May, 27 2005
The Enron Scandal
Enron was established in 1930 as Northern Natural Gas Company and joined with three other companies to undertake this industry. The four companies eventually began to break apart between 1941 and 1947 as a result of a public stock offering. In 1979, Northern Natural Gas was placed under new management when it was bought by InterNorth Inc. In 1985, Kenneth Lay, CEO of Houston Natural Gas Company devised a transaction for InterNorth to purchase Houston Natural Gas. Lay was named CEO of the new company and changed InterNorth's name to Enron Corporation. This newly developed company originally was involved in distributing gas and electricity throughout the United States, and operation of power plants and pipelines worldwide. In fifteen short years Enron became the nation's seventh largest company, but the company's growth was due to several illegal activities. During 2001, Enron shares fell from eighty-five dollars to thirty cents. The devastating results occurred after it was revealed that many of its profits and revenue were the result of deals with special purpose entities (Carson, 7).
Arthur Anderson, Enron's accounting firm, turned their heads while Enron's management created "special purpose entities" that kept hundreds of millions of dollars of losses and debt off the balance sheet, which misled individual's investment decisions. The lack of information led to an overstatement of profits of almost six hundred million dollars and an understatement of debt of six hundred and thirty million dollars between 1997 and 2000. Arthur Anderson was not the only one releasing misleading information, some of Enron's senior managers also misled investors into thinking the company was in better shape than it was. During this time Kenneth Lay was cashing in his own Enron stock, which sold for thirty seven million dollars (Thomas, 3).
The GOP also indirectly helped Enron conceal its...
Cited: Calkins, Laurel Brubaker. Enron Fraud Trial Ends in Five Convictions. Washington Post; 11/04/2004.
Carson, Leigh. The Real Enron Scandal. New Republic; 01/28/2002, Volume 226 Issue 3, p7, 1p, 1bw.
Thomas, Kenneth. Enron and Immortality. America; 02/11/2002, Volume 186 Issue 4, p3, 1p.
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