cook the books
From the mid-17th century. A metaphor based on cooking, whereby ingredients are changed, altered and improved. Thus financial statements can also be so modified to the benefit of the "cook".
- (idiomatic) To manipulate accounting information, especially illegally.
- Enron Corp., once a major U.S. corporation, is now famous for cooking the books.
- (idiomatic, by extension) To falsify an account of an event.
2015, Seamus McGraw, Betting the Farm on a Drought, ISBN 1477303839:
- Two years after he received his piece of the Nobel Prize, Mann was drawn into controversy over a series of e-mails stolen from the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom that some climate change skeptics charged provided proof that Mann and his fellow scientists were cooking the books on climate, though for what reason, the skeptics never made clear.
to manipulate accounting information
to falsify an account of an event