Financial Accounting Blog

Thursday, January 22, 2004

This article details the recent surrender of former Enron accounting chief, Richard Causey, to the FBI. He faces five counts of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud. The text goes on to explain some of the measures Causey and other executives allegedly took in an attempt to produce reports that showed earnings greater than what anylists had predicted. The article then alludes to the disguise of a loan from Merrill Lynch as a sale of Nigerian barges. The Enron scam reaffirms the importance of accurate financial statements to both lending institutions and the investing public.
Causey, with other Enron executives and senior managers, "engaged in a wide-ranging scheme, through a variety of devices, to deceive the investing public about the true performance and profitability of Enron's businesses by manipulating Enron's publicly reported financial results and making false and misleading public representations about Enron's financial results and the performance of its various business units," the indictment said.

The document noted Causey reported to Enron's chairman and chief executive but did not name former Enron chairman Kenneth Lay or former CEO Jeffrey Skilling. Neither of them has been charged with any crime.

According to the indictment, the scheme's objectives, among other things, were to produce earnings that grew by 15 to 20 percent annually and meet or exceed "without fail" the published expectations of industry analysts forecasting Enron's financial results while avoiding public reporting of large write-downs or losses.

The intention was to "deceive lenders, rating agencies, and the investing public about the true magnitude of Enron's debt and other obligations and the true condition of Enron's cash flow," the indictment said.