Once considered one of America’s most innovative companies, the Enron Corporation is now known as one of the country’s biggest frauds. History will remember it not only for the jobs, stock value, and pension funds it destroyed, but also for the shocking revelations of the deception executed by one of the country’s biggest, most prestigious companies and the ...
Once considered one of America’s most innovative companies, the Enron Corporation is now known as one of the country’s biggest frauds. History will remember it not only for the jobs, stock value, and pension funds it destroyed, but also for the shocking revelations of the deception executed by one of the country’s biggest, most prestigious companies and the men running it, who couldn’t see past their own greed. (Or if they could see past it, simply didn’t care.)
The Enron story captured America’s attention because of its scale and impact, as well as the astounding duplicity of its top leaders. The Houston-based energy company continued to project an image of strength and success long after insiders had begun to unload their own stock in anticipation of the company’s failure. In January 2001, less than twelve months before the company filed for bankruptcy, it threw a lavish party, with free-flowing liquor and champagne, free cigars for the taking, high stakes poker tables, and a company-sponsored car race. How could anybody know there was something wrong? One of the world’s most successful companies by any account, Enron was simply celebrating its success.
EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK
After the company’s bankruptcy, the government initiated a federal investigation that resulted in sixteen guilty pleas from former Enron executives, including multiple felony convictions for Enron founder, chairman, and former CEO Jeffrey Skilling, former President, CEO, and COO Kenneth Lay, and former CFO Andrew Fastow.
One thing that is important to remember but hard to really understand about this scandal was that though the company itself was huge, the group of people “in the know” about Enron’s practices and true financial situation was most likely relatively very small. Even high earning employees were kept in the dark about what was really happening behind closed doors, in discussions among the high and mighty Skilling, Lay, and Fastow. After the truth came to light, one employee told the New York Times, “We were so sure of what we were doing and where we were going… 'We didn't know we were living on borrowed time.''
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CRIMES OF THE CENTURY: ENRON
+ The Perpetrators
+ Investigations, Trials, and Sarbanes-Oxley
+ ...and much more
Deena Shanker is a writer living in San Francisco. After moving to the west coast from New York City in the fall, she is loving San Fran's beautiful weather, colorful architecture, and never-ending vegetarian food options. She loves visiting the beach with her dog, Barley, and eating cheese (also sometimes with Barley). She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and Barnard College.