By Aaron Beam
With Chris Warner
After losing possessions, serving prison time and fully coming to terms with what happened; I understand that I have committed a terrible, white-collar crime that hurt many people. Because of a lack of conviction, I will always be remembered as the guy that committed the fraud, instead of the co-founder of one of America’s most successful health care companies.
Friends and colleagues had encouraged me to write a book, and it was something that I had always strongly considered, as this story is larger than any individual. Corporate fraud is an ongoing, problematic theme in modern American business history. Its greedy pervasiveness—evidenced in the wake of the Worldcom, Tyco, and Enron fiascoes and more recently in the sub-prime mortgage debacle, is threatening the health of our economy and its ability to operate based on public trust.
This book is my opportunity to help the business world understand how and why the fraud at HealthSouth happened, and how it can happen to them if they aren’t careful. I am proud to finally tell the truth behind HealthSouth. Since the fraud became public, HealthSouth has paid restitution and rebounded; it is still traded on the New York Stock Exchange; and it remains a viable health care provider at its many locations throughout the United States.
The title of the book has particular meaning among those familiar with HealthSouth, the corporation. In meetings Richard Scrushy often used the motivating mantra, “Pulling the Wagon” to remind everyone of the importance of pulling his or her weight for the HealthSouth “team.” Richard had tee shirts and posters printed with a sketch of several stick figures pulling a wagon, and he even had a fancy sculpture of metal stick figures pulling a wagon erected in front of the HealthSouth Birmingham offices. For those of us “Pulling the Wagon,” we soon realized it was all for Richard, and in the end, he was leading all of us, to a sure disaster.
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16848 Black Devine Rd.
Loxley, Al. 36551