I keep on hearing, "If it weren't for the fact that Andersen was caught shredding, it wouldn't have the problems that they have today." The statement is usually tied closely with a comment that the indictment of the entire firm by the U.S. Department of Justice is "overreaching by an overzealous prosecutor." The argument is also made that a few rogue accountants in Houston were operating by themselves. Then, you have Paul Volker charging in and saying let's settle everything quickly and just allow Andersen to become a "pure auditing firm."

All that seems like a lot of wishful thinking to me and a little too simplistic. I believe that will become even more obvious by a thorough study of Andersen's downfall.

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