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The Biggest Accounting Scandals Of All Time (PHOTOS)

First Posted: 05/17/10 06:12 AM ET   Updated: 05/25/11 04:50 PM ET

Got a creative impulse? Accounting may be the profession for you!

As you'll see from the below collection of massive book-cooking frauds, there may be no better way to express your creative side than to work as an accountant for a huge company that's ready to deftly hide assets.

Almost 10 years after the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Post-Enron reform that was supposed to end those dubious off-balance sheet liabilities, it's unclear whether or not much has actually changed. To wit, Lehman Brother's recently unearthed $50 billion deception -- using, yes, those wonderful off-balance sheet tricks -- depended on the bank eschewing U.S. accounting rules and looking to lax regulations abroad.

Despite the constant barrage of scandals, it still boggles the mind how a Fortune 500 company can manipulate its balance sheet by many, many billions of dollars. We've included some of the biggest frauds below -- check them out and vote for the worst of all time.

Madoff Scandal - Investors Left With $21.2 Billion In Cash Losses
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We all know that Bernie will spend the rest of his life in prison for orchestrating perhaps the biggest investment scam of all time, but his accountants and aides helped him do the dirty work. David Friehling, Madoff's accountant, plead guilty last year to a number of charges that he issued "rubber stamp" audits. Madoff's right-hand man, Frank DiPascali plead guilty to creating fake trade orders for Madoff and is facing up to 125 years in prison.
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Filed by Ryan McCarthy  |