10 Famous financial frauds you should know

8) Enron scandal

The Enron scandal was an accounting scandal involving Enron Corporation, an American energy company based in Houston, Texas. Upon being publicized in October 2001, the company declared bankruptcy, and its accounting firm, Arthur Andersen – then one of the five largest audit and accountancy partnerships in the world – was effectively dissolved. In addition to being the largest bankruptcy reorganization in U.S. history at that time, Enron was cited as the biggest audit failure.

Enron was formed in 1985 by Kenneth Lay after merging Houston Natural Gas and InterNorth. Several years later, when Jeffrey Skilling was hired, Lay developed a staff of executives that – by the use of accounting loopholes, special purpose entities, and poor financial reporting – were able to hide billions of dollars in debt from failed deals and projects. Chief Financial Officer Andrew Fastow and other executives misled Enron’s board of directors and audit committee on high-risk accounting practices and pressured Arthur Andersen to ignore the issues.

As a consequence of the scandal, new regulations and legislation were enacted to expand the accuracy of financial reporting for public companies. One piece of legislation, the Sarbanes–Oxley Act, increased penalties for destroying, altering, or fabricating records in federal investigations or for attempting to defraud shareholders.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings