Enron's Skilling could get sprung early
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling, who wasn't scheduled to be released from prison for another 15 years, could get a shorter sentence from the Feds, according to the Justice Department.
"The Department of Justice is considering entering into a sentencing agreement with the defendant in this matter," said the federal agency on Thursday, referring to Skilling.
Skilling, 59, was sentenced to 24 years in 2006, after being convicted of fraud, conspiracy, insider trading and lying to auditors. He was ordered to pay about $50 million in restitution to the victims after orchestrating the largest corporate fraud in history.
Now known as inmate #29296-179, Skilling maintained his innocence throughout the court hearings. He currently resides at the Englewood federal prison in Littleton, Colo., and is scheduled to be released in February 2028.
Skilling's original sentencing was conducted under improper guidelines, according to an appeals court decision, which is why he is going to be resentenced.
Enron, an energy trading company, collapsed under the weight of massive fraud perpetrated by some of its executives, and the name is as notorious as that of legendary Ponzi mastermind Bernard Madoff.
The purpose of the announcement is to invite victims, including former Enron employees and stockholders, to participate in Skilling's hearing. The Justice Department said victims have until April 17 to respond but did not say when the hearing would take place.
More than 4,000 Enron employees lost their jobs, and some also lost their life savings, when the company declared bankruptcy in 2001. Investors suffered losses in the billions of dollars.
Skilling's lawyer, Daniel Petrocelli, was not immediately available for comment.
Andrew Fastow, one of Skilling's partners-in-white-collar-crime, was released from prison on Dec. 16, 2011, at least four years early, after making a plea bargain.
Kenneth Lay, who was CEO of Enron before Skilling took over, was also convicted but died in 2006 at 64 while awaiting sentencing.
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