Posted: 6/15/2002 6:42:26 PM EDT
After a six-week trial and 10 days of deliberations, jurors convicted Andersen for obstructing justice when it destroyed Enron Corp. documents while on notice of a federal investigation.
The moral of the story?
"When you expect the police, don't destroy evidence"
What I find revolting are the wails and lamentations of the business community about how Andersen should have been allowed to survive because businesses need auditors to produce statements to reassure investors. The WSJ has been publishing editorials for weeks about it, and they're dead wrong.
IMHO the government did the very right thing -- it's a lesson to the accounting companies that if they lie, then try to hide, they will be destroyed. Perhaps the others will wise up and behave at least slightly more honestly.
When the whole Enron mess started, I was ranting that Andersen was the most dishonest bunch of bastards I'd ever worked around (on software projects). Their goal was invariably to suck every cent they could out of the client company and deliver shoddy, useless software for which the client company would have to retain Andersen forever to maintain it. They would deliberately under-specify development hardware requirements, so that their workers would be wasting hours every day waiting for the computers to compile their programs; and they would swap people in and out of projects to train absolute beginners and move experienced people to other projects.
Watching them "work" was sickening.
To me, the only sad thing about the whole mess is that their IT consulting division got spun off into a separate company several years ago, and so it survived on its own. A damn shame.
Here's a bit more info on exactly what swayed the jurors...from the Washington Post today.
"The crucial memo documented a dispute between Enron and Andersen as the Houston company was preparing a news release about a surprising $1 billion loss in the third quarter of 2001. Enron wanted to minimize the loss by describing it primarily as a one-time "non-recurring" problem.
Andersen accountants protested that such language was misleading to shareholders. Duncan was responsible for informing senior Enron executives of Andersen's opinion, which Enron was not obligated to follow. Duncan says he did so.
But Enron used the phrase anyway in an Oct. 16 news release that, for the first time, exposed the extent of the losses in off-the-books partnerships created by former Enron chief financial officer Andrew S. Fastow. The statement led to an avalanche of increasingly damaging disclosures of accounting and financial misstatements at Enron and the company's eventual bankruptcy filing in December."
Also, the judge, before dismissing the jurors told them they could do whatever they wanted with their notes....get ready for some books.
Anderson dug their own grave. They've been dishonest for at least 20 years. Hell, I remember reading about this same kind of BS in the early 80's!
And their IT consulting business, what a joke! Like 71-Hour_Achmed stated, they've been screwing their customers for years. My wife's cousin worked there for a few years and she said their MO is to hire inexperienced kids, tell them to buy a couple of suits, learn corp-speak, and set them loose. They made a fortune on consulting! That just goes to show how stupid business is.