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Accounting Scandal- Waste management Inc

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Accounting Scandal by Waste Management Inc. from 1992 - 1997, Accounting Standard Violation, Management Involved, Auditors Role in Fraud

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Accounting Scandal- Waste management Inc

  1. 1. By – Saurabh Maloo
  2. 2. What is Accounting Fraud? • Accounting Frauds, or majorly corporate accounting scandals, are political and business scandals which arise with the disclosure of misdeeds by trusted executives of large public corporations. • Such misdeeds typically involve complex methods, sometimes with the cooperation of officials in other corporations or affiliates. • In public companies, this type of "creative accounting" can amount to fraud and investigations are typically launched by government oversight agencies. Ways to Commit Accounting Frauds • Using or misdirecting funds • Overstating revenues • Understating expenses • Overstating the value of corporate assets • Under reporting the existence of liabilities
  3. 3. Services Offered • Manages and reduces waste • Provides collection, transfer, recycling, and disposal services • Recovers resources and creates clean and renewable energy • Removal of Methane Gas from landfilled facilities which was used in electrical generation Brief History • Founded in 1894 • Headquartered in Houston,TX( First City Tower) • Based Out of Chicago, IL prior to moving to Houston, TX in 1998 • Four Geographic Groups-(Midwest, Western, Eastern, Southern) Customer Base • Industrial Corporations • Municipal Corporations • Residential Households • Other Waste Management Companies ABOUT THE COMPANY – WASTE MANAGEMENT INCORPORATION
  4. 4. What did they Do? Depreciation expenses on garbage trucks were avoided by •Inflated Salvage Values •Extended Useful Lives •Salvage Values were assigned to assets that had no resale values Expenses were not recorded for •Decreases in value of landfills •Cost of unsuccessful landfill development projects Reserves were manipulated so that excess reserves could be used to avoid recording unrelated operating expenses Variety of expenses were improperly capitalized
  5. 5. Phillip B. Rooney President and chief operating officer, director, and CEO for a portion of the relevant period Acts In Fraud – 1. Ensured that the required write offs were not recorded 2. Overruled accounting decisions that would have negative impact James E. Koenig Executive vice president and chief financial officer Acts In Fraud – 1. responsible for executing the plan 2. ordered the destruction of evidence 3. misled the company's audit committee and internal accountants 4. withheld information from outside auditors Thomas C. Hau Vice president, corporate controller, and chief accounting officer Acts In Fraud – 1. the technician for the falsified data 2. made many “one-off” accounting manipulations to achieve target earnings 3. made deceptive disclosures Dean L. Buntrock Waste Management's founder, chairman of the Board of Directors, Acts In Fraud - 1. Set the Earnings Target 2. Directed Certain Accounting Changes 3. Spokes person who announced the false numbers Who All Were Involved?
  6. 6. How did they do it? Set an annual budget with earning targets. Used “top-level adjustments” to reduce expenses and inflate earnings. Made false and misleading statements about the company. Used accounting manipulations known as "netting" and "geography" to make the results appear better than they were. The executives of Waste Management used netting to eliminate about $490 million expenses and prior accounting misstatements by offsetting them against unrelated gains, like the sale or exchange of assets. They also moved tens of millions of dollars between items on the income statement to make it look good and harder to check the stated amounts
  7. 7. Ind AS 1: Presentation of Financial Statements (AS 1: Disclosure of Accounting Policies) Standard Practice : Financial statements should disclose all “material” items, i.e. items the knowledge of which might influence the decisions of the user of the financial statements Company Practice : The netting tactic allowed them to eliminate almost $500 million in operating expenses from the financial statements, by “offsetting them against unrelated one-time gains on the sale or exchange of assets.” Ind AS 16 :Property, Plant and Equipment (AS 6 : Depreciation Accounting) Standard Practice : The method of depreciation is applied consistently to provide comparability of the results of the operations of the enterprise from period to period Company Practice : The company significantly decreased the depreciation expenses on their garbage trucks, by extending useful lives and changing salvage values Ind AS 16 :Property, Plant and Equipment (AS 10: Accounting for Fixed Assets) Standard Practice : Due to the nature of landfills, GAAP also requires that a company compare a landfill’s cost to its anticipated salvage value, with the difference depreciated over the estimated useful life of the landfill Company Practice : The Company did not account for the decrease in value of their landfills, even though these landfills were constantly being filled with waste. Ind AS 16 :Property, Plant and Equipment (AS 10: Accounting for Fixed Assets) Standard Practice :Only expenditure that increases the future benefits from the existing asset beyond its previously assessed standard of performance is included in the gross book value Company Practice : The Company also improperly capitalized certain expenses that should not have been capitalized. For eg, they did not expense the costs of abandoned landfill development projects, that were unsuccessful. Accounting Standards Violation
  8. 8. Auditors- Arthur Anderson LLP Aware of the improper practices Issued unqualified audit reports Prepared proposed adjusting journal entries (PAJEs) for misstatements to correct the improper accounting practices Role of Auditors The Auditors earned additional fees through “special work” which were shown in the financial statements of the company under the following heads: Accounting work -- $7.5 million Non-Audit consulting fees -- $17.8 million
  9. 9. Effects of Fraud Shareholders lost more than $6 billion when stock prices dropped by more than 33% Waste Management was bought and merged with a smaller company, USA Waste Services Inc. in 1998 Waste Management had to pay $457 million in a class action suit to shareholders Arthur Anderson was fined $7 million In 2005, the fraud accounting lawsuit against the former executives was settled for $31 million The men were banned from serving as officers and directors of a public company How Did The Scandal Become Public? A new CEO hired in 1997 ordered a review of the company’s accounting practices, which led to the discovery in 1998 of an overstatement of $1.7 billion in earnings between the years 1992 to 1997. It was the largest restatement known at that point in history. Year Ending Originally Reported (In Thousands) As Restated (In Thousands) % Overstated 31-Dec-92 $850,306 $739,686 14.90% 31-Dec-93 $452,776 $288,707 56.80% 31-Dec-94 $784,381 $627,508 25.00% 31-Dec-95 $603,899 $340,097 77.60% 31-Dec-96 $192,085 $(39,307) 100+%
  10. 10. Waste Management Inc – At Present.. Although, Waste Management, Inc., with the help of auditor, Arthur Andersen, was investigated, charged with a suit, and required to restate their financial statements, the company was able to continue operations. Today, the company is still serving their clients and the public with waste services such as recycling and disposals. Although they suffered consequences due to their five-year period of fraudulent reporting, the company was lucky enough to recover from their losses and charges filed against them. The Company is currently operating in North America • The Largest Solid Waste Provider in North America. • The leading Provider of Integrated Environmental Solutions in the country. • The Largest Recycler of the state. • Owns Largest Truck Fleet in the North American Industry. • Provide employment to more than 50000 people. • Has a customer base of more than 20 million people.
  11. 11. THANK YOU

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