Study: CEOs and CFOs Cheating on Spouse Twice as Likely to Engage in Financial Misstatement

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Aug 9, 2019

A study by three business school professors has found that CEOs and CFOs who have had an account with adultery-focused dating site Ashley Madison were twice as likely to have made a financial misstatement or been the subject of a class action securities lawsuit, according to Bloomberg.

The study examined 11,000 executives, brokers, police officers and known white-collar criminals and cross-referenced the list with leaked data from Ashley Madison. Overall, the study found that users of the website were more likely to have made some sort of professional conduct violation than the control group. 

For instance, the study found that financial advisers with some form of misconduct on their records were more than twice more likely to have an Ashley Madison account than the control population. Police officers who engaged in misconduct were twice as likely to have an account. The study also found that 4.1 percent of SEC defendants in white-collar crime cases had paid accounts, versus 1 percent of the control population. 

The researchers concluded that cheating in one context carries over to cheating in others. 

"Our findings suggest that personal and professional lives are connected and cut against the common view that ethics are predominantly situational," said the study's authors. "This supports the classical view that virtues such as honesty and integrity influence a person’s thoughts and actions across diverse contexts and has potentially important implications for corporate recruiting and codes of conduct. A possible implication of our findings is that the recent focus on eliminating sexual misconduct in the workplace may have the auxiliary effect of reducing fraudulent workplace activity."

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