Worldcom Fraud

In: Business and Management

Submitted By MichaelHammer95
Words 614
Pages 3

WorldCom, the United States second largest telecommunication company stunned the world by filing bankruptcy in July of 2002. The downfall of WorldCom did not just affect the employees, retailers, the government, but also the bankers. WorldCom was a multi-billion dollar telecommunications business that was founded in 1983. They started their business under the name ‘Long Distance Discount Services’ (LDDS) providing long distance telecommunication amenities.
In 1985, Bernie Embers became the company’s CEO, in 1995; the company changed its name to WorldCom. Throughout the 1990’s, WorldCom increases its growth through series of successful acquisitions and mergers. Nevertheless in the late 1999, WorldCom’s performance begins to decrease in due to the upward of overcapacity, competition, and reduced demand for telecommunication services at the start of the economic recession and the result of the dot-com bubble downfall.

All these burdens triggered WorldCom to become involved in accounting fraud and cook the books. WorldCom’s CFO Scoot Sullivan began the process of mismanaging as capital expenditure with what should have been normal expenses, therefore turning losses in profit, creating a camouflage that the company is carrying out well. Until June of 2002, things started to unravel and the company’s stock price plunged. Investigations were carried out and on June 25, WorldCom admits that it had inflated its earnings by $3.8 billion. After several investigations, total amount revealed from improper events raised to $9 billion causing WorldCom to file bankruptcy in July. Numerous top management employees were held responsibilities for the fraud like Ebbers, Sullivan, and Myers to name a few. This is a case where just like the previous case before, bad ethical decisions were made and it cost the company major dollars. They believed that the…...

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...because of the slowing economy and additional competition from competitors. They believed that the company would not survive unless they changed the books numbers to look profitable because of a comment made by Ebbers. “Ebbers made a personal, emotional speech to senior staff about how he and other directors would lose everything if the company did not improve its performance.” p 4. 2.  What is the boundary between earnings smoothing or earnings management and fraudulent reporting? To me there comes a line where you know that the entry that you are making is incorrect, and you make the entry anyways. That to me is where fraud is committed. Otherwise make your best judgement call on what would be appropriate to capitalize, or develop a new way of calculating estimates for accruals if you believe them to be wrong. 3.  Why were the actions taken by WorldCom managers not detected earlier? There was no set of stated policies written in the company. The company most likely had around 30,000 employees in 1995, but didn’t have an employee code of conduct. Since this was not in place, every manager was able to act on their own accord. The accounting department sounded like a war room, where each group had to deceive the other of journal entries. The external auditor was stone walled during the audit, and simply stated the information was a moderate risk. The senior management team used scare tactics or “it’ll only be one time” tactic to coheres employees to making fraudulent......

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...FRAUD AT WORLDCOM LDDS began operations in 1984 offering services to local retail and commercial customers in he southern states. It was initially a loss making enterprise, and thus hired Bernie J. (Bernie) Ebbers to run things. It took him less than a year to make the comoany profitable. By the end of 1993, LDDS was the fourth largest long distance carrier in the United States. After a shareholder vote in May 1995, the company officially came to be known as Worldcom. Corporate Culture Worldcom had an autocratic style of management and followed a top down approach. Each department had its own rules and management style. There was no outlet for employees to express their concerns. Top hierarchy granted compensation and bonus beyond the company guidelines to a select group of individuals based on their loyalty to them. Expense to Revenue Ratio (E/R) Ratio Ebbers was obsessed with revenue growth and insisted on a 42% E/R ratio. He encouraged managers to push for revenue, even if it meant that long term costs would out weigh the short term gains. As business operations declined post the 1st quarter in 2000, CFO Sullivan used the following accounting tactics to achieve targeted performance: 1. Accrual releases: Accounting principles require companies to estimate expected payments from line costs and match them with revenues in the income statement. Throughout 1999 and 2000, Sullivan told staff to release accruals which too high compared to the relative cash......

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