Written in an earlier blog reporting Freidman’s former CEO’s conviction, I stated, “Following six weeks of trial – Bradley Stinn, age 47, – former CEO of Freidman’s, Inc. and Crescent Jewelers, found himself being convicted of securities fraud, mail fraud and conspiracy. Likewise, in addition to Stinn’s conviction, the former CFO, Victor Suglia and form Controller, John Mauro have entered guilty pleas into what was a massive accounting fraud.”
The facts seemed clear and a jury found Mr. Stinn guilty. But, as with any indictment, trial and verdict there seem to be multiple perspectives. Here are some comments made on the first blog that taken together have me confused. The question is – what is the truth? Take a look:
“All I have to say is that you have no clue what you are talking about about Brad Stinn. Yes it is true that the CFO, Victor Suglia, pleaded guilty to accounting fraud. The truth is that Mr. Suglia pointed to Mr. Stinn in order to reduce his own sentence. Mr. Stinn’s only fault has been to hire a crook CFO – nothing else.”
Now for the life of me, I can’t get my arms around how a jury can find the former CEO Stinn guilty and the person posting this comment so clueless? What does this person know that the jury didn’t? Perhaps facts can be shared with us to help those of us who don’t know Bradley Stinn – better know why a mistake was made! But here’s another comment:
“BRADLEY STINN IS N O T G U I L T Y.”
And yet another comment about Mr. Stinn’s character:
“Brad Stinn is a man of integrity, a great father to his children and husband to his wife. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
According to Wikipedia – Integrity – is defined as follows: “Integrity is the basing of one’s actions on an internally consistent framework of principles. Depth of principles and adherence of each level to the next are key determining factors. One is said to have integrity to the extent that everything one does and believes is based on the same core set of values.”
I do not doubt that Mr. Stinn is a wonderful person, husband and father. I was as well, yet I went to prison for lack of integrity – for an ethics failure. If the true principles of a CEO are to honestly run the company in compliance with the law for the best interest of the shareholders, then I would question Mr. Stinn’s integrity. He was convicted for running his company in what he thought might have been the best interests of the shareholders, but he was found guilty for doing that while breaking the law! That is not an example of integrity – is it?
Another posting from the former blog stated the following:
“Are you kidding me? These people are offering sympathy for this man? His fraudulant behavior threw the already troubled company into a talespin. Then enter the next set of crooks. These people made six figures on the hard work of peons like me. I made $10.50 an hour…I worked 14-16 hour days(most times with no break). Forgive me if I feel no sympathy for him. He lied. Bottom line. The evidence proved this. I hope his sentence is harsh and I hope more execs end up before a judge. I worked for this company for years and the higher ups (always thinking of their own gain) sold all of us out…with NO warning. Theft is theft…white collar is just a “more pleasant” was of putting it.”
Hum…well this person is obviously disgruntled and I can understand why. Part of what is said is true. Here’s a reality check – lying about your numbers is lying and knowledge that you’re lying is criminal.
The final comment thus far was the most telling. The question for anyone who might have been on the jury would have been – did he know and did he condone? Here’s what this poster had to say:
“I was not “at the top” but worked with those people, trust me Brad knew every detail of every stores P&l and directed all charge offs etc. Nothing happened without not only his knowledge but his direction.”
This last comment, if true, would clearly support why Mr. Stinn was convicted. Every choice you make has a consequence. As a white collar crime and business ethics speaker, I speak from first hand experience about the truth about consequences. Reality is – no one escapes the consequences of their choices. While Stinn may have looked good hitting the numbers for a time and avoided the consequences – he did not avoid the consequences all together. Prison is no fun and Stinn is facing 25 years for his conviction. Likely he will serve time and that will prove to be a dramatic change from his prior activities.
You do reap what you sow.
If anyone reading has any background on Stinn – feel free to comment.