Welcome to the CPE Edition of Crossing the Line: Ordinary People Committing Extraordinary Crimes. Crossing the Line chronicles the lives of five convicted white-collar felons. These ordinary people tell the stories of how they devolved from corporate citizens to deceptive criminals, destroying their lives in the process. As they fight to rebuild their lives after serving time in federal prison, these individuals provide surprising insights into their past behavior and the road ahead.
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Summary: Exercising professional skepticism is one of the most important responsibilities of an auditor and an accountant. This case highlights one accountant’s struggle with exercising professional skepticism while evaluating a client’s financial statements.
Summary: We are faced with difficult business choices every day. “Good people” can make unethical decisions, so it is critical to develop a sound personal moral compass early in one’s career. This e-case explores one young stockbroker’s experience in the brokerage industry and how his moral compass was impacted by corporate culture.
Summary: Incentive-based compensation often has both a negative and positive impact in today’s corporate environment. Corporate agents are often placed in difficult situations that can lead to conflict between making decisions that are in the best interest of one’s self, but not necessarily the best decisions for the company. Concepts of fairness and entitlement often impact behavioral finance decision making. This case serves as an illustrative example of how issues of overconfidence, fairness and entitlement can impact one’s decision making in our regulated financial markets.
Summary: In this Helios motion comic, students are presented with an ethical dilemma and asked to evaluate the decision of Harry, a middle-aged accounting manager turned white-collar fraudster. This case illustrates how pressure, opportunity and rationalization can converge to lead ordinary people to commit extraordinary crimes. This motion comic is based on a true story.
Summary: Business fraud is a major issue in today’s economy. The ability to identify fraud constructs before they cause damage can be key in preventing large-scale corporate malfeasance. This case provides an overview of common fraud schemes used in embezzlement. In addition, this case illustrates the fraud triangle as it relates to ethical decision making.
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