UPDATE: Former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling was resentenced to 14 years in prison on Friday. He had been sentenced to 24 years in 2006 after he was convicted on 19 counts of “conspiracy, securities fraud, insider treading and lying to auditors for his role” in the downfall of Enron. According to reports, the Justice Department agreed to an additional reduction of 20 months in exchange for Skilling’s agreement to not file any more appeals. Factoring in time served and potential reductions for good behavior, Skilling could be out of jail as early as 2017 or 2018. Skilling is currently housed at a minimum security prison in Littleton, Colorado. As part of the agreement, nearly $41 million of Skilling’s assets will be distributed to Enron’s victims.
Former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling is likely to have his prison sentence reduced on Friday in a federal courtroom in Houston.
Skilling, who was sentenced to 24 years in prison in 2006 for his role in Enron’s collapse, will have to drop all appeals and allow $40 million worth of assets to be distributed in an agreement his attorneys made with the U.S. Justice Department.
According to the Houston Chronicle, if U.S. District Judge Sim Lake accepts the deal on Friday, Skilling could get out of jail by 2017 or 2018. Skilling is 59 years old.
“The proposed agreement brings certainty and finality to a long, painful process,” lead defense attorney Daniel Petrocelli said, according to the Chronicle.
In 2006, “Skilling was convicted of wire fraud, securities fraud and related crimes in connection with the spectacular 2001 fall of Enron.” Skilling has long maintained he did nothing wrong and “the company was done in by nothing more than an old-fashioned run on the bank.”
As the Chronicle notes, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals “tossed out part of the justification for the harsh sentence by ruling that Enron was not a financial institution.” The U.S. Supreme Court then “vacated that part of the conviction based on the government’s claim that Skilling had denied Enron his ‘honest services.'”
Skilling’s defense team has argued his “sentence was extreme, unjust and politically motivated,” especially in light of the “the lack of prosecutions after the national economic collapse in 2008”; they claim Skilling was “far less culpable for Enron’s failure than various top investment bankers and mortgage company heads were for decisions that tanked the economy.” While Skilling has been in prison, his youngest son and both of his parents have died.
The Chronicle notes that many Enron employees who lost their savings still have no sympathy for Skilling.