Enron: What Caused the Ethical Collapse?

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Kenneth Lay, former chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Enron Corp., claimed to be a moral and ethical leader and exhorted Enron’s officers and employees to be highly ethical in their decisions and actions. In addition, the Enron Code of Ethics specified that “An employee shall not conduct himself or herself in a manner which directly or indirectly would be detrimental to the best interests of the Company or in a manner which would bring to the employee financial gain separately derived as a direct consequence of his or her employment with the Company.” Enron’s ethics code was based on the values of respect, integrity, communication, and excellence. Given this code of conduct and Ken Lay’s professed commitment to business ethics,…show more content…
A grand jury indicted Lay on July 7, 2004 on 11 counts of securities fraud and related charges. He was found guilty of 10 counts against him on May 25, 2006. A judge dismissed the last count since each count carried a 5 to 10 year maximum prison sentence. Had he not died of a heart attack on July 5, 2006, he could have served between 20 to 30 years in prison. Skilling is still serving a 24-plus year prison sentence, after he was convicted on 19 counts-- “one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud, 12 counts of securities fraud, five counts of making false statements to accountants, and one count of insider trading.” Recently, it was questionable whether or not he would be temporarily released after his son’s suicide attempt. Fastow was sentenced on conspiracy to commit securities fraud and sentenced from 10 to 6 years after he testified against Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling, and others. His release date is scheduled on December 2011. Enron, the company’s, aftermath also stands witness to the corruption of its officers, “Enron Creditors Recovery Corp. is a shell of the former Enron Corp. (once the world's #1 energy trader) and is shelling out the remaining assets of the bankrupt Enron to creditors. Once the largest buyer and seller of natural gas and electricity in the US, Enron also traded numerous other commodities.

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