Media – 2006

Favorite Media Interviews and Mentions

November 15, 2006: The Tuscaloosa News – White-Collar Crime Expert Warns Students, By Jason Smith

Sam shared his story Tuesday afternoon with the University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business students at Alston Hall.

“White collar crime is a brutal crime,” Sam said. “People say it’s not important or it’s not that bad because there’s no blood shed. But white-collar criminals could make 80,000 people lose their jobs.”

Antar said most white-collar criminals can’t be profiled as a group by law enforcement.
“Most white-collar criminals are educated, like me,” Antar said. “They went to college, had a good life, have good jobs and over 90 percent of them have no previous criminal record.”

“White-collar criminals give to charity, invite everyone to their daughter’s wedding and pay for the construction of a new wing in local hospitals,” he said. “People know white-collar criminals and trust them because a lot of the times they’re the pillars of their communities and that’s how they take advantage.”

Antar said the best way to avoid becoming a victim of white-collar crime is to be a “healthy cynic.”

“Trust is going to destroy your career,” he said. “Cynicism is important. I’ve wiped out kids just like you because of trust.”

October 31, 2006: Pensacola News Journal – Convicted CFO Talks Fraud, By Alvin Peabody

In the 1980s, Sam E. Antar had access to two company cars and was earning $300,000 a year as the chief financial officer of a family-owned business.

But Antar wanted more, and with other family members, he helped mastermind one of the largest securities frauds in the nation. It cost investors hundreds of millions of dollars and many people their life savings.

This week, Antar is in Pensacola to help students, businesses and investigators prevent and tackle the kinds of crimes he once helped his family commit.

Antar was the chief financial officer of electronics retailer Crazy Eddie Inc., founded by Antar’s family and named for his cousin. The New York-based chain, famous for its over-the-top TV commercials, collapsed in 1987. Management in the publicly traded company was hiding debt, laundering money, inflating assets and embezzling.

Founder Eddie Antar was eventually extradited and went to jail.

Sam Antar stayed out of prison by pleading guilty and becoming the federal government’s key witness in both the criminal and civil prosecutions. He also cooperated with all civil plaintiffs in the prosecution of their claims.

Antar travels nationwide at his own expense, speaking to various groups about preventing white-collar crimes.

“White-collar crime is not a violent crime, but it can be just as brutal. It is done not with a gun, but with a smile,” said Antar, who is in Pensacola this week as part of a three-day lecture series.

His visit is sponsored by the University of West Florida’s criminal justice and accounting departments. About 75 accounting students attended his lecture Monday, and about 85 members of the Northwest Florida Financial Crime Task Force were to participate in today’s session.

“Having Sam Antar speak to our group certainly helps us educate members and the many customers we encounter,” said Kerri Annis, a fraud investigator with Pensacola-based Gulfwinds Federal Credit Union. Task force members include area bank and credit union employees and law enforcement.

Antar proposes a series of steps in combating white-collar crime. They include the development of strong internal controls to help businesses operate more efficiently and effectively.

A better educated, trained and independent accounting profession is needed to attack the problem, Antar said.

“It’s unfortunate that most of today’s accounting students don’t take a specific course in fraud,” he said.

October 16, 2006: The Ticker (Baruch College – CUNY) – ‘Not so ‘Crazy Eddie’, By Shervan Sebastion

“I was a white-collar criminal,” admits Sam E. Antar, the former CFO and an intricate component of the “Crazy Eddie” securities fraud of the 1970s and 1980s. In this historic paradigm, creditors,and investors lost hundreds of millions of dollars; countless jobs were lost and the saga ended with several criminal indictments for numerous members of the Antar family.

Unlike the many perpetrators of corporate and securities fraud, Antar is not bashful about calling himself, or at least his previous self, a morally questionable and highly deplorable criminal. Though he could have disappeared after his involvement in such a remarkable scam, he chooses instead to speak about his mentality and behavior as a way of deterring future business students and accountants from engaging in practices that could defraud and debilitate such large sects of the unknowing population. He spoke at Baruch last week in part to chronicle how a scandal such as ‘Crazy Eddie’ could be perpetrated for so long without the appropriate checks and balances functioning to recognize fraud and to alert the proper authorities.

