HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Ten years have passed since former Enron Corporation chairman Kenneth Lay and chief executive officer Jeffrey Skilling were convicted in a scheme that cheated investors out of millions of dollars. The investigation into the Houston-based company remains "the FBI's most complex white-collar crime investigation," according to a statement released by the agency on Wednesday.
Upper-level Enron Corp. executives enriched themselves through complex accounting gimmicks like overvaluing assets to boost cash flow and earnings statements, which made the company appear more appealing to investors. When the company declared bankruptcy in December 2001, the level of losses to investors prompted the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies to conduct investigations.
The case led to the creation of the multi-agency Enron Task Force, which incorporated the FBI, IRS, SEC and the Department of Justice. The task force 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 and almost $90 million has been forfeited to help compensate victims of the scheme.
22 people were convicted for their roles related to the fraud.