(Bloomberg) Former Enron Corp. Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Skilling, who spearheaded the fraud that destroyed the world’s largest energy trader, will exit prison as early as 2017 after a judge reduced his sentence to 14 years from 24.
U.S. District Judge Sim Lake III in Houston today approved the terms of the deal made between prosecutors and Skilling. In exchange for a shorter sentence, Skilling, 59, agreed to forfeit $45 million, drop his bid for a new trial and end litigation over his 2006 conviction and sentence. The former CEO’s prison term was already set to be reduced by nine years, thanks to a 2011 appellate-court ruling that sentencing guidelines were incorrectly applied in his case.
“This agreement ensures that Mr. Skilling will be appropriately punished for his crimes and that victims will finally receive the restitution they deserve,” Peter Carr, a spokesman for the Justice Department’s criminal division, said in an e-mail last month when the deal was announced.
A Houston jury convicted him and Enron’s former Chairman Kenneth Lay of manipulating the company’s financials and misleading investors. Lay died before he had the chance to appeal, and the verdicts against him were erased.
“The proposed agreement will bring a certain finality to a long, painful process, although the recommended sentence for Jeff would still be more than double that of any other Enron defendant, all of whom have long been out of prison,” his lawyer, Daniel Petrocelli, said in a phone interview last month. “Jeff will at least get the chance to get back a meaningful part of his life.”
The case is U.S. v. Causey, 4:04-cr-00025, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas (Houston).
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