October 11, 2006: Marketwatch – Making a Strong Case for Sarbanes-Oxley, By Herb Greenberg

We committed crime simply because we could. Criminologists like to analyze white collar crime in terms of the ‘fraud triangle’ — incentive, opportunity, and rationalization. We had no rationalization. The incentive and opportunity was there, but the morality and excuses were lacking. We never had one conversation about morality during the 18 years that the fraud was going on.”

October 5, 2006: Sentinel-Tribune, Bowling Green, By David Dupont

Some crooks rob you with a gun. Some with a knife. Some use a smile.

Sammy Antar could get along with anybody.

“I was the scum of the earth,” he tells a reporter.

Antar was the accountant from Crazy Eddie, a New York City-based chain of electronics stores that from the 1960s until the 1980s engaged in widespread fraud of various sorts. Antar, the cousin of the chain’s founder Eddie Antar, was central to the conspiracy. And when the company’s tangled web of schemes fell apart, he was central to the government’s case against Eddie Antar and his family. Now he talks about fraud on campuses for free, and has a Web site whitecollarcrime.com

Sammy Antar was on the Bowling Green State University campus Wednesday to deliver a simple message. “I’m here to tell you the brutal truth about white collar crime,” he told graduate accounting students in David Stott’s class.

They will be on the frontline of trying to catch criminals like himself, he said, and the state of education in accounting leaves them unprepared. After four years in school they will be like soldiers sent to Iraq without body armor. “You never learn in accounting school that your clients can be crooks.”

He told students they need to eliminate the word “trust” from their professional vocabularies. “The word ‘trust’ is a professional hazard.”

White collar criminals, he said, “use people’s gratitude. They use people’s humanity against them.”

Antar also made it clear he wasn’t there to express remorse and claim he was a changed man. He ”squealed” to prosecutors because he didn’t want to become somebody’s “boyfriend” in prison. He ended up escaping a prison term.

“I was a criminal for 18 years,” he said.

That started when he was first hired as a stockboy with the company. He was paid in cash under the table. In a few months he was involved in insurance scams.

He went to school to become an accountant, and then worked briefly in the firm charged with auditing the Crazy Eddie where he learned enough to help perpetuate the fraud.

The company did that in several, all nefarious, ways. Early on, it simply didn’t report cash transactions in order to reduce its tax burden. Then in 1980 with the company thriving — its ads featuring a raving “Crazy Eddie” Antar were legend in the city — the company flipped its early scheme around because it now needed to show a profit to attract Wall Street. It started skimming less and less. Those newly reported revenues made the company look even more profitable.

Then once it went public, it engaged in a variety of schemes to inflate its value including shifting inventory from one store to another, and counting empty boxes.

All this was done while the firm was being audited by both a small firm and one of the top eight firms in the country.

For the smaller company, Crazy Eddie represented almost half the firm’s business so they were unlikely to turn them in. With the larger company, Crazy Eddie gave them numerous large consulting contracts. Those consulting deals were worth a lot more than simply auditing the firm.

That meant not only was the firm grateful for the business, but it also assigned the least experienced, easiest to fool auditors to the less profitable auditing jobs.

When the auditor would arrive they would deceive them through distraction. Everyone of their real and imagined needs were met. If they didn’t want to count the boxes, Crazy Eddie would do it for them. If it was a male auditor they’d assign an attractive female employee to work with them. They’d get breakfast, lunch and dinner provided. So any red flags were ignored.

The new requirements include in Sarbanes-Oxley law have made such schemes less possible, for one, by outlawing the kind of consulting arrangements. But some in Congress is already considering weakening the statute saying it imposes too great a burden on business.

That would be a mistake, Antar said.

Antar said white collar crime victimizes all of society and weakens the capitalistic system. Among those victims, he said, are the auditors and accountants who may not have been material to the fraud but were associated even in a small way. Their careers can be destroyed.

He said he still gets calls about people who worked for him 20 years ago. One former employee was head of professional society in New Jersey, but soon after questions were raised about his stint at Crazy Eddie, he had to step down.

He knew nothing about the fraud. But that didn’t matter.

Antar’s talk hit home for Matthew Ruhlin, one of the 50 accounting graduate students in David Stott’s class. He just sent out applications to three of the four top national auditing firms. Now he understands that before he goes to work, he needs the fraud course the accounting department offers. (Antar said only about a third of business schools offer such a course.)

