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Since 2009, Aaron Beam has impacted the lives of thousands of students and business people with his personal story of how a few poor seemingly minor ethical decisions led him and many of his HealthSouth coworkers down a slippery slope of fraud to a scandalous trial and prison. His compelling story and honesty brings a humanity to the HealthSouth scandal, moving audiences to realize that fraud isn’t just a crime committed by CEOs in documentaries, but an act that anyone may be confronted with during their career.

Mr. Beam cofounded HealthSouth in 1984. In two years the company went public and eventually became the country’s largest provider of outpatient surgery and rehabilitative services, with revenues reaching over $3.5 billion. However in 1997, when the company’s earnings started to fall a little short of the projections, the Chief Executive Richard Scrushy ordered the books to be fixed. Mr. Beam admits that he was afraid to stand up to Richard and went along with the fraud for four quarters before resigning. The fraud continued until 2003 when it was made public by a whistleblower, one of Mr. Beam’s successors, Mr. Beam, and other employees who testified against Richard. Mr. Beam pleaded guilty to bank fraud, served three months of minimum security, and paid millions of dollars in retribution.

Today, Mr. Beam hopes to help people understand the realities of the pressures and overbearing people they might encounter in the corporate world and how they can be prepared to do the right thing in tough situations.

Full Profile

Aaron Beam is a popular, highly regarded speaker at universities, healthcare companies, auditor meetings and conventions, securities training seminars and ethics institutes across the U.S. He has spoken to student audiences as a guest lecturer at many business schools (Univ. of Chicago, LSU, UAB, Penn State, Stanford, Arizona State, and over fifty other schools) over the past four years.

Mr. Beam was the first CFO at Healthsouth Corp., and as a co-founder witnessed first-hand the series of accounting, stock manipulation and leadership failures that led Healthsouth to the $2B securities fraud scandal and ultimate prosecutions of Richard Scrushy. He relates to students and professionals the heights of success, followed by the unethical and illegal mistakes that led to his professional downfall. Serving three months in federal prison for his role in approving fraudulent quarterly numbers in 1996 and losing his CPA credentials, led Mr. Beam to his current speaking career; trying to make a positive difference by educating others about the pitfalls of unethical business practices.

Through his Ethics First message he identifies early warning signs, influences and the bad choices he and others made at Healthsouth, allowing the audience to apply what they learn to their business practices and the organization’s culture and environment.


Aaron Beam Speaker Videos Back to top

HCCA's Compliance Institute Keynote Speaker Aaron Beam


Aaron Beam narrates the rise of outpatient service provider HealthSouth and his relationship with chief executive Richard Scrushy. He recounts the first time he met Richard at an interview for a controller position with Lifemark, a Houston, Texas based healthcare corporation. After the interview left his head spinning, Mr. Beam drove home to tell his wife, “Today I’ve either met the most brilliant business man that I’ve ever met or the biggest conman that I’ll ever meet.”

Mr. Beam goes on to describe his first day on the job and early warning signs that in retrospect he wishes he had heeded regarding Richard. He explains that within his first fifteen minutes at his desk, Richard invited him to sit in on a presentation that he was going to make to their boss. “We went into his boss’s office, he introduced me, and he said, ‘Aaron and I worked on this contract for hours last night,’” Mr. Beam tells. “I hadn’t worked on anything, but today I realized that Richard told that lie to size me up, because Richard thinks four or five steps ahead of most people. He wanted to see what a player I was being included in a lie.”

HealthSouth Co-founder shares his story- The Wagon to Disaster


Healthsouth CFO Aaron Beam Tells How He Cooked the Books



Speeches / Speaking Engagements Back to top


Mr. Beam uses his unique experience and candid manner to deliver “Ethics First,” a compelling story and message to any organization, group, or classroom that values ethical behavior, and the process of achieving it.

