Waste Hauler to Pay $26 Million Settlement Four Former Executives at Waste Management to Share in Payment
Comerford, Mike, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Mike Comerford Daily Herald Business Writer
Another chapter is closing on one of the Chicago-area's most notorious cases of alleged corporate fraud.
Formerly-based in Oak Brook, Waste Management and four of its former executives agreed last week to a $26.8 million settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for alleged accounting frauds.
The SEC contends the executives, including high profile Chicago- area executives Dean Buntrock and Phillip Rooney, were "driven by greed" when they "cooked the books" by $1.7 billion in false profits, earning themselves multiple millions of dollars in the process.
The five-year - 1992 to 1997 - accounting correction of the waste hauler's books by subsequent directors was the largest correction in U.S. corporate history, prior to the collapse of Enron Corp., according to the SEC. Waste Management shareholders lost $6 billion in market value.
The failure of auditor Arthur Andersen to blow the whistle led it to settle with the government for $7 million, the largest accounting fine up to that point and widely thought to contribute to Andersen's eventual demise after subsequent corporate scandals.
Eventually, co-founder Buntrock and former chief executive Rooney both resigned from the company and it was sold to Houston- based US Waste Services, which took on the Waste Management name. …