Enron - a Fraud Case Summary

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ENRON: The Smartest Guys in the Room
Movie Summary
Gerald Prayogo

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the room is a documentary movie based on the book of the same name. Essentially, it tells us about one of the biggest fraud ever performed in the US. It tells us of the downfall of Enron: its scandals, the prosecution of its perpetrators, as well as its role in California electricity crisis. The film describes the biggest names on the fraudulent corporation. First is Kenneth Lay, the founder of Enron. Kenneth, nicknamed ‘Kenny Boy’ by his spouse, got the company into scandal in just two years after its establishment, after Enron’s managers bet on oil markets. The second is Jeffrey Skilling, the man who utilized mark-to-market accounting, which allow Enron to appear as being a profitable company, even if the reality might not be so. He also applied the Darwinian philosophy on Enron by establishing a ‘rank and yank’ system, a system of which a group of review commitees grades employees and fires the bottom fifteen percent. Skilling was also described as having a soft spot for “guys with spikes”; which made him recruit J. Clifford Baxter, a manic-depressive; and Lou Pai, the CEO of Enron Energy Services which was known for using shareholder money to pay strippers. Enron managed to get a myriad of profits during the dot-com bubble by using the process known as “pump and dump”: pushing up their stock prices and taking the massive options. Enron also tried to get public’s attention by launching a series of PR campaign, which gave it the impression of being a profitable company, although performing poorly elsewhere. Enron failed in several projects, such as weather trading, movies on demand by broadband, and Dabhol Power Company. However, due to mark-to-market accounting, nonexistent profits are…...

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