Ex-Enron CEO Has Prison Sentence Reduced

Former Enron-CEO Jeff Skilling had his sentence reduced by 10 years on Friday afternoon, shortening the longest prison sentence from the Enron scandal to 14 years.

Skilling, the highest-ranking employee to be convicted for Enron’s illicit business deals that preceded its collapse, has been incarcerated since 2006, according to CNBC. Originally serving a sentence of 24 years, an appeals court vacated his prison term in 2009, which resulted in a shortened sentence of nine years. The appeals court found that U.S. District Judge Simeon Lake, who presided over Skilling’s original trial, had wrongly added years to his sentence because Skilling’s actions had jeopardized a financial institution.

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Skilling’s resentencing was pending since 2009 as he unsuccessfully fought to overturn his conviction.

In an effort to resolve a case that has been going on for over 10 years, the Justice Department agreed to knock off an additional 20 months which — added to the nine year reduction from the appeals court — resulted in the total 10 being taken off Skilling’s sentence.

The deal will also allow Skilling’s more than $41 million in assets to be divvied up amongst victims of the Enron collapse in 2001, the then-largest corporate bankruptcy in history. Enron’s collapse resulted in 5,000 jobs lost, $2 billion in employee pensions washed down the drain, and rendered $50 billion in Enron stock completely worthless.

Skilling, 59, was convicted in 2006 on 19 counts of conspiracy, securities fraud, insider trading, and lying to auditors for his role in the Houston-based company’s collapse, which at one point was the seventh largest in the U.S.

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Skilling, COO of Enron at the time of the collapse, was the highest-ranking employee to be punished. Kenneth Lay, CEO at the time, had a similar sentencing to Skilling but had his convictions vacated when he died of heart failure six weeks after the trial ended.

Some Enron victims were expected to speak during the resentencing, but there is no word yet of what transpired.

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