In the current issue of Forbes magazine, accounting watchdog Francine McKenna has written an article about the SEC’s failure to take a hard line on accounting fraud in public companies. Despite all of the high profile accounting frauds uncovered in the past decade, the Securities & Exchange Commission appears to be focusing its efforts on going after Ponzi schemes rather than accounting fraud. Francine reports that of the 735 enforcement actions brought by the SEC in 2011, only 89 were related to fraudulent or misleading accounting and disclosures by public companies.
Some people say that Sarbanes Oxley has been doing its job relative to increasing prevention and detection of accounting fraud, but evidence of that is almost non-existent. Auditors would have the public believe that auditors are being more effective in finding and reporting fraud, but the evidence does not back this up.