On July 22, three former executives of the Rent-Way Corporation
pled guilty to cooking the books of the nation's 2nd largest
rental-purchase company in the United States. The three conspired
to meet the projected earnings they had reported to Wall
Street by making fraudulent entries that underreported operating
expenses and misstated income and earnings per share in the
company's SEC filings in 1999 and 2000.
Each of the men
may be fined and sentenced to imprisonment. In U.S. Attorney
Mary Beth Buchanan's words, "these
convictions send a strong message to companies in this district
and throughout the United States that executives who lie
on company financial statements to manipulate earnings and
circumvent the internal accounting controls of the companies
they lead will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the
The investigation, which was initiated by a tip from the
company's headquarters in Erie, Pennsylvania, was conducted
by the FBI Pittsburgh Field Office and the Securities and
Exchange Commission. The Rent-Way Corporation was lauded
for fully and openly cooperating with investigators, thereby
alleviating some of the significant consequences that could
have attached from the misconduct of its former executives.
To stop corporate fraud, you can make a difference: Call
the FBI's Corporate Fraud Hotline at 888-622-0117.