Table: Eroding Confidence

JAN. 10, 2000

AOL buys Time Warner in a deal worth $183 billion--which later results in a $54 billion write-off, the largest ever.

MAR. 10, 2000

The NASDAQ reaches 5048.6, the height of the high-tech bubble. It is now 1713.


Oracle CEO Larry Ellison exercises 23 million stock options for a record gain of more than $706 million--weeks before lowering earnings forecasts.


Arthur Levitt Jr. leaves as head of the SEC after business lobbyists kill his plan to prohibit auditing firms from consulting for clients.

MAY, 2001

Arthur Andersen agrees to pay $110 million to settle a shareholders suit alleging fraud in its audit of Sunbeam.

AUGUST, 2001

Harvey Pitt, a Washington lawyer who had represented auditors and corporations, often in front of the SEC, succeeds Levitt.

DEC. 2, 2001

Enron files for the largest corporate bankruptcy in U.S. history. In doing so, it becomes a national symbol of business corruption and greed.

JAN. 11, 2002

Al Dunlap agrees to pay $15 million to settle a lawsuit from Sunbeam shareholders and bondholders alleging that he cooked the books at the maker of small appliances.

JAN. 22, 2002

Credit Suisse First Boston agrees to pay $100 million in fines to settle charges that brokers allotted shares in initial public offerings to certain investors in exchange for outsize commissions on other trades.

JAN. 28, 2002

Global Crossing, once a high-flying telecom-service provider, files for Chapter 11. In the preceding three years, the company's insiders had cashed in $1.3 billion in stock.

JAN. 29, 2002

Tyco International discloses that it paid a director $10 million in cash and gave a further $10 million to his favorite charity in exchange for his help on an acquisition.

FEB. 7, 2002

Enron Audit Committee Chairman Robert Jaedicke claims that management failed to disclose critical information to the board.

MAR. 14, 2002

A federal grand jury indicts auditor Arthur Andersen on charges of obstruction of justice.

APR. 1, 2002

Xerox agrees to pay a $10 million SEC fine to settle charges that it engaged in fraudulent accounting practices.

APR. 8, 2002

The New York State Attorney General charges that Merrill Lynch analysts were privately referring to certain stocks as "crap" and "junk" while publicly recommending them to investors.

APR. 9, 2002

Arthur Andersen partner David Duncan pleads guilty to charges of obstructing justice in the Enron case.

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