Waste Management, Inc. is the nation's largest waste collector (Feder). In other words, they collect and recycle garbage. They are a known brand and dominate the regions of the country and Canada where they provide services. Grownups and kids alike see their trucks and think, "Garbage". Which could sound awful, but garbage is lucrative.
In the early 1990's, Waste Management, instead of just picking up the garbage, provided garbage to their investors in the form of an accounting scandal which cost investors approximately $6 billion (Bloomberg News) and was described by Thomas C. Newkirk, associate director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement as "one of the most egregious accounting frauds we have seen" (SEC). What Mr. Newkirk is
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Waste Management survived as an entity for several reasons. One, they were a profitable company versus an operation creating accounting fraud simply to survive. The company had made money, in fact a lot of money, but nothing close to the numbers cooked up by the executive team. Secondly, new management took their role seriously and instead of shuffling their feet and papering over the problem, they acted. They came clean with the public, settled with shareholders, and even paid $26.8 million of the $30.8 million to settle an SEC lawsuit against their former executives (Bloomberg News). This was cheaper than continuing their obligation to pay the legal costs of fighting the suit for the group. Lastly, Waste Management was and still is a leader in the environmental side of waste hauling. They have figured out a way to profit from recycling which is of course a big issue in our nation and the world today. While people may never forget the accounting scandal, today Waste Management is seen as a leader in "green" projects. The goodwill from this and a competent management team have the company in a favorable position less than 15 years after the scandal. That's a strong accomplishment
Works Cited accountingweb. SEC Sues Former Waste Management Officers for Fraud. 26 March 2002. 11 May 2013. .
FEDER, BARNABY J. Waste Management Stuck in Accounting Mire. Ed. New York Times. 30 January 1998. 10 May 2013. .
Yahoo Finance. n.d. 11 May 2013. .
BLOOMBERG NEWS. Waste