San Antonio, Texas (Reuters): Unwilling to wait for their eventual indictments, about 10,000 remaining CEOs of public U.S. companies made a break for it yesterday, heading for the Mexican border and plundering towns and villages along the way--and writing the entire rampage off as a marketing expense.
"They came into my home, made me pay for my own TV, then double-booked the revenues," said Rachel Sanchez of Las Cruces, New Mexico, just north of El Paso. "Right in front of my daughters, too."
Calling themselves the CEOnistas, the chief executives were first spotted last night along the Rio Grande River near Quemado, where they bought each of the town's 320 residents by borrowing against pension fund gains. By late this morning, the CEOnistas had arbitrarily inflated Quemado's population to 960 and declared a 200 percent profit for the fiscal second quarter.
This morning, the outlaws bought the city of Waco, transferred its underperforming areas to a private partnership, and sent a bill to Texas for $4.5 billion.
Law enforcement officials and disgruntled shareholders riding posse were noticeably frustrated.
"First of all, they're very hard to find because they always stand behind their numbers, and the numbers keep shifting," said posse spokesman Dean Lewitt. "And every time we yell 'Stop in the name of the shareholders!' they refer us to investor relations. I've been on the phone all damn morning." "You'll never audit me alive!" they scream. The pursuers said they have had some success, however, by preying on a common executive weakness. "Last night we caught about 24 of them by disguising one of our female officers as a CNBC anchor," said U.S. Border Patrol spokeswoman Janet Lewis. "It was like moths to a flame."
Also, teams of agents have been using high-powered listening devices to scan the plains for telltale sounds of the CEOnistas. "Most of the time we just hear leaves rustling or cattle flicking their tails," said Lewis, "but occasionally we'll pick up someone saying, 'I was totally out of the loop on that."
Among former and current CEOs apprehended with this method were Computer Associates' Sanjay Kumar, Adelphia's John Rigas, Enron's Ken Lay, Joseph Nacchio of Qwest, Joseph Berardino of Arthur Andersen, and every Global Crossing CEO since 1997. ImClone Systems' Sam Waksal and Dennis Kozlowski of Tyco were not allowed to join the CEOnistas as they have already been indicted.
So far, about 50 chief executives have been captured, including Martha Stewart, who was detained south of El Paso where she had cut through a barbed-wire fence at the Zaragosa border crossing off Highway 375. "She would have gotten away, but she was stopping motorists to ask for marzipan and food coloring so she could make edible snowman place settings, using the cut pieces of wire for the arms," said Border Patrol officer Jenette Cushing. "We put her in cell No. 7, because the morning sun really adds texture to the stucco walls."
While some stragglers are believed to have successfully crossed into Mexico, Cushing said the bulk of the CEOnistas have holed themselves up at the Alamo. "No, not the fort, the car rental place at the airport," she said. "They're rotating all the tires on the minivans and accounting for each change as a sale."