The latest accounting-related scandal to rock the profession sent the business world and capital markets into a tailspin this week, as WorldCom announced it kept nearly $4 billion in debt off its balance sheet.

In a civil suit filed this week in federal court in New York, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged WorldCom with trying to manipulate its earnings to keep Wall Street happy.

The U.S. Justice Department is also contemplating criminal charges and members of Congress have already issued subpoenas.

In addition, Andersen – WorldCom’s outside auditor, was ordered to refrain from destroying any WorldCom documents that might be pertinent to the investigation.

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