Avalyn Goodwin, another student in the class, said she also intended to take the class. Antar convinced her that she too could be a

October 5, 2006: The Toledo Blade -In BGSU talk, ‘Crazy Eddie’ figure backs better audits’, By Homer Brickey

Sam Antar, an executive partly responsible for the $100 million Crazy Eddie Inc. stock fraud in the 1980s, is doing penance for his crime, part of which involves spreading the gospel of white-collar-crime prevention.

This week Antar is telling four Toledo-area audiences the business world needs better education for accountants and auditors, more independent audits, and better barriers to white-collar crime. The four-year-old Sarbanes-Oxley Act, intended to clean up corporate fraud, is just a beginning, he said.

“Our capitalistic system depends on the integrity of financial information,” Antar told a classroom of graduate accounting students at Bowling Green State University yesterday. But, he cautioned them: “The word ‘trust’ is no longer in the dictionary. [For you] it’s a professional hazard.”

And he warned them they’d better be prepared to detect frauds committed by “the scum of the scum, like me.”

Antar, 49, former chief financial officer of electronics-retailer Crazy Eddie and now a convicted felon, told The Blade, “The entire [accounting] profession is not being properly trained to detect white-collar crime.”

Fewer than a third of 1,000 colleges offering accounting majors have fraud-detection courses, although BGSU does, and too few students are required to take the ones that are offered, he said.

He planned to encourage members of the area chapter of Financial Executives International to go beyond requirements in Sarbanes-Oxley, imposing more stringent internal controls to ensure that no more disasters like Enron and WorldCom occur.

October 2, 2006: The Boston Herald – Crazy, maybe, but listen to this crook, By Brett Arends

One of the crooks behind the massive “Crazy Eddie” fraud of the 1980s has dropped a dime with a warning.

If Washington goes ahead and guts the Sarbanes-Oxley anti-fraud law next year, Sam Antar says, ordinary investors will once again be left at the mercy of . . . well, of people just like him.

“I was the worst of the worst, the scum of the scum,” he says.

As I revealed last week, former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan has joined the growing chorus on Wall Street and in Washington calling for most of the Sarbanes-Oxley law to be swept away as an excessive burden on business.

The law was passed in 2002 following the Enron and WorldCom scandals.

Antar’s comment? “The problem with Mr Greenspan, he’s a responsible person, but he just doesn’t understand the criminal mind,” he says. “People are so gullible, it’s ridiculous.”

Sam Antar was the chief financial officer of Crazy Eddie, a cut-price electronics chain founded by his family, before its collapse in 1987.

The chain was famous during the seventies and eighties for its “crazy,” in-your-face TV commercials.

But the company, which went public in the mid-eighties, was really a total scam. Management had been raiding the till, faking sales, hiding debts, over-inflating assets and laundering money through Panama and Israel almost from the day the first store opened in 1969.

Founder Eddie Antar, who fled to Israel, was finally extradited and went to jail.

His young cousin Sam only stayed out by turning government witness.

He doesn’t try to varnish his past. But now he is travelling the country speaking for free about white-collar crime.

And he says if Sarbanes-Oxley had been in place at the time, management couldn’t have gotten away with its wholesale fraud.

“It would have prevented us,” he said.

“At the least it would have made it very difficult.”

The ban on auditors doing “consulting” work for their clients on the side? Vital, he says.

Back in the day Crazy Eddie used those lucrative contracts to soften up their accountants so they wouldn’t look too closely at the books.

“To throw out auditor independence is totally ridiculous,” he says.

“Our consulting agreements with the auditors were worth ten times the auditing work.”

The result? “Auditors err on the side of management, not on the side of caution.”

Forcing companies to establish independent internal controls is also essential to stop fraud, he says.

Without those controls, he explains, it’s easy to get away with phony accounts.

Crazy Eddie used short-term loans to fatten the bank balances during audits and the accountants never found out.

The one Sarbanes-Oxley provision that Alan Greenspan wants to keep is the one that requires chief executives to certify their financial statements.

That makes Antar laugh. “A crook like me wouldn’t think twice about signing fraudulent financial statements,” he says.

They say it takes a thief to catch a thief. Before Congress even thinks about watering down Sarbanes-Oxley next year, they need to talk to people like Sam Antar.

