HOUSTON, 2:41 p.m. CST February 22, 2002 - The bankrupt energy giant, Enron Corp., designed and maintained a fake trading floor at its Houston office.

According to former Enron employees, on the sixth floor of the company's downtown headquarters was a set, designed to trick analysts into believing business was booming.
"It was an elaborate Hollywood production that we went through every year when the analysts were going to be there to be impress them to make our stock go up," former employee Carol Elkin said.

Elkin worked for Enron for five years as an energy analyst. She was once even commended by then-Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Skilling.

Elkin said that the phony trading room was staffed by her and other employees to resemble a real trading operation.

"They would build out the sixth floor of 1000 Smith in what I called a Hollywood set," Elkin said. "They would build out a set with a big, 36-inch flat panel screens and the teleconference conference rooms."

Elkin said that it was all an act, and that no trades were actually made there. The people on the phones were talking to each other.

"They would ask us to go alternately, in like hour shifts down to the sixth floor," Elkin said. "And sit and pretend that we lived and worked there."

Elkin said that it fit the company's culture that Enron couldn't just be a good company -- it had to appear at least, to be the best, even if the truth was all smoke and mirrors.

"It was absurd that we were doing this," Elkin said. "But to me the most absurd part was that it worked."

Elkin is now one of many employees that are suing Enron, hoping to recover 401k savings that were lost when the company collapsed.

Enron did not comment about the fake trading room.