The Sunbeam Case Casts a Long Shadow

The SEC is readying more than a score of fraud prosecutions against corporate clients of the Big Five accounting firms

When the Securities & Exchange Commission charged former Sunbeam Corp. Chief Executive Officer Albert J. Dunlap and four other former executives with accounting fraud on May 15, accountants and their allies were quick to whisper, "What took so long?" Sunbeam's accounting problems came to light nearly three years ago, when Sunbeam's board fired "Chainsaw Al" and wrote down its reported profits for 1996, 1997, and 1998 by more than $90 million.

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