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An American corporation based in Houston, Texas, that traded in energy and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December 2001. Enron's collapse stunned most investors and analysts because Enron, the seventh largest corporation in the United States, had long reported huge earnings. Subsequent investigations revealed that Enron had inflated its earnings by hiding its debt and losses in subsidiary partnerships. Although some of the company's top executives made huge profits as Enron fell apart, many of its employees saw their retirement savings in Enron's 401(k) plan wiped out by the collapse of Enron's share price.
Note: Enron's collapse raised many questions about the reliability of corporate financial statements and the potentially cozy relationships between accountants and the firms they audit.