9 episodes

Bad Bets is a new podcast series from The Wall Street Journal that unravels big-business dramas that have had a big impact on our world. This season, we’re delving into Enron, the ‘90s energy giant that later became synonymous with epic corporate fraud. Wall Street Journal reporters John Emshwiller and Rebecca Smith talk to key players who had a front row seat to the big egos and unchecked power within Enron, including a whistleblower who speaks on the record for the first time. Now, on the 20th anniversary of Enron’s collapse, this story is as relevant as ever.

Bad Bets The Wall Street Journal

    • News

Bad Bets is a new podcast series from The Wall Street Journal that unravels big-business dramas that have had a big impact on our world. This season, we’re delving into Enron, the ‘90s energy giant that later became synonymous with epic corporate fraud. Wall Street Journal reporters John Emshwiller and Rebecca Smith talk to key players who had a front row seat to the big egos and unchecked power within Enron, including a whistleblower who speaks on the record for the first time. Now, on the 20th anniversary of Enron’s collapse, this story is as relevant as ever.

    Enron, Ep 8: Vigilance and Skepticism

    Enron, Ep 8: Vigilance and Skepticism

    Enron was a giant, and its collapse was historic. The company's downfall disrupted energy markets, pushing other power companies into bankruptcy. It prompted hearings by nearly a dozen congressional committees, and it inspired major legislation-the Sarbanes-Oxley Act-to improve the conduct of corporations and their watchdogs. But were the changes enough to prevent a similar scandal? Could there be another Enron debacle looming?
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    • 32 min
    Enron, Ep 7: The Trial

    Enron, Ep 7: The Trial

    After years spent building its "lies and choices" case, the Department of Justice's Enron Task Force took Enron executives Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling to court. In this episode, the unprecedented trial that became something of a litmus test for all of corporate America. How much did Lay and Skilling know about the crimes that occurred at Enron, and when did they know it?
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    • 48 min
    Enron, Ep 6: Lies and Choices

    Enron, Ep 6: Lies and Choices

    Enron CEO Ken Lay was practically the company's founding father. But when federal authorities began investigating Enron after its collapse, prosecutors had a hard time connecting Lay to anything illegal - and Lay himself insisted that he was innocent. Until: prosecutor John Hueston joined the team, two years into the investigation. In this episode, how the Enron Task Force built its case against Lay.
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    • 38 min
    Enron, Ep 5: The Enablers

    Enron, Ep 5: The Enablers

    After Enron's collapse, a congressional probe and a Department of Justice task force began investigating not just company executives - but also the auditors and banks that had enabled the company's business practices. In this episode, the groups that facilitated Enron's rise.

    John Emshwiller hosts. The original reporting on which this season is based was done by him, Rebecca Smith and other reporters in the WSJ newsroom. Bad Bets is a production of The Wall Street Journal. This season was produced in collaboration with Neon Hum Media.

    Correction: Senator Byron Dorgan represented North Dakota. A previous version of this podcast incorrectly said that he represented South Dakota.
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    • 37 min
    Enron, Ep 4: The Downfall

    Enron, Ep 4: The Downfall

    The biggest problem for Enron wasn't that former CEO Jeffrey Skilling suddenly quit, or that former CFO Andy Fastow was enriching himself. It was that Enron's success was dependent on an image that was partly a facade. After Wall Street Journal reporters pulled back the curtain, it all came tumbling down. In this episode, how Enron fell from Wall Street darling to bankruptcy in just a matter of weeks.

    Questions about the making of Bad Bets? Join John Emshwiller and Rebecca Smith for a live Q&A on Thursday, November 4th at 2 p.m. EST. Sign up at wsj.com/live-qa. We'd love to hear from you.

    John Emshwiller hosts. The original reporting on which this season is based was done by him and Rebecca Smith. Bad Bets is a production of The Wall Street Journal. This season was produced in collaboration with Neon Hum Media.
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    • 39 min
    Enron, Ep 3: The Fixer and the Whistleblowers

    Enron, Ep 3: The Fixer and the Whistleblowers

    Enron's stock price rose astronomically in the late '90s, buoyed by investor confidence in former CEO Jeffrey Skilling-and by earnings reports that seemed to show Enron's profits growing by leaps and bounds. But as we now know, those numbers were engineered by a man named Andy Fastow, Enron's chief financial officer at the time. In this episode, we take a look at Mr. Fastow and hear from the whistleblowers who exposed him and Enron's financial engineering.

    John Emshwiller is the host of this season of Bad Bets. The original reporting on which this season is based was done by him and Rebecca Smith. Bad Bets is a production of The Wall Street Journal. This season was produced in collaboration with Neon Hum Media.
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    • 41 min

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