Both the chief architect of the shady deals that brought down Enron and his wife have pleaded guilty. The deal could take prosecutors to the top of the corporate ladder at Enron, which became the symbol of the corporate accounting scandals in recent years.

Former finance chief Andrew Fastow pleaded guilty to conspiracy in Houston today. The deal calls for a ten-year prison sentence and his cooperation in helping prosecutors build a case against former chairman Kenneth Lay and former chief executive officer Jeffrey Skilling.

In a statement, Fastow said he and other members of Enron senior management “fraudulently manipulated Enron’s publicly reported financial results.” He says the purpose was to mislead investors and inflate the company’s stock price and credit rating.

Fastow’s wife pleaded guilty to a tax charge related to Enron’s ill-gotten gains. Lea Fastow was Enron’s assistant treasurer.

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