September 23, 2006 – Asbury Park Press – One of the Antar’s Still Talks about the Fraud at Crazy Eddie, By Michael L. Diamond

The Antar empire was crumbling and the government was moving in for the kill when Sam E. Antar, the chief financial officer for Crazy Eddie consumer electronics chain, decided it was time to cooperate.

There was no sudden enlightenment, no overwhelming remorse. Antar just didn’t want to go to prison.

“I didn’t find God on the footsteps of the courthouse,” Antar said. “I did the cowardly thing. I went to the U.S. government and said, “I don’t want to go to jail for 30 years.’ ”

Antar, a key player in the fraud, told the story of Crazy Eddie to an audience of 80 people at a meeting of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners New Jersey chapter Thursday night….

“Crazy Eddie was an empire built on deceit,” Antar said. “We commited our crimes because we could. Just pure greed, plain and simple.”

How could it happen? Antar said the company manipulated its auditors, who should have scoured the company’s financial ledgers. Antar said he wined and dined them. He sat male auditors close to attractive female employees. And the company paid the auditing firm millions for consulting services, so that when a questionable practice arose, the auditors came down on the side of the company for fear of losing that money, Antar said.
(The federal government now prohibits auditing firms from offering many consulting services).

“It’s psychological warfare,” Antar said….

He said the company took advantage of people’s good nature and assumption that everybody is playing by the rules.

September 20, 2006: The Corpus Christi Caller-Times – Man’s Story of Fraud, Reform, By Elvia Aguliar

A reformed white-collar criminal who defrauded investors out of millions in the 1980s and ’90s told students at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Tuesday that safeguards against corporate wrongdoing are essential to protecting not only the economy, but people’s life savings.For 18 years, Sam Antar, along with his uncle and cousin, masterminded one of the largest securities frauds of the 20th century, bilking investors out of more than $120 million.

As the chief financial officer of Crazy Eddie Inc., a retail electronics chain, Antar, then 28, later became the government’s key witness in both the civil and criminal prosecutions against his family and fellow co-conspirators.

“There’s no rationalization for my crime,” Antar said. “We did it simply because we could. I came clean with the government only because I wanted to avoid 20 years in prison.”

The 52-year-old now travels around the country telling his story in hopes that the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 continues to be implemented to stop people who think like he once did. He travels on his own money and doesn’t charge for his lectures.

Passed in response to corporate and accounting scandals, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act established new corporate responsibilities for all U.S. public companies. Antar said there is a movement to change the act because, critics say, it is creating more economic damage than good – but he disagrees.

“Criminals like myself, or like I used to be, destroy the fundamental underpinnings of our capitalistic system,” he said. “The Sarbanes-Oxley Act should be strengthened because it ensures integrity.”

Antar said he would like to see the Securities and Exchange Commission increase educational standards within the accounting profession, starting from college curriculums forward to mandate levels of competency for accountants who audit public companies. He thinks more courses should be established to prevent future accountants from committing crimes like his.

Antar said that during the 18 years he was committing a crime he never once thought about the victims.

“Never did it cross my mind that people could be losing their jobs or money because of us,” he said. “This securities fraud cost investors hundreds of millions of dollars, cost many people their life savings and careers. Their sufferings can never be measured.”

Most of the skimmed Crazy Eddie funds were deposited in secret Antar family bank accounts in Israel. The company was prosecuted for underreporting income before going public, overstating income after going public, money laundering, fictitious revenues, fraudulent asset valuations, concealed liabilities and expenses among others.

Antar said after cooperating with the government he lost all contact with his cousin and uncle. He still does not speak with them.

“The biggest lesson I’ve learned through it all is that crime does not pay,” he said.

Kristen Cope, a junior communications major, said she was shocked at the scope of Antar’s illicit activities.

“It’s scary what this company was doing and that they weren’t caught sooner,” she said. “It makes you think that there are probably other companies doing what they did now.”

July 20, 2006: The Daily Reveille – World Whistle Blower Addresses Conference, By David Herbert

Sam Antar has little difficulty in dealing with his experiences as a criminal. He is the first to say as an “economic predator” his moral compass never existed.

“Criminals like me only have to be right once to cause carnage,” said Antar. “We will use your humanity against you. We will use every tool at our disposal. We committed crimes because we could.”

Antar was CFO of Crazy Eddie’s, Inc. The electronics store chain cheated investors, customers and suppliers for the more than 15 years under the direction of the Antar family.

