The beginning of the end for Enron Corp. came exactly a decade ago. Yet the energy giant’s colossal collapse casts a long shadow over the government’s efforts to punish wrongdoing during the financial crisis.
In October 2001, the highflying Houston company jolted investors with a big loss. Less than two months later, Enron was bankrupt, and the scandal led to 42 civil enforcement actions by securities regulators and criminal charges against 33 people and the company’s auditor, according to a tally by law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP.
More than a dozen people pleaded guilty. Former Enron President Jeffrey Skilling, now 57 years old, is serving a 24-year sentence in a Colorado federal prison following his 2006 fraud conviction.
Some people who helped untangle the Enron mess say the results show how regulators and prosecutors are coming up short as they work on cases tied to the financial crisis. So far, no high-profile executive has been sent to prison for crisis-related wrongdoing.
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