Jan 3, 2008

Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind on the Enron verdict

The verdict in Houston is a critical landmark - and a good thing - for American business. The rules are now clear and the risks of another Enron that much lower. The message is not to start down the slippery slope - that fudging the numbers, operating deeply in the gray zone, deliberately obscuring what's going on in your business, isn't just wrong. It's a crime.

Enron's bankruptcy seems not to have delivered this message, as the subsequent accounting scandals at AIG and Fannie Mae, which originated with the same please-the-Street impulses (but without such dire results), showed. But maybe, just maybe, a couple of decades in the slammer for Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling will send the message home.

~ Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind, "The Guiltiest Guys in the Room," Fortune, July 5, 2006

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