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In the late 1990's, financial markets in the United States (U S) were rocked by accounting scandals in companies such as Enron and WorldCom. Public confidence in American business was at low ebb. As a knee-jerk reaction to the scandals, the U S Congress hastily passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX) hoping to restore the lost image of the U S business firms. SOX rendered corporate governance and protecting corporate assets a matter of Federal mandates. Penalties for violation of the provisions of SOX include a maximum of 25 years of prison and/or a fine of twenty five million dollars. For small and mid-size firms, the implementation costs became prohibitive.
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