A partner and two managers from Coopers & Lybrand, LLP (now, PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP) have been charged with fraud by the Securities & Exchange Commission for their role in the audit of Allegheny Health, Education and Research Foundation (AHERF).
William Buettner, Mark Kirstein, and Amy Frazier are alleged to have masked the deteriorating financial condition of AHERF by helping plan fraudulent transfers of reserves and then hiding this in the company's 1997 audit.
The defendants issued an unqualified opinion on the AHERF accounts. Reported net income was $21.9 million - but actual losses were $37.7 million.
The SEC alleged: "Ultimately, the defendants knowingly or recklessly issued false and misleading unqualified 1997 audit opinions that enhanced the credibility of AHERF's reported financial statements."