Home News News Blog 10 Years Since Enron’s Collapse Triggered FBI’s Most Complex White-Collar Investigation

10 Years Since Enron’s Collapse Triggered FBI’s Most Complex White-Collar Investigation

It was 10 years ago this month that the collapse of Enron precipitated what would become the most complex white-collar crime investigation in the FBI’s history.

 

Enron boxes in office suite
More than 3,000 boxes of evidence and more than four terabytes of digitized data were collected by agents in the weeks after Enron declared bankruptcy Dec. 2, 2001.

Ten Years Later: The Enron Case

It was 10 years ago this month that the collapse of Enron precipitated what would become the most complex white-collar crime investigation in the FBI’s history.

Top officials at the Houston-based company cheated investors and enriched themselves through complex accounting gimmicks like overvaluing assets to boost cash flow and earnings statements, which made the company even more appealing to investors. When the company declared bankruptcy in December 2001, investors lost millions, prompting the FBI and other federal agencies to investigate.

The sheer magnitude of the case prompted creation of the multi-agency Enron Task Force, a unique blend of investigators and analysts from the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and prosecutors from the Department of Justice.

Agents conducted more than 1,800 interviews and collected more than 3,000 boxes of evidence and more than four terabytes of digitized data. More than $164 million was seized; to date about $90 million has been forfeited to help compensate victims. Twenty-two people have been convicted for their actions related to the fraud, including Enron’s chief executive officer, the president/chief operating officer, the chief financial officer, the chief accounting officer, and others.

“The Enron Task Force’s efforts resulted in the convictions of nearly all of Enron’s executive management team,” said Michael E. Anderson, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Houston Division, who led the FBI’s Enron Task Force in Houston. “The task force represented a model task force—the participating agencies selflessly and effectively worked together in accomplishing significant results. The case demonstrated to Wall Street and the business community that they will be held accountable.”

Resources:

- A Look Back at the Enron Case
- Enron trial exhibits and documents

Cases:

- Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling Resentenced
- Federal Jury Convicts Former Enron Chief Executives Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling
- Former Enron Chief Financial Officer Andrew Fastow Pleads Guilty  
- Former Enron Broadband Co-Chief Executive Officer Sentenced for Wire Fraud
- Former Enron Assistant Treasurer Pleads Guilty
- Former Enron Executive Pleads Guilty to Insider Trading

Dec 02, 2011 12:00 PM