World Com, Arthur Anderson, Enron, Tyco, Adelphia, Martha Stewart Living: What do these companies have in common? All are well known publicly held companies that have had executives convicted of wrongdoing, and those are just some of the more memorable cases.
The new entrants to the list: K-Mart and KPMG.
The men who were CEO and CFO of K-Mart on the eve of its bankruptcy in 2002 are facing civil securities fraud charges from the SEC.
KPMG, one of the four remaining big accounting firms (there used to be eight), is likely to settle tax shelter promotion charges for as much as half a billion dollars and see eight more of its executives indicted, in addition to at least one that has already been indicted.
For all the talk of government coddling corporations, the past few years have been very bad ones for the elites of corporate America. Whether this will change the behavior of those who dodged the bullet this time has yet to be seen.