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Bill Young felt uneasy but good about downloading hundreds of pages of documents about Infant Products Inc.
Bill Young felt uneasy but good about downloading hundreds of pages of documents about Infant Products Inc., an audit client of his former CPA firm, Rogers & Autry, which involved the bribery of foreign government officials to gain favored treatment—a crime under the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act. He had stumbled upon the information while looking for other files online. Bill had already decided to quit his job and was in the process of cleaning up his office and boxing personal items. He thought about it but did not see anything wrong with the downloading. Besides, the bribery case involved selling tainted infant formula in China. Payments were made to government officials to look the other way. Bill pondered what his options were. Should he inform management of the company even though he had handed in his official resignation letter? Should he disclose the matter to an investigative reporter who had been sniffing around the company for months following up on a tip he had received about improper foreign payments by the company? Or should he report the matter to the authorities? He also considered remaining silent. Bill carefully weighed these options by reflecting on the harms and benefits of his alternative courses of action.
Questions 1. You are Bill's best friend. Assume he asks for your advice about what he should do. What would you say and why? Support your answer with reference to relevant auditing and/or ethics requirements.
2. Bill is at home now having already spoken to you about the matter. He decides to carefully consider the consequences of his actions. What are the harms and benefits of the alternatives identified by Bill?
3. Assume Bill decides not to follow your advice but calls you again to let you know about his decision. If you sense an opportunity to provide additional input during the conversation, what would your advice be to Bill at this point and why?