Mr. Beam’s story is “the untold story of HealthSouth”, one of America’s most successful health care companies and subsequently the perpetrator of a $2.8 B accounting fraud, one of the largest in American history.

Mr. Beam speaks to University students, business and management groups and conventions; including Healthcare Companies, Financial Managers, Internal Auditors and Securities Training seminars. His client’s and corresponding testimonials (link to C&T Page) from University ethics professors, the Institute of Internal Auditors (iiA) and the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA), along with video samples of his interviews and speeches are evidence of Mr. Beam’s effectiveness in communicating warnings about bad business behavior and pitfalls that led to a monumental corporate fraud.

As a founder and the first CFO, Mr. Beam takes an audience from HealthSouth’s humble beginnings, through its meteoric rise to its disastrous revelation; the subsequent trial of Richard Scrushy and Mr. Beam’s three-month incarceration in a Federal prison.

Moreover, Mr. Beam reveals the nature and specifics of the fraud and the twisted personality of the driving force behind HealthSouth – Richard Scrushy. Scrushy was a hard-charging, unscrupulous visionary whose caustic, selfish motives and manipulation of Wall Street led to his fall from grace and the expulsion from the company he created.



Aaron Beam Speaker Testimonials Back to top

    "Aaron Beam's real life, rubber meets the road experience with healthcare fraud and abuse and financial irregularities is important for you to hear. The pressure of falsifying documents, in a publicly traded company is an intriguing story of how one man can bring a very successful organization and its people to the brink of financial ruin. Aaron Beam's matter of fact approach doesn't embellish, sugar coat, or hide his own participation in the fraud. He tells of his time in prison and the debt he has paid in a manner that causes all in attendance to take notice. Aaron has spoke for two of our events and his evaluations were stellar."
Warren Hebert, RN, CAE
CEO HomeCare Association of Louisiana
RWJF Executive Nurse Fellow '06-'09

 

"...His presentation is professional and compelling. He is very effective at "painting the picture" for students... The reactions of students are always the same. They sit spellbound while Aaron speaks. They are captivated by his story and by his message. They are stimulated to ask many questions and to reflect on what they should be learning for their own lives and business practice."
Barbara G. Danos, J.D.
Ourso College of Business
Louisiana State University

 

"Our students benefited from hearing Aaron Beam speak on campus. Seeing and speaking with him as a real human being, not just as a figure on the many documentaries on HealthSouth, made our students realize that they may face the same ethical dilemmas that he faced during his tenure with HealthSouth. His message was clear and genuine --- think before you act. By hearing Mr. Beam's message, students are able to see that they need to be prepared for the consequences of ethical lapses."
Dr. Sarah Dunn Stanwick
Taylor Associate Professor of Accountancy
Auburn University




* Please note that while this speaker’s specific speaking fee falls within the range posted above (for Continental U.S. based events), fees are subject to change. For current fee information or international event fees (which are generally 50-75% more than U.S based event fees), please contact us.

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    "Aaron Beam's real life, rubber meets the road experience with healthcare fraud and abuse and financial irregularities is important for you to hear. The pressure of falsifying documents, in a publicly traded company is an intriguing story of how one man can bring a very successful organization and its people to the brink of financial ruin. Aaron Beam's matter of fact approach doesn't embellish, sugar coat, or hide his own participation in the fraud. He tells of his time in prison and the debt he has paid in a manner that causes all in attendance to take notice. Aaron has spoke for two of our events and his evaluations were stellar."
Warren Hebert, RN, CAE
CEO HomeCare Association of Louisiana
RWJF Executive Nurse Fellow '06-'09

 

"...His presentation is professional and compelling. He is very effective at "painting the picture" for students... The reactions of students are always the same. They sit spellbound while Aaron speaks. They are captivated by his story and by his message. They are stimulated to ask many questions and to reflect on what they should be learning for their own lives and business practice."
Barbara G. Danos, J.D.
Ourso College of Business
Louisiana State University

 

