Ten-Year Anniversary of the Convictions of Chief Executives in FBI’s Largest White-Collar Crime Investigation
HOUSTON, TX—Today, May 25, 2016 marks ten years since the convictions of Enron Corporation’s Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling. Lay was chairman and chief executive officer of Enron; Skilling was the chief executive officer and chief operations officer.
The investigation into Enron is, to date, the FBI’s most complex white-collar crime investigation.
FBI Houston’s Assistant Special Agent in Charge Michael E. Anderson headed the FBI Houston Enron Task Force. You can watch ASAC Anderson’s observations below.
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 the 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.