Sherron Watkins (born August 28, 1959) is an American former Vice President of Corporate Development at the Enron Corporation. Watkins was called to testify before committees of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate at the beginning of 2002, primarily about her warnings to Enron's then-CEO Kenneth Lay about accounting irregularities in the financial statements. 
In August 2001, Watkins alerted Lay of accounting irregularities in financial reports. However, Watkins has been criticized for not reporting the fraud to government authorities and not speaking up publicly sooner about her concerns, as her memo did not reach the public until five months after it was written.  Watkins was represented by Houston attorney Philip H. Hilder.
Watkins was selected as one of three "Persons of the Year 2002" by Time magazine, alongside two other whistleblowers, Cynthia Cooper of WorldCom and Coleen Rowley of the FBI.
Watkins was born in Tomball, Texas. Watkins holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (with honors) from the University of Texas, where she was a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority,  and a Master in Professional Accounting, also from the McCombs School of Business. Watkins is a Certified Public Accountant.
Watkins began her career in 1982 at Arthur Andersen as an auditor. She spent eight years at Andersen in both the Houston and New York offices. She joined New York-based MG Trade Finance in 1990 to manage their portfolio of commodity-backed finance assets until October 1993.
She joined Enron in 1993, and departed in November 2002. Since then, Watkins has been giving speeches at colleges and management congresses.
In 2004, she released a book about her experiences at Enron and the problems of US corporate culture, Power Failure: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Enron.
Enron Corporation was an American energy, commodities, and services company based in Houston, Texas. It was founded by Kenneth Lay in 1985 as a merger between Lay's Houston Natural Gas and InterNorth, both relatively small regional companies. Before its bankruptcy on December 2, 2001, Enron employed approximately 29,000 staff and was a major electricity, natural gas, communications, and pulp and paper company, with claimed revenues of nearly $101 billion during 2000. Fortune named Enron "America's Most Innovative Company" for six consecutive years.
Andrew Stuart "Andy" Fastow is a convicted felon and former financier who was the chief financial officer of Enron Corporation, an energy trading company based in Houston, Texas, until he was fired shortly before the company declared bankruptcy. Fastow was one of the key figures behind the complex web of off-balance-sheet special purpose entities used to conceal Enron's massive losses in their quarterly balance sheets. By unlawfully maintaining personal stakes in these ostensibly independent ghost-entities, he was able to defraud Enron out of tens of millions of dollars. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission opened an investigation into his and the company's conduct in 2001. Fastow was sentenced to a six-year prison sentence and ultimately served five years for convictions related to these acts. His wife, Lea Weingarten, also worked at Enron, where she was an assistant treasurer; she pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering conspiracy and filing fraudulent income tax returns, and served jail time before early release to a halfway house.
Arthur Andersen LLP was an American holding company based in Chicago. Formerly one of the "Big Five" accounting firms, the company had provided auditing, tax and consulting services to large corporations. By 2001, it had become one of the world's largest multinational corporations.
John Clifford "Cliff" Baxter was an Enron Corporation executive who resigned in May 2001 before committing suicide the following year. Prior to his death he had agreed to testify before Congress in the Enron scandal.
David B. Duncan is a former partner of Arthur Andersen, and was the United States government's star witness in the Arthur Andersen trial. He has said fears over interpretation prompted him to order the shredding of documents relating to Enron.
Conspiracy of Fools is a 2005 book by Kurt Eichenwald detailing the Enron scandal.
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room is a 2005 American documentary film based on the best-selling 2003 book of the same name by Fortune reporters Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind, who are credited as writers of the film alongside the director, Alex Gibney. It examines the 2001 collapse of the Enron Corporation, which resulted in criminal trials for several of the company's top executives during the ensuing Enron scandal, and contains a section about the involvement of Enron traders in the 2000-01 California electricity crisis. Archival footage is used alongside new interviews with McLean and Elkind, several former Enron executives and employees, stock analysts, reporters, and former Governor of California Gray Davis.
