HealthSouth whistleblower Weston Smith to speak at Notre Dame

Author: Carol Elliott

In 2003, FBI agents opened a federal investigation of accounting fraud on a massive scale at health-care giant HealthSouth, with fraudulent entries mounting as high as $2.7 billion. Nearly put into bankruptcy, the company fired its CEO Richard Scrushy and spent three years restructuring its operations and financial reporting procedures.

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Weston Smith, former CFO, turned whistleblower and alerted federal investigators to the fraud. He eventually was sentenced to 27 months in prison for his role – the longest sentence ordered for any of the HealthSouth defendants.

Smith will deliver a talk at 5-6:30 p.m. April 11 in the Jordan Auditorium at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. The event is free and open to the public.

A frequent speaker on ethics and integrity in business, Smith will describe the culture of the company that supported the fraud, the mechanics of how the unethical accounting was put into place and how detection was avoided. Smith also has a message for broader audiences “to simply do the right thing” — a challenge to live and work responsibly.

The event is sponsored by the Center for Accounting Research and Education (CARE), an academic center at Mendoza that seeks to strengthen the bridges between accounting research, education and practice. CARE sponsors an annual conference that gathers industry, governmental and academic thought leaders from across the globe to discuss current issues in accounting.

Contact: Lorie Marsh, program manager for the Center for Accounting Research and Education, lmarsh1@nd.edu