fraud. Other key players included: Phillip Rooney (President, COO and CEO for a period of the scandal), James E. Koenig (CFO and Executive VP), Thomas C. Hau (VP and Chief Accounting Officer), Bruce D. Tobecksen (VP of Finance), and Herbert Getz (Senior VP, General Counsel and Secretary). Each member of this scandal greatly profited in some way. Buntrock made over $16.9 million during the scandal. Rooney earned $9.2 million, Koenig over $900,000, Hau reaped over $600,000, Tobecksen over $400,000 and Getz gained $450,000.
Although the top level managers benefited in this situation, the shareholders suffered greatly. They lost a total of around $6 billion dollars in the market value of Waste Management’s stock. By the end of the scandal Waste…