Skilling May Be Free in 4 Years if Deal Survives Victim Rage
Jