© D.L. Crumbley
James Comey (U.S. Attorney): “Just following orders is not an excuse for breaking the law.”
Betty Vinson, accountant for WorldCom, was asked by her bosses to make false accounting entries; initially she refused but eventually caved.
“Over the course of six quarters she continued to make the illegal entries transferring expenses to capital accounts to bolster WorldCom’s profits at the request of her superiors. At the end of 18 months, she had helped falsify at least $3.7 billion in profits.”
She eventually confessed, hoping to be a witness. A more aggressive prosecutor made her a target. She and another accountant, Troy Normand, pleaded guilty to two criminal counts, carrying a maximum charge of 15 years in prison.
“When an employee’s livelihood is on the line, it’s tough to say no to a powerful boss.”
Just Say No
Source: Susan Pulliam, “A Staffer Ordered to Commit Fraud Balked, Then Caved,” Wall Street Journal, June 23, 2003, p. A-1.