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True Crime Weekly: Kenneth Lay

The focus of today’s crime talk revolves around Kenneth Lay. He and Enron CEO Jeffery Skillings were dubbed the Criminal Executive Officers by Time Magazine and came in second on the list of “Top 10 Crooked CEOs”. This Texan and founder of Enron was found guilty of 10 counts of securities fraud by a grand jury in 2006. 

Wall Street Darling Turned Symbol of Capitalist Greed

Kenneth Lay started out as the Chief Executive of Houston Natural Gas back in 1985 after the company approached him about taking over as a chairman and Chief Executive. After merging with InterNorth, the combined company was renamed the Enron Corporation. The energy company quickly went on to become the seventh-largest business in the United States of America and dominated the natural gas and electricity trade. Lay’s company was a national success until 2001 when it collapsed under a slew of accounting scandals. 

What Was Enron?

Enron was a successful energy company based in Houston, Texas. The company became a powerhouse in the late 1980s when the government deregulated the energy industry, allowing people to choose where they bought gas and electricity. Enron was quick to exploit this opportunity and soon became one of the top utility companies in the U.S. They were also popular because they sold tools to protect buyers from large energy price fluctuations. 

The company suffered from a large downturn and started to deteriorate when Enron set aside millions to reflect the losses stemming from two partnerships that had been set up in the late 90s to hide the company’s enormous debt. Enron also dramatically reduced shareholder equity which made their stock prices plummet. 

The Enron Scandal

This famous accounting scandal cost shareholders $74 billion and employees lost billions in pension benefits when the company went under. All of this came to be after whistleblower, Sherron Watkins exposed the company. Watkins was working as Enron’s VP at the time, and several months before the company’s implosion, she warned Lay about the improper accounting methods. When he ignored her and the company was found out, she testified against them. 

It was soon determined that the company had used fraudulent accounting, illegal loans, and insider trading to get and stay ahead.

RADR– Enron secretly funded several entities to buy windmills and then sold them back, sending some of the profits to company executives.

CHEWCO– This company was formed by company executives and claimed profits they weren’t entitled to. Their reports drove stock prices up and the original investors (Enron executives) made a ton of money.

These are just a couple of examples of how Enron, Kenneth Lay, and other executives cheated the system and the public.

Kenneth Lay Found Guilty

The late CEO OF Enron was convicted by a federal jury in Houston of conspiracy, securities fraud, wire fraud, and making false statements. Now, he and his business partner, Jeff Skilling, epitomize white-collar crime in America. They’ve even made their way into economics books as an example of what not to do. Lay was convicted on all six counts of which he was charged. He was also convicted of one count of bank fraud and three counts of making false statements to banks in a separate bench trial. 

Dallas Bail Bonds

During this process, Kenneth Lay had to wait several months for his case to go to trial. The trial last four months. The jury deliberated for six days. 

Enron was caught in December 2001, but Lay wasn’t convicted until May 2006, shortly after his death. This means that Lay had a little over five years to get his affairs in order and plan his defense. All of this was possible because he was released from jail on a $500,000 bail. If you also face recompense for white-collar crimes, contact the Dallas bondsmen at A-EZ Out Bail Bonds. One of our knowledgeable staff will secure a fast and discreet bail bond and get you released from jail. From there, you can start looking for the best criminal defense and white-collar crime attorney around. Contact us today to learn why Texas’ elite trust us to bond them out of jail.

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