Posted: May 25th, 2022

Stanwick and Stanwick 2009 in their case

Stanwick and Stanwick (2009) in their case study “Tyco: I’m Sure That It’s a Really Nice Shower Curtain” is that certain the Tyco CEO and his business associates, family and acquaintances misappropriated the shareholder’s funds under the pretext of legitimate corporate functions and allocations. Elements of favoritism can be seen in the way the CEO, Dennis Kozlowski awarded loans from the Tyco coffers to himself and Frank Walsh without seeking the approval of the board. This was viewed as corrupt and a direct violation of the various responsibilities accorded to the board of directors by the shareholders and investors. According to Stanwick and Stanwick (2009), the CEO and the other board of directors were corrupted by the power and influence that they had in the company.

The major issues presented in the case

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White collar crimes

White collar crime was defined by Sutherland (1939) as a crime that is committed by an individual of high social status and respectability in the course of his or her occupation. This is evident in the manner in which Dennis Kozlowski used his position as the CEO of Tyco to embezzle funds and evade tax in the purchase of paintings for his houses. According to CIMA (2009) fraud involves the employment of deceptive means to make an individual make a personal gain in a dishonest manner or to create a loss for another person or corporate entity. Generally fraud can be used to denote activities like theft, conspiracy, corruption, money laundering, embezzlement as well as bribery. This is evident in the case study especially when Dennis Kozlowski, the Tyco CEO evaded tax and tampered with corporate financial records. Dennis Kozlowski also conspired with several art dealers based in New York to ship empty boxes to the headquarters of Tyco and in the process avoiding a 8.25% city as well as state tax and in actual sense the $13 million paintings (Monet, Renoir) that the boxes were declared to contain were instead delivered to his apartment at 5th Avenue. This is corporate fraud at its best.


A review of the case study reveals that both individuals and corporations are liable to sentencing if convicted of white collar crimes. The penalties for the white collar crimes are different and they range from fines, forfeitures, prosecution, restitution, imprisonment and even supervised release (The Attorney Store, n.d ).It is pointed out in certain cases that the term and length of sentencing may be reduced in cases where the defendants assist the authorities with the investigation.

What do you think Kozlowski’s motivation for trying to avoid sales taxes on his art purchases was?

I believe Kozlowski’s motivation for trying to avoid sales taxes on his art purchases was driven by his urge to own the paintings ( a sign of opulence and elegance of which he was noted for).Halperin (n.d) pointed out that he had hoped to display his paintings at the opening of an art gallery called Madison Avenue gallery. He had hoped to do this himself so as to get him occupied after a highly celebrated as well as distinguished retirement from the company (Tyco). The fact that he was rich and powerful could have also acted as a motivation. After all, power corrupts leaders. Kozlowsk indeed went against his own will and doctrine of doing the right thing. He instead used his position and authority to orchestrate some of the worst white-collar crimes in the global history. In reality however, Kozlowski was never since he knew very well that the loans as well as the relocation programs were orchestrated falsely. His disloyalty can also be noted in the manner in which he used his position as the CEO to evade task and Explain the concept of commingling assets with respect to the Tyco case

To commingle means to mix together. According to Investor Words (n.d), commingled funds refers to a mutual fund including assets sourced from various accounts that are pooled together so as to effectively reduce the cost of administration and management. In the case of Tyco, Kozlowski was charged with commingling the funds that he obtained in an apparent breach of the fiduciary duties accorded to him (FindLaw,2002) as well as the proceeds that were obtained on the usage of these funds by him with the funds that were his own. It is worth noting that as a fiduciary, he was supposed to account to his principal employer, Tyco for all the funds that he obtained in the course of his employment. This amount however exceeded $100 million. He was therefore to render an account to Tyco to be used for the funds that he obtained in the course of his employment and also account for the interest that he got on the funds as well as the benefits obtained by him via the wrongful application of Tyco’s funds. Abrams (2007) pointed out that the commingling of business and personal assets is a form of business misuse.

Would it have been possible for the board of directors to see the adjustments taking place in the many different programs at Tyco?

I think it would have been possible for the board of directors to see the adjustments taking place in the many different programs at Tyco. The question of when they would see and know of the white collar crimes that were unfolding within Tyco was just a matter of time. It was just a matter of time before someone talked or before they started questioning the opulent, extravagant and shameful habits and lifestyle of Dennis Kozlowski. These would have definitely attracted suspicion and subsequently inquiry and audit. The board usually knows what goes on in the company through independent updates by the top management and partners. A review of Dennis Kozlowski lifestyle and misuse of position was evident in almost all parts of his life. His purchases were questionable, social engagements as well as associations. Certain board members were aware of what was going on since they were participants in the poor governance. A series of revelations indicated that Dennis Kozlowski, Tyco’s former general counsel as well as individual board members were part of the bad corporate governance ion the firm’s board room. The board while being scrutinized by investors as well as regulators engaged in blame-shifting and finger pointing approaches so as to respond to a tirade of charges that were being leveled against the entire management and the firm. Some of the board members thought they would actually save face but it was very apparent that the boardroom itself had had a problem for several years (Directors and Boards,2002). It is worth pointing out and remembering that powerful rights demands equally powerful responsibilities. Therefore is a public company board of directors have the rights to excellent stock options and attractive cash packages that is associated with their rank and positions, then they have the power of influencing corporate strategy and being proactive in the corporate oversight by questioning the moves of the CEO is it could bring turmoil within the corporation. The Tyco case study reveals that it is important for any company to have proactive board of directors. The board should comprise of several independent directors who possess a diversity of skills and operating experience. The process of aligning shareholders interests and those of directors via stock ownership must be balanced through the establishment of a reserve system to be used for the realization of the gains that are long-term.


Abrams, F (2007). Asset Search Indicia For Divorce, Debt Collection & Bankruptcy. Available online at

Chartered Institute of management Accountants (2009).Corporate fraud. Available online at

Directors and Boards (2002). Tyco “s betrayal of board governance.

(Board)Accountability).Available online at

FindLaw (2002).Tyco International Ltd. V.L.Dennis Kozlowinski

Halperin, JL (n.d).The independent collector. Available online at

Stanwick, PA and Stanwick, SD (2009).Understanding Business Ethics. Prentice Hall. ISBN 10:


Sutherland, EH (1949). White Collar Crime. New York: Dryden Press.

The Attorney Store (n.d).White Collar Crime. Available online at

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