Houston (Jan. 23, 2004) -- Just hours after he turned himself in to authorities at the Houston office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Richard A. Causey, the former chief accounting officer at now-collapsed energy giant Enron, has pleaded not guilty to five counts of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit fraud.

In an indictment unsealed Thursday, Causey, 44, was described as "a principal architect and operator of the scheme to manipulate Enron's reported earnings." Enron collapsed amid a sea of mounting debt and false profits and filed for Chapter 11 in December 2001.

The indictment charged Causey in "a scheme to fraudulently manipulate Enron's publicly reported financial results and artificially inflate its stock price." Causey was fired from Enron in early 2002. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 55 years in prison and a $5.25 million fine on the six charges.

Two week ago, Enron's former chief financial officer, Andrew Fastow, pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy. He and his wife Lea are currently working on a plea-bargain arrangement.

-- WebCPA staff

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