Eddie Antar and his co-conspirators skimmed millions of dollars in cash from sales of used electronics sold as new, profited from fraudulent insurance claims and robbed Wall Street blind when they brought Crazy Eddie, Inc. public in the 1980s.

All told, the Antar family made off with $200 million before investigators intervened.

Sam Antar was the inside man. As a CPA, he knew the way audits work and the cracks in the system. He said the Antar family skimmed one dollar for every five taken in sales.

“I got on the job training for how to be a criminal, legitimately,” Antar said.

Antar said a good white collar criminal uses persuasion, not intimidation. He said he got in the habit of offering consulting work to cloud the judgment of auditors.

The lack of internal controls and analytical research combined with the naivety of outsiders to make it all possible, Antar said.

“They didn’t want to believe their clients were crooks,” said Antar.

Once confronted, Antar said he cooperated with authorities for practical reasons.

“The government had me by the balls, and I had no where else to go,” he said.

Antar cautioned those in attendance to be skeptical and called for better training.

“Ronald Reagan said ‘Trust and verify,'” Antar said. “I say, ‘Don’t trust, and verify.’ A good criminal builds a wall of integrity around him.”

Antar said criminals see a jail sentence as an occupational hazard. He said 92 percent of white collar criminals have no prior criminal record.

Antar said he still would not invest in any publicly traded companies.

June 16, 2006: The Trusted Professional Magazine of the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants – “Q&A with Sam Antar, Former CFO of Crazy Eddie’s You can commit more crime with a smile than you can with a gun”, By Stephanie R. Myers

Sam Antar, former chief financial officer of the now-defunct electronics chain Crazy Eddie’s, is a man with a mission. Antar, after orchestrating the accounting fraud behind the Crazy Eddie’s scandal of the late 1980s, served as the government’s key witness in the criminal and civil prosecutions of the case against his cousin and company chief executive officer Eddie Antar.

For his role in the scandal, Sam Antar pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud and obstruction of justice. For his cooperation with the prosecution, he was sentenced to six months house arrest, 1,200 hours of community service, three years of probation and approximately $10,000 in fines and fees.

Antar now speaks to a variety of groups around the country about the topic, hoping to promote and strengthen accounting education efforts.

Q. How did you become CFO of Crazy Eddie’s?

A. As a young kid, I was always interested in numbers, the stock market and finance. And even as a kid, I would read Barron’s and the Wall Street Journal. I started as a stock boy at Crazy Eddie’s making $10 a day. In 1971, Crazy Eddie’s only had one store, but it eventually became the biggest electronic chain in the northeast. The business grew, and I grew with the business.

From day one, the [Antar] family was involved in skimming the profit and inflating the inventory. It was never a fully legitimate business. They always wanted a so-called “educated family member” from the inside. So I went to college, and the family offered to pay for my education. Basically I had an all expenses-paid education to eventually become a CPA, to learn how to do things for the family—both in the legit way and in the nonlegit way.

Q. How did the Crazy Eddie’s securities fraud come about?

A. A lot of people say there’s an underground economy equal to about 10% of our national GDP. A lot of small businesses underreport their income. Some businesses, as they grow, mature and stop doing these things. But Crazy Eddie’s never changed their ways. The skimming grew. People worked off the books, and they were taking a lot of cash for themselves. And in electronics, in New York City and New York state, you have a very high sales tax. Then it was 6 percent. But we just didn’t skim the sales tax, we were skimming the profit as well. Any profit that was left, we would purposely not deposit the cash receipts to avoid paying taxes.

How does skimming translate into the securities fraud? About five years before the company went public, they were getting inquiries, and they decided they were going to skim less money each year. I learned about how audits are done, and I learned it very well from the limited amount of audit work that I had done. We skimmed less money each year, and on paper it looked like we had almost tripled our profits, when, in reality, our profits only went up by 30 percent. That’s securities fraud, pure and simple.

Q. In one of your letters to the SEC, you say that you don’t think the issue of accounting education is getting enough attention. What aspects of accounting education do you think are important?

