ON JUNE 16, 2002, the accounting firm of Arthur Andersen was found guilty of a felony charge of obstructing justice in the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation of the collapse of the Enron Corporation. At the time of the conviction, Andersen was one of the five largest accounting firms in the world with approximately 85,000 employees across the globe. Within a year of the conviction, employees of Andersen numbered less than 300.

At the order of David Duncan, lead auditor for the Enron account at the firm's Houston, Texas, office, Andersen partners and staff destroyed more than a ton of Enron documents and deleted over 30,000 e-mails and computer files that were allegedly confidential to the account. The 17-day purge ended on November 9, 2001, ...

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