The man who ran Enron Corp.'s finances from the aftermath of its failure through last October has agreed to pay $500,000 to settle allegations that he knew or should have known some assets were grossly overvalued to falsely inflate the disgraced energy company's profits.
Raymond Bowen Jr., 45, "knew or was reckless in not knowing" that assets were overvalued or protected from losses by hedges that didn't satisfy accounting rules, the Securities and Exchange Commission said in a complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Houston.
Bowen settled the allegations without admitting or denying the allegations. He also is barred from serving as an officer or director of a public company for five years.
His attorney, Philip Khinda, said Bowen — who has not been charged with any crimes — was "glad to have this behind him, and proud to have served the company so well during its turnaround in bankruptcy."
Bowen resigned as Enron's chief financial officer and treasurer on Oct. 1, having served in those roles since a month after Enron went bankrupt in December 2001.
Bowen joined Enron in 1996 and held various positions in different units, including Enron's once-envied trading unit, Enron North America. As an ENA managing director and co-head of commercial transactions in 2000, Bowen was responsible for overseeing parts of Enron's merchant asset portfolio.
At that time Enron created a series of entities to hedge inflated asset values on Enron's books, but the entities, known as "Raptors," were backed by Enron stock and wrongly treated as independent of the company. The SEC alleged Bowen aided and abetted Enron's violations of financial reporting and record-keeping.
Specifically, the SEC also alleged Bowen knew or should have known that a $100 million increase in the book value of Mariner Energy Inc., an oil and gas exploration company that was once Enron's largest merchant asset, was recorded in 2000 to help Enron appear to have met earnings targets.
Mariner, which Enron sold nearly a year ago to a pair of private equity funds in a $271.1 million deal, is noted in more than 30 counts of fraud, conspiracy and insider trading pending against former top Enron accountant Richard Causey. The indictment alleges Causey and other senior managers inflated Mariner's value to pump up profits.
Causey is charged alongside former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling and founder and former chairman Kenneth Lay. All three have pleaded innocent to their differing number of charges, and their trial has yet to be scheduled.
Bowen rose quickly at Enron as the company failed amid revelations of hidden debt, inflated profits and shady accounting. In mid-November 2001 he replaced ousted treasurer, Ben Glisan Jr., who is serving a five-year prison sentence for conspiracy.
Then in January 2002 Bowen took the CFO title as well when Jeffrey McMahon, who had replaced ousted CFO Andrew Fastow in October 2001, moved up to president. McMahon resigned in June 2002.
More than a year ago Fastow pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy, admitting to running myriad schemes to manipulate Enron's finances while enriching himself on the side, and is expected to be a key witness in the case against Skilling, Lay and Causey. He has agreed to serve 10 years in prison.