CFMA of Massachusetts March Meeting

| March 25, 2015 | 0 Comments
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Weston Smith

Needham, MA – Weston Smith, former vice president and CFO for HealthSouth Corporation, told members of the CFMA of Massachusetts attending the March meeting in Needham that “the need for ethics and integrity isn’t just a business story. They should be the foundation for all worthwhile goals and accomplishments in life.”

He said the history of his former company pointed out the importance of this maxim in real life terms. Here is his story as told to the CFMA and reported by William Mee:

By the late 90s, HealthSouth had grown from an idea to over 2,000 locations in all 50 states and five countries. The company became listed on the New York Stock Exchange and joined the Fortune 500. At the same time, senior management was perpetrating a massive fraud, to the tune of over $4 billion over a 14-year timeframe. Smith said it eventually cost investors billions, thousands their jobs, and put him in a federal penitentiary for 14 months.

He pointed out that, at HealthSouth, the corruption began at the top and involved the executive management team. He highlighted the accounting gymnastics that the company was going through and pointed out many of the bright red flags, that in hindsight, should have tipped off the regulators, and auditors, as to what was going on.

He eventually was unable to continue the fraud and worked with authorities to end that which took an enormous toll on innocent investors and HealthSouth employees. Over the past decade he has been telling his story to professionals and students all across the country as an example of what not to do.

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