Phar-Mor: Case Study

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Phar-Mor was known as one of the major discount chain retailers in the late 1980’s - early 1990’s. It was founded by Mickey Monus, a gambler in nature, who with the help of senior management was “cooking the books” for years to cover up his loses. The reason why senior management agreed to do this fraud is the belief in unique ability of their leader to fix everything later on. This case is known as one of the biggest accounting frauds in the corporate history of the U.S. This paper will analyze who was affected by this fraud, the motives behind it and what systems of control failed to prevent it.

The major groups that were directly affected are investors, employees, and suppliers. Here we should make the distinction between different types of investors. There are two major types of investors: insiders and outside investors. Insiders are the investors who know the information that is not known publicly and may benefit them in some way. Outside investors are the investors who only know publicly known information. In our case, outside investors was the group that lost the most. On the other hand, insiders, notably Mickey Monus and David Shapiro, were the one that gains millions on IPO. The group who suffered was employees of Phar-Mor. After the scandal was revealed, most of the stores were closed to cover up losses. As a result, thousands of employees got fired. Another party that was damaged by the scandal was Coopers&Lybrant, the firm that did the audit for Phar-Mor, lost its reputation as a firm who does an audit with integrity. The secondary effect of the scandal was the overall mistrust among investors. They thought that if a giant retailer can forge its accounting books, why smaller companies wouldn’t do the same. As a result, investors became reluctant in investing into businesses that caused harm to the economy as a whole. The last but not least group that was affected by the scandal is Phar-Mor’s suppliers. Mickey Monus was fiercely fighting with...
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