Law: Accounting for Crime

Putting finaglers in jail may make the White House look tough, but it won't clean up corporate ledgers

Adam McCauley for TIME

Illustration by Adam McCauley

Accounting, I admit, is not the normal stuff of true-crime drama. But among accused finaglers walking perplike into court, former bean counters at accounting firm KPMG have more cause than most to question White House tactics against financial fraud.

The crime the accountants stand accused of is peddling iffy tax shelters, arcane financial deals that shield income from the IRS. Shelters are O.K. if they serve a true business purpose, and the KPMG gang insisted that its did. Yet over the past four years, the accountants have taken a prosecutorial beating. A Senate subcommittee publicly grilled them. The Justice Department suggested...

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