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Anatomy of a Fraud–HealthSouth's Downfall told by Aaron Beam

Aaron Beam will give a talk at Washington and Lee University on “The Untold Story of HealthSouth,” one of America’s most successful health care companies and its downfall, on Monday, May 12, from 5-7 p.m. in the Hillel Multipurpose Room 101.

Beam’s talk is free and open to the public.

Beam was the first chief financial officer of HealthSouth Corp. and, as a co-founder, witnessed first-hand the series of accounting, stock manipulation and leadership failures that led HealthSouth to the $2.8 billion securities fraud scandal and ultimate prosecutions. It was one of the largest accounting frauds in American history.

Ethics First is the primary message Beam conveys to his audiences. His experience with HealthSouth and the research he has done about ethics in American business has shaped the message he delivers to any audience that values ethical behavior, and the process of achieving it.

He explains to his audiences the heights of success, followed by the unethical and illegal mistakes that led to his professional downfall. Serving three months in federal prison for his role in approving fraudulent quarterly numbers in 1996 and losing his C.P.A. credentials, led Beam to his current speaking career; trying to make a positive difference by educating others about the pitfalls of unethical business practices. Through his Ethics First message he identifies early warning signs, influences and the bad choices he and others made at HealthSouth.

Beam has spoken at universities, healthcare companies, auditor meetings and conventions, securities training seminars and ethics institutes across the U.S.  He has spoken to student audiences as a guest lecturer at many business schools, including the University of Chicago, Louisiana State University, Penn State, Stanford and over 50 other schools.

Beam learned a lesson the hard way. His is a cautionary tale with a moral for all: “You have to stand up for what you believe in—or you may be the guy that goes to prison and pays the price.”