After a federal judge denied a request from Jeffrey Skilling to remain free on bond pending an appeal, the former Enron chief executive reported to a low-security federal prison in Minnesota Wednesday.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans gave about a day’s reprieve to Skilling, 53, earlier this week, while it considered granting him bail. Skilling began serving his 24-year sentence for a conviction on securities fraud and conspiracy charges, related to his role in the accounting fraud that led to the company’s historic collapse, in the early afternoon.
Skilling could trim his sentence by 54 days a year with good behavior and could erase a full year for participating in an inmate drug and alcohol treatment program, which the judge required.
Enron’s founder Ken Lay was convicted alongside Skilling, but died in July before he could be sentenced. Skilling never cooperated with prosecutors or offered any remorse for his role in the company’s downfall and received a prison sentence more than double that of any other executive implicated.
Citing a successful appeal in another Enron case, in mid-October Skilling joined other convicted Enron executives in asking the court to void his guilty verdict.
Once the country's seventh-largest company with a market value of $68 billion, Enron's December 2001 bankruptcy filing wiped out more than $1 billion in retirement funds. Investors suing over the company's collapse have claimed that the energy giant's accounting fraud and earnings manipulations cost them upwards of $25 billion.
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