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Opinion: Let's expose the crooks and do some good

Brocade and 55 other companies are under investigation for fraud

By Steve Duplessie
July 24, 2006 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Q: There is no question this time. I was on vacation and haven't been able to sift through all the e-mail questions yet, so instead I read the newspaper and am pulling my column from that. -- SD, Milford, Mass.

A: Brilliant.

The news is scary, and I should know, since I'm a huge horror-movie fan. Real life is scarier than the Exorcist most of the time, only in not so "far flung" or "in your face" ways. IT is scary, but it always has been. Apparently you get used to being scared over time, sort of like the kid in The Sixth Sense.

Last week, Greg Reyes -- former CEO of Brocade and a very, very wealthy man -- was indicted on charges of fraud for manipulating stock-option dates, or something to that effect. In 2000, Greg was listed among the Forbes 400 wealthiest people in America. Greg left Brocade a while ago, and government investigations have been under way since. There were apparently other former Brocade folks involved. Now, I have no idea if any of this is true, false or in the middle. I know that most of the time this type of charge is leveled when someone makes piles of dough at someone else's expense, but he already had piles of dough, so who knows? Fifty-five other companies are under investigation for the same kind of stuff. CA went through it, cleaned house and seems to be on the road to recovery -- and, with any luck, some of those responsible will see jail time. Corruption at every level is not new, but unlike in American politics, in business it seems John Q. Public has had enough already -- or finally.

I didn't know Ken Lay, or Sanjay Kumar, or Bernie Ebbers. I know Greg Reyes. I like Greg. He's one of the few in my career that actually gave me a noogie publicly (as I walked off the stage at a trade show in Chicago). He is (was?) what I want to be -- tall, good looking, charismatic and outrageously rich. I hope he didn't do what they allege, but if he did, I hope he pays the price. I'm sick of people screwing with the system that "they" created when the only one who ever seems to get hurt are the little guys who have zero control -- in this case, the stockholders. I remember being in a bar in college (perhaps legally), and a guy asked me where I was going to school. I said, "Babson." He said, "Great school, but they should have an ethics program." I said, "F*&^ ethics." I was 22 and wanted to be Gordon Gecko. I was an idiot.

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