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Tuesday, February 12 12:01 AM EST

Arthur Andersen to Shift Business Focus

By Brian Sizemore

Chicago, IL - In a news conference earlier today, Arthur Andersen Chairman Joseph Berardino announced a major shift in their business strategy, turning away from their previous focus on corporate auditing and consulting, and instead towards the "more lucrative" personal income tax advisory role.

"Our vision is to go head to head with the likes of Merrill Lynch and Charles Schwab," stated Joseph outside one of the new Arthur Andersen mall offices. "Those firms may claim to be able to provide the highest tax refunds for their clients. Personally, I've taken a look at some of the advice they give, and I figure we can guarantee double the returns for
anyone that walks through our doors."

Using Andersen's Enronomics™ model, Joseph explained how the average household could expect a tax return of between $3,000 to $4.5 million, depending on how often they traveled overseas in the past year. "As an added bonus, our clients will be able to brag about how they are now CEO's of several new businesses at their high school reunions, in their Christmas newsletters, or during coffee breaks at work. Beat that, Merrill Lynch!!!"

Clients so far seem ecstatic about the service they've received. "I came in thinking that I owed the government several thousand dollars because of capital gains, my complete lack of charitable write-offs, and that I took no deductions from my wages. But Andersen took my paperwork, applied their Enronomics™ to it, and suddenly the IRS owes me $358,000! And I'm the owner of a business at that! I wonder what kind of Internet company e-Wok is?"

Current tax advisory firms have expressed concerns over Arthur Andersen's aggressive tactics, but have so far been unable to pinpoint exactly what is wrong with the accounting strategies involved. "I don't think you can write stuff off like that," said Merrill Lynch branch manager Shaun Douglas from somewhere beneath stacks and stacks of tax code, "but I'm having trouble finding where it's located in the 4,257 pages of recent amendments. I'm sure they won't be able to get away with it for very long before somebody AAAACK!!!" The latter was the result of the collapse of the paperwork upon Shaun; rescue workers expect to reach his body within the next week.

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