"Our students benefited from hearing Aaron Beam speak on campus. Seeing and speaking with him as a real human being, not just as a figure on the many documentaries on HealthSouth, made our students realize that they may face the same ethical dilemmas that he faced during his tenure with HealthSouth. His message was clear and genuine --- think before you act. By hearing Mr. Beam's message, students are able to see that they need to be prepared for the consequences of ethical lapses."
Dr. Sarah Dunn Stanwick
Taylor Associate Professor of Accountancy
Auburn University


Healthsouth: The Wagon to Disaster
The Wagon to Disaster, told by former co-founder and CFO Aaron Beam, is the untold story of HealthSouth, one of America's most successful health care companies and consequently, the perpetrator of one of its biggest frauds in history. How big was the fraud? In 2003, just before news of the crime broke in the mainstream media, HealthSouth paid more money in taxes to the Federal Government than it legitimately earned the previous year. Beam takes the reader from HealthSouth's humble beginnings, through its meteoric rise and to its disastrous revelation, subsequent trial and his three-month incarceration in a federal prison. Moreover, he reveals the nature of the fraud and the true personality of the driving force behind HealthSouth Richard Marin Scrushy, one of the most enigmatic, nefarious characters the State of Alabama has ever produced a hard-charging, unscrupulous visionary whose caustic, Machiavellian approach ensured HealthSouth's success, and oddly, his predictable fall as the company's benevolent dictator.
Mr. Beam uses his unique experience and candid manner to deliver “Ethics First,” a compelling story and message to any organization, group, or classroom that values ethical behavior, and the process of achieving it.

Mr. Beam’s story is “the untold story of HealthSouth”, one of America’s most successful health care companies and subsequently the perpetrator of a $2.8 B accounting fraud, one of the largest in American history.

Mr. Beam speaks to University students, business and management groups and conventions; including Healthcare Companies, Financial Managers, Internal Auditors and Securities Training seminars. His client’s and corresponding testimonials (link to C&T Page) from University ethics professors, the Institute of Internal Auditors (iiA) and the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA), along with video samples of his interviews and speeches are evidence of Mr. Beam’s effectiveness in communicating warnings about bad business behavior and pitfalls that led to a monumental corporate fraud.

As a founder and the first CFO, Mr. Beam takes an audience from HealthSouth’s humble beginnings, through its meteoric rise to its disastrous revelation; the subsequent trial of Richard Scrushy and Mr. Beam’s three-month incarceration in a Federal prison.

Moreover, Mr. Beam reveals the nature and specifics of the fraud and the twisted personality of the driving force behind HealthSouth – Richard Scrushy. Scrushy was a hard-charging, unscrupulous visionary whose caustic, selfish motives and manipulation of Wall Street led to his fall from grace and the expulsion from the company he created.


HCCA's Compliance Institute Keynote Speaker Aaron Beam


Aaron Beam narrates the rise of outpatient service provider HealthSouth and his relationship with chief executive Richard Scrushy. He recounts the first time he met Richard at an interview for a controller position with Lifemark, a Houston, Texas based healthcare corporation. After the interview left his head spinning, Mr. Beam drove home to tell his wife, “Today I’ve either met the most brilliant business man that I’ve ever met or the biggest conman that I’ll ever meet.”

Mr. Beam goes on to describe his first day on the job and early warning signs that in retrospect he wishes he had heeded regarding Richard. He explains that within his first fifteen minutes at his desk, Richard invited him to sit in on a presentation that he was going to make to their boss. “We went into his boss’s office, he introduced me, and he said, ‘Aaron and I worked on this contract for hours last night,’” Mr. Beam tells. “I hadn’t worked on anything, but today I realized that Richard told that lie to size me up, because Richard thinks four or five steps ahead of most people. He wanted to see what a player I was being included in a lie.”

HealthSouth Co-founder shares his story- The Wagon to Disaster


Healthsouth CFO Aaron Beam Tells How He Cooked the Books