Former Enron Chief Accountant Faces Criminal, Civil Charges
Andrew Fastow’s alleged partner in Enron crime pleaded not guilty yesterday to six criminal charges handed up in an indictment by a federal grand jury looking into the collapse of what was the nation’s seventh largest company.
Richard A. Causey, 44, who was the energy giant’s chief accountant during the years in which massive fraud allegedly occurred, is accused of five counts of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud. He will be released on $1 million bail to await trial.
In conjunction with the criminal case filed by the Justice Department, Causey was charged yesterday by the Securities and Exchange Commission with violating, and aiding and abetting the violation of, the antifraud, periodic reporting, books and records, and internal controls provisions of the federal securities laws. The SEC seeks restitution of all ill-gotten gains, seeks to bar Causey from serving as a director or officer of a publicly held company and seeks an injunction against future violations of federal securities laws.
Causey shared financial duties and rank with former Chief Financial Officer Andrew Fastow, and like Fastow, reported to former Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Lay.
Fastow and his wife Lea entered into plea agreements last week with federal prosecutors with Andrew Fastow pleading guilty to two counts of conspiracy and Lea Fastow pleading guilty to filing a false tax return. He faces 10 years in prison and she will spend 5 months in prison. Anonymous sources told Dow Jones Newswires that the Fastow deal needed to be finalized before prosecutors could turn their attention to Causey.
"Rick Causey has done absolutely nothing wrong and we will vigorously contest any charges the government may bring," Mark Hulkower, one of Mr. Causey's attorneys, said Wednesday.
Last week, reporters speculated about how well others in Houston were sleeping knowing that Fastow’s deal hinged on his cooperating with prosecutors attempting to make cases against other Enron players.
As part of his deal, Fastow admitted that he and other senior Enron managers misled investigators about Enron’s finances to inflate the stock and that he participated in schemes designed to enrich himself and others at the expense of stockholders, Dow Jones reported.
Dow Jones reported that Causey was the chief accounting officer when many of Fastow’s schemes were operational. Fastow’s October 2002 indictment indicates that Causey had a secret deal with Fastow, guaranteeing that Fastow wouldn’t lose money when one of his partnerships did business with Enron, Dow Jones reported.
Voice of the Editor
Which isn’t completely true. I mean, occasionally I drop by when I manage to sneak out of the nonstop frat party over at Going Concern, but I’m mostly a wallflower over there. I’m happy to say that I’ve been given express permission (or explicit orders, if you like) to wander over here to AccountingWEB more often.
Why is that, you might ask? My job is to replace the irreplaceable Gail Perry as Editor-in-Chief. What does that mean? I don’t really know! I think it’ll be fun getting a feel for things, throwing in my own thoughts here and there, and listening to the discussions you’re having about the accounting profession.