USF St. Petersburg campus Honors Program Theses (Undergraduate)

First Advisor

Debra Sinclair, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, College of Business


University of South Florida St. Petersburg

Document Type


Date Available

May 2012

Publication Date


Date Issued

May 2012


This paper examines recent civil lawsuits brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for trends in legal action taken against companies and individuals engaged in fraudulent financial reporting. In many cases, corporate executives benefit from manipulating financial statements but seem to face little to no consequences when the fraud is uncovered. In this study, SEC fraud cases are followed from investigation to prosecution or settlement. The misstatement amounts are compared against the amount of any penalties and other legal consequences. Suggestions are then made for deterring fraudulent reporting in the future.


A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the University Honors Program, University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

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