The story of Enron is truly remarkable. As a company it merely controlled the electricity, natural gas and communications sectors of the world. It reported (key word, reported) revenues over one hundred billion US dollars and was presented America’s Most Innovative Company by Fortune magazine for six sequential years. But, with power comes greed and Enron from its inception employed people who set their eyes upon money, prestige, power or a combination of the three. The gluttony took over sectors which the company could not operate proficiently nor successfully.
Enron was a corporation that reached heights unknown, only to watch it fall apart from the inside out based on a foundation of falsehoods and cheating. Enron established a business culture that flourished on competition and was perceived in society as an arrogant corporation, mainly because of its corporate leadership. The fairytale of Enron actually ended as a nightmare with it destroyed by one of America’s largest bankruptcies in history. The demise of Enron impacted the livelihood and futures of numerous employees, their pensions, and in due course impacted Wall Street in a significant way. Even people today are amazed at how such a powerful company met its demise so rapidly. Enron’s end was a product of greed when certain executives of Enron were not eager to accept the failure of their company. The company utilized mark-to-market accounting that detailed the projected impending profits from a long-term deal (Lawry, 2015, p. 28) The results of the deals did not generate revenue as anticipated, but tremendous loss instead. This resulted in Enron accumulating enormous amounts of debt that they attempted to keep classified from the public. Ultimately the truth came to fruition.
Between the years 2000 and 2002 there were over a dozen corporate scandals involving unethical corporate governance practices. The allegations ranged from faulty revenue reporting and falsifying financial records, to the shredding and destruction of financial documents (Patsuris, 2002). Most notably, are the cases involving Enron and Arthur Andersen. The allegations of the Enron scandal went public in October 2001. They included, hiding debt and boosting profits to the tune of more than one billion dollars. They were also accused of bribing foreign governments to win contacts and manipulating both the California and Texas power markets (Patsuris, 2002). Following these allegations, Arthur Andersen was investigated for, allegedly,
The word “fraud” was magnified in the business world around the end of 2001 and the beginning of 2002. No one had seen anything like it. Enron, one of the country’s largest energy companies, went bankrupt and took down with it Arthur Andersen, one of the five largest audit and accounting firms in the world. Enron was followed by other accounting scandals such as WorldCom, Tyco, Freddie Mac, and HealthSouth, yet Enron will always be remembered as one of the worst corporate accounting scandals of all time. Enron’s collapse was brought upon by the greed of its corporate hierarchy and how it preyed upon its faithful stockholders and employees who invested so much of their time and money into the company. Enron seemed to portray that the goal of corporate America was to drive up stock prices and get to the peak of the financial mountain by any means necessary. The “Conspiracy of Fools” is a tale of power, crony capitalism, and company greed that lead Enron down the dark road of corporate America.
At the turn of the turn of the twenty-first century, a tide of corruption scandals involving reporting and accounting fraud with major US publicly-traded corporations generated a crisis of confidence in US financial markets. Major, apparently prosperous, companies like WorldCom, Sunbeam, Adelphia, and the infamous Enron engaged in accounting fraud of massive proportions to cover financial losses. These actions caused enormous outrage with the US electorate and infused the mistrust of market investors, situation that threatened to disrupt the process by which companies raise capital. Green (2004) concludes that it was adamant to restore public confidence in the capital markets by the end of 2002.
The time frame is early 2002, and the news breaks worldwide. The collapse of corporate giants in America amidst fraud and stock manipulations surfaces. Enron, WorldCom, HealthSouth and later Adelphia are all suspected of the highest level of fraud, accounting manipulation, and unethical behavior. This is a dark time in history of Corporate America. The FBI and the CIA are doing investigations on all of these companies as it relates to unethical account practices, and fraud emerges. Investigations found that Enron, arguably the most well-known, had long shredding sessions of important documents and gross manipulation of stocks and bonds. This company alone caused one of the biggest economic
Prior to 2002, financial statement reporting for publically traded companies within the United States was overseen with far less oversight in comparison to current reporting standards and procedures. Appropriate financial reporting is merely one element that was not occurring prior to 2002. An element of corporate dishonesty and deception existed within some the largest publically traded companies and this idea of deceitfulness was perpetuated by the executive staff of the businesses. Enron’s financial disintegration became the facilitator for the need of more rigid financial oversight, but they were not the only company that added to the idea of corporate fraud.
The fall of the colossal entity called Enron has forever changed the level of trust that the American public holds for large corporations. The wake of devastation caused by this and other recent corporate financial scandals has brought about a web of new reforms and regulations such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which was signed into law on July 30th, 2002. We are forced to ask ourselves if it will happen again. This essay will examine the collapse of Enron and detail the main causes behind this embarrassing stain of American history.
In the early 1990s, a young company named Enron was quickly moving up Fortune magazine’s chart of “America’s Most Innovative Company.” As the corporate world began to herald Enron as the next global leader in business, a dark secret loomed on the horizon of this great energy company. Aggressive entrepreneurs eager to push the company’s stock price higher and a series of fraudulent accounting procedures involving special purpose entities were about to be exposed. In early 2002, the United States Justice Department announced its intent to pursue a criminal investigation into the once mighty company, Enron.
Enron’s fraudulent financial practices lead to the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002. Mistakes made by the company and their leadership shocked the world and cost billions. Enron’s leadership could have taken steps to prevent or mitigate the repercussions of their actions. The act restored ethical and reliable financial practices to the market.The major provisions of the act made corporations responsibility for financial reports, and required internal and external audits. The Act changed the accounting regulatory environment. And although corporations incurred the additional expense of audit and new reporting standards, these changes restored consumer investing confidence, strengthening the corporations and the stock market overall. (Flanigan, 2002.)
This Article is brought to you for free and open access by the Faculty Scholarship at UF Law Scholarship Repository. It has been accepted for inclusion
Enron started as a sound company that had a promising future in the oil and energy business. The companies CEO and CFO were charged on 35 different accounts of fraud, conspiracy, and insider trading that cleared most of its employee’s retirement pensions and billions of dollars for others (Unknown, 2016). It is impossible to account for every transaction that a company will produce, but the revamping of government
There are a number of beliefs that led to the fall of Enron. Some say it is the lack of ethical corporate behavior that led to Enron’s bankruptcy. Some say, it was due to the management’s inability to update themselves consistently with capital related information during its corporate gluttony. Some blame their accounting practices such as the mark- to- market that led to their downfall. Others pointed out on mismanagement of their risks as well as stretching out of their capital reserves as well as the various forms of management that were applied by the various company leaders were among the primary reasons to as why the company was led to bankruptcy as well as moral responsibility. (Prebble, 2010). ). Despite this various analysis
Most of the world has heard of Enron, the American, mega-energy company that “cooked their books” ( ) and cost their investors billions of dollars in lost earnings and retirement funds. While much of the controversy surrounding the Enron scandal focused on the losses of investors, unethical practices of executives and questionable accounting tactics, there were many others within close proximity to the turmoil. It begs the question- who was really at fault and what has been done to prevent it from happening again?
Unfortunately, scandals like Enron are not isolated incidents and the last decade has offered Americans a disheartening perspective with comparable scandals like that of WorldCom and Tyco, Sunbeam, Global Crossing and many more. Companies have a concrete responsibility not just to their investors but to society as a whole to have practices which deter corporate greed and looting and which actively and effectively work to prevent such things from happening. This