Kenneth L. Lay, who rose from humble roots to found what was, at the time, the seventh-largest publicly traded company in Enron, only to later become a symbol of corporate greed and malfeasance, died of a heart attack at his vacation home here. He was 64.Lay, along with former Enron chief executive Jeffrey Skilling, was convicted in May in a Houston court of conspiracy, securities fraud and wire fraud stemming from the mammoth 2001 collapse of the energy-trading concern.

The Enron debacle, and later, the $11 billion bankruptcy at WorldCom, helped sparked the 2002 passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act as well as a series of corporate reforms that included the creation of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.

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