Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling fooled investors, analysts, regulators - and even many employees - by using a network of shell companies and phony transactions to hide billions of dollars of liabilities. And then the jig was up.
By hiding its liabilities, Enron made it appear as though its billions of dollars in assets were owed to shareholders instead of creditors, massively overvaluing the equity on its balance sheet.
Ironically, the firm aired a 60-second television commercial during the 2000 U.S. presidential election which showed a nervous executive explaining to a group of analysts the reasons behind his firm's recent disappointing fiscal quarter.
And running throughout the soundtrack is a computerized voice repeatedly asking "Why? Why? Why?"
Why indeed, Peter