I recently completed a research project in my financial statement fraud class in which we had to research a major financial statement fraud. The company I chose was Bristol-Myers Squibb who committed fraud in the earlier 2000s. Bristol overstated their revenue by over $2.5 million and had to restate their financial statements.
While most people would search the web for news articles about this fraud on The Wall Street Journal or New York Times, there is another source. The SEC website is an excellent resource to use to uncover the specific details of a certain fraud. I learned about this website in my fraud examination class last semester.
The SEC provides a search engine in which you can search for a specific company. I searched for my company, Bristol-Myers Squibb. The search engine provided me with litigation releases and the complaint against Bristol. This provided me with valuable information about the different frauds that occurred at Bristol.
The SEC also keeps records of company filings in their EDGAR database. I was able to access Bristol’s annual reports from 1999, 2000, and 2001. These annual reports gave me the original financial statements that I could compare to the restated financial statements. The database also had the amended annual report from these years that also described the frauds.
With the help of the SEC, I was able to thoroughly research Bristol and the frauds they committed. Other information can also be found about the company that can be useful. I would recommend using the SEC site when looking into public companies.