National / International News

My Money Story: What happens when you cheat

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-02-06 08:52

"You start cheating because you want to please people," said Aaron Beam, "you want to deliver good numbers to Wall Street, sometimes the public thinks you just do it because you're dishonest...but I think in my case, that was pretty far down the list of why I did what I did."

When Beam founded HealthSouth in 1984, business was good. The company is the largest owner of rehabilitation hospitals in the U.S., and was bringing in consistently good numbers on the New York Stock Exchange. Beam was the CFO -- his wealth and reputation were tied up in HealthSouth, and after more than a decade on the job, the market pressures began to feel heavier. 

"We were missing our numbers," he said "we were not doing as well as we told Wall Street we would do."

So, "out of fear of disappointing Wall Street, out of fear of losing my wealth...out of not wanting to disappoint other people, employees," Beam started to cheat, to "cook the books."

"You sort of learn to lie," Beam said, "you become evasive."

His involvement with the scandal lasted about a year before he left HealthSouth. "I found that I couldn't live with myself, but six years after I left the company, the fraud broke."

Once the scandal hit the news, Beam turned himself in. And he told the truth, and plead guilty. He even testified in the trial of the sitting CEO, who plead not guilty, and walked away. 

"I got three months in federal prison," he said, "I'm very fortunate that I got only three months."

The HealthSouth fraud changed Aaron Beam's life. These days he speaks at conferences about ethical business and has written books, including Ethics Playbook, about how to be ethical.

And money is less important to him than it was. "Right now, I'm 71 years old, my health is real important, my marriage survived, I've been married 44 years and that's very important to me," he said, "Truly I think I'm happier and more focused and have a better handle on life now than when I was running in the fast lane literally making millions of dollars every year."

To hear Aaron Beam's full story, listen using the audio player above. 

'Home alone' toddler found in road

BBC - Fri, 2015-02-06 08:50
A woman is arrested after a two-year-old girl was found wandering in a road in Slough during rush hour.

Ibrahimovic 'abuses referees in English'

BBC - Fri, 2015-02-06 08:49
PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic abuses French referees in either English or Italian, claims Lyon coach Hubert Fournier.

Can parents and non-parents ever understand each other?

BBC - Fri, 2015-02-06 08:32
Can parents and non-parents ever truly understand each other?

VIDEO: What is in Poundland shoppers' baskets?

BBC - Fri, 2015-02-06 08:32
Emma Simpson visited a branch of Poundland to find out what shoppers go there to buy.

Van Gaal plans to contest FA charge

BBC - Fri, 2015-02-06 08:32
Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal says he plans to contest an FA disrepute charge over comments made on refereeing.

15-mile M4 queue before Six Nations

BBC - Fri, 2015-02-06 08:27
Stop-start traffic is reported for 15 miles on the M4 into Cardiff ahead of the opening Six Nations clash between Wales and England at the Millennium Stadium.

Quiz: Where cafeteria food doesn’t come cheap

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-02-06 08:25

Federal K-12 funding fell 21.5 percent between 2011 and 2012, according to the Department of Education, but schools still have mouths to feed.

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ISIS Claims U.S. Hostage Was Killed Friday In Jordanian Attack

NPR News - Fri, 2015-02-06 08:25

The claim was made on Twitter and reported by the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadi activity.

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What Microbes Lurk In The Subways Of New York? Mysteries Abound

NPR News - Fri, 2015-02-06 08:22

Think expedition to the rain forest, but one where you'll need a MetroCard to get around. The microbial life of the New York subways turns out to be as rich, odd and confounding as the city itself.

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Budget leak civil servant avoids jail

BBC - Fri, 2015-02-06 08:13
A press officer for Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has been given an eight-month suspended sentence after he admitted leaking details of the 2010 budget to the Sun.

'Air strike on IS kills US hostage'

BBC - Fri, 2015-02-06 08:12
Islamic State militants claim US female hostage killed in a coalition air strike in Syria, monitoring website says.

VIDEO: Marine Le Pen: Full BBC interview

BBC - Fri, 2015-02-06 08:11
The leader of the far-right French Front National party, Marine Le Pen, has claimed that controlling immigration is essential in the fight against Islamist extremism.

Go Figure: The week in numbers

BBC - Fri, 2015-02-06 08:10
The week's big numbers visualised.

Outrage Over Government's Animal Experiments Leads To USDA Review

NPR News - Fri, 2015-02-06 08:07

Lawmakers also introduced a bill to strengthen laws protecting farm animals used in research. Both moves come out of a New York Times investigation of animal suffering at a federal research center.

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Donations Roll In For Detroit Man Who Walks 21 Miles To Work

NPR News - Fri, 2015-02-06 08:06

More than $300,000 has been raised in less than a week for James Robertson, who had to commute to his factory job by foot.

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Tech IRL: When hacking does good at Google

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-02-06 08:06

The word "cheating" typically carries a negative connotation, but there is a such thing as "good" cheating. Guest host Lisa Desjardins speaks with Parisa Tabriz, hacker and security manager for Google, about hacking to do good.

Listen to the full interview in the player above.

Tech IRL: When hacking does good

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-02-06 08:06

The word cheating typically carries a negative connotation, but there is a such thing as good cheating. Lisa Desjardins talked to Parisa Tabriz, hacker and security manager for Google, about hacking to do good.

Listen to the full interview in the player above.

Berahino has 'been on naughty chair'

BBC - Fri, 2015-02-06 08:05
West Brom manager Tony Pulis says Saido Berahino was wrong to make comments about his future in a television interview.

Singer cleared of second sex charge

BBC - Fri, 2015-02-06 08:05
Folk-rock musician Roy Harper is cleared of indecently assaulting an 11-year-old girl in the 1970s.