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Looking for a new CFO? How does this guy sound? After graduating summa cum laude from college, he joined KPMG to audit big-name companies, such as General Electric Co., and later earned a CFA. In the late 1980s, he jumped into the telecommunications industry, winning top finance positions at a couple of tiny long-distance concerns before ultimately landing a CFO post at an obscure reseller of long-distance service based down south. He has extensive M&A experience, having orchestrated a string of 75 acquisitions to create a $35 billion behemoth out of what had been almost Mom-and-Pop Bell. Thanks to this candidate, his former company now controls most Internet traffic and a good chunk of the long-distance market. When lists of the best and brightest CFOs have been compiled, his name has unfailingly been among the first mentioned.

Sounds good, right? One problem: The candidate’s name is Scott Sullivan, and WorldCom Inc. reported that it fired him on June 25–his 40th birthday, coincidentally–after learning that the CFO had concealed almost $4 billion in expenses in what could turn out to be the biggest case of accounting fraud in U.S. history.

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