Juan Gomez was the fastest-rising star of a small CPA firm in West
Palm Beach, Florida. Most of his clients traveled in stratospheric
circles of wealth, and Juan knew that fitting in with this crowd was
essential to his career. Although he made good money, it wasn’t enough
to live that kind of lifestyle. Meanwhile, Juan had become friends with
one of his clients, Tony Russo. Knowing Russo’s books inside and out and
being on close terms with him, Juan asked Tony for a personal loan.
Juan was sure he’d be able to pay it back when he got his next bonus,
but things stretched out, and additional loans were made. Two years
later, Tony’s company hit some losses, and the numbers were looking
grim. Tony reminded Juan that it would not look good for his career if
his CPA firm knew Juan had borrowed from a client, and so Juan changed a
few numbers and signed off on clean financials for Tony’s firm. This
went on for three years, until one morning when Juan got a call. Russo
had died; his sons had gone through the books, and the whole scheme came
out. Juan did some prison time and lost his license, but he was
repentant and made an instructional video for accounting students to
warn them of the temptations they may encounter in the real world of
1. Although the central character of this story worked in public
accounting, please refer to the IMA Statement of Ethical Professional
Practice and discuss which of those issues are reflected in this case.
2. Could Juan have removed himself from his situation? How?