Vincent Julian Kaminski was born in Poland and worked as the Managing Director for Research at the failed energy trading corporation Enron until 2002. In this capacity he led a team of approximately fifty analysts who developed quantitative models to support energy trading. In the months preceding Enron’s bankruptcy Kaminski repeatedly raised strong objections to the financial practices of Enron’s Chief Financial Officer, Andrew Fastow, designed to fraudulently conceal the company’s burgeoning debt.
Alpha Chi Omega is a national women's fraternity founded on October 15, 1885.
Jordan H. Mintz was the former Managing Director for Corporate Tax at Enron and a whistleblower during the Enron scandal.
Kenneth Lee Lay was the founder, CEO and chairman of Enron who was heavily involved in the eponymous accounting scandal that unraveled in 2001 into the largest bankruptcy ever to that date. Lay was indicted by a grand jury and was found guilty of 10 counts of securities fraud at trial. Lay died in July 2006 while vacationing in his house near Aspen, Colorado, three months before his scheduled sentencing. A preliminary autopsy reported Lay died of a heart attack caused by coronary artery disease. His death resulted in a vacated judgment.
Rebecca P. Mark-Jusbasche, known during her international business career as Rebecca Mark, is best known as the former head of Enron International, a subsidiary of Enron. She was also CEO of Azurix Corp., a publicly traded water services company originally developed by Enron International. Mark was promoted to Vice Chairman of Enron in 1998 and was a member of its board of directors. She resigned from Enron in August 2000.
The Enron scandal was an accounting scandal involving Enron Corporation, an American energy company based in Houston, Texas. Upon being publicized in October 2001, the company declared bankruptcy and its accounting firm, Arthur Andersen – then one of the five largest audit and accountancy partnerships in the world – was effectively dissolved. In addition to being the largest bankruptcy reorganization in U.S. history at that time, Enron was cited as the biggest audit failure.
Lynn Brewer, known as Eddie Lynn Morgan before her marriage, is the author of the book Confessions of an Enron Executive: A Whistleblower's Story. She is also the founder of the Integrity Institute which provides analytical research and education in the area of "structural integrity," and she speaks at conferences or similar events for honorarium of $13,500 or more.
Accounting ethics is primarily a field of applied ethics and is part of business ethics and human ethics, the study of moral values and judgments as they apply to accountancy. It is an example of professional ethics. Accounting was introduced by Luca Pacioli, and later expanded by government groups, professional organizations, and independent companies. Ethics are taught in accounting courses at higher education institutions as well as by companies training accountants and auditors.
The philosophy of accounting is the conceptual framework for the professional preparation and auditing of financial statements and accounts. The issues which arise include the difficulty of establishing a true and fair value of an enterprise and its assets; the moral basis of disclosure and discretion; the standards and laws required to satisfy the political needs of investors, employees and other stakeholders.
Accounting scandals are business scandals which arise from intentional manipulation of financial statements with the disclosure of financial misdeeds by trusted executives of corporations or governments. Such misdeeds typically involve complex methods for misusing or misdirecting funds, overstating revenues, understating expenses, overstating the value of corporate assets, or underreporting the existence of liabilities. It involves an employee, account, or corporation itself and is misleading to investors and shareholders.
"Tone at the top" is a term that originated in the field of accounting and is used to describe an organization's general ethical climate, as established by its board of directors, audit committee, and senior management. Having good tone at the top is believed by business ethics experts to help prevent fraud and other unethical practices. The very same idea is expressed in negative terms by the old saying "A fish rots from the head down".
Philip Harlan Hilder is an American criminal defense lawyer and founder of the Houston law firm Hilder & Associates, P.C.
The WorldCom scandal was a major accounting scandal that came to light in the summer of 2002 at WorldCom, the USA's second-largest long-distance telephone company at the time. From 1999 to 2002, senior executives at WorldCom led by founder and CEO Bernard Ebbers orchestrated a scheme to inflate earnings in order to maintain WorldCom's stock price. The fraud was uncovered in June 2002 when the company's internal audit unit, led by the vice president Cynthia Cooper, discovered over $3.8 billion of fraudulent balance sheet entries. Eventually, WorldCom was forced to admit that it had overstated its assets by over $11 billion. At the time, it was the largest accounting fraud in American history.