A. Today, first of all, if you look at all the accounting curriculums, I would say a substantial majority, over 90%, do not offer a fraud course, and even when they do offer a fraud course, it’s an elective. They do not offer a course on internal controls, they do not offer a course on securities law, they do not offer a course on criminology. There’s questioning and there’s knowing how to question somebody. I can tell you as criminal that one of the biggest mistakes that people made—and how we were able to get away with things—people don’t know how to ask the right questions and follow-up. That requires training, and there’s no training in accounting programs for that. Even in two auditing courses, it’s still not enough education. You can commit more crime with a smile than you can with a gun.

You have Sarbanes-Oxley, which requires auditors to review internal controls. SAS 99 has increased the profession’s responsibility regarding the review of internal controls. Laws are good, rules are good, but if the people that have to administer them are not educated in the right areas, does it make a difference? I am for strong criminal sentencing. But that is not a deterrent effect. Let’s face reality: The only way to stop this kind of crime is to create deterrents and prevention.

Q. How widespread do you think securities fraud is now?

A. I don’t know, but I do know that good internal controls reduce crime. Because I’ll tell you, if a lot of the provisions I’ve mentioned were in place 20 years ago, I never would have been able to get away with the crimes I committed at Crazie Eddie’s.

Q. What do you see as being most important for reducing fraud?

A. My main concern, as I mentioned previously, is education. Number two is the weakening of SOX. The fact of the matter is that the integrity of capitalism and the free market system lies on the integrity of financial information. That’s the main pillar of capitalism. I’m pro–free market.

Unless people wake up, there’s going to be problems. And for the final measure, I will tell you this: Fraud hurts the innocent as well as the guilty. Employees who work in accounting departments of companies found guilty of fraud are harmed, even if they were completely innocent of any wrongdoing. They will find other jobs, but the future employer will look at the resume and see that these people are associated with fraud. It happened to plenty of people. Just because you don’t go to jail doesn’t mean you won’t be hurt.

May 16, 2006: Compliance Week – Q & A Interview with Sam E. Antar, By Melissa Aguilar

Corporate America doesn’t get it. I was an officer and director of a public corporation. I broke and corrupted the sacred trust that was put upon me by the shareholders, the employees and the vendors and the public. I corrupted the main pillar of the free market system—the integrity of our financial statements—by committing fraud.

The well-meaning people of high integrity, who have never committed crimes, and who propose to weaken Sarbanes Oxley, are misguided. They don’t see its strengths from the perspective I have to offer….

I believe that SOX should be uniformly applied to all companies. I do not believe there should be any leniency for small companies since SOX applies to public companies. Companies collecting money from public sources have an added fiduciary duty.

My transgressions caused the company to go bankrupt. As a result, $600 million of shareholder value was wiped out. Three thousand employees lost their jobs. Creditors lost their money. Customers lost refunds. Those employees didn’t just lose their jobs. They were tainted by the fact that they were associated with a company that was associated with fraud. I still get phone calls today from companies asking if people were associated with the Crazy Eddie fraud.

When people say they can separate themselves from a fraud that’s committed within a company and that it doesn’t affect them, it does affect them. It costs them money—money in raises, money in lost resources. They will carry that taint. If the company goes down, it will be on their resume that they worked at a company that was associated with fraud. It will cost them.

So, when you’re saying internal control is a cost to a company, it’s not a cost. It’s an investment. It not only prevents fraud, it makes a company cognizant of its own operations. It makes a company more knowledgeable of its own operations. It makes a business function better. It also helps creditors know that the company is keeping track of itself….

The SEC and PCAOB for public companies, and the AICPA for private companies, can mandate that the personnel on all audits have certain minimum levels of education. That would force local state licensing boards to have colleges change their curriculums to address deficiencies. The AICPA can address the continuing education deficiencies immediately by setting up appropriate guidelines. The colleges and universities recently expanded the amounts of credits for a student to graduate with a major in accounting from 120 credits to 150 credits, but did not address any of those issues.

September 23, 2006: New York Times – Why His Peers Say Kozlowski Got Off Easy, By Floyd Norris

One important question about long sentences for corporate criminals is whether they have a deterrent effect. That answer may not be reassuring.

”It would not stop economic predators like me,” said Sam E. Antar, who knows something about fraud. He was the chief financial officer of Crazy Eddie, a New York home electronics chain that cooked its books. (He chose to cooperate with investigators and managed to stay out of prison after he pleaded guilty.)

What will stop them? ”You need to build barriers like good internal controls,” Mr. Antar said, ”and you need sharp auditors.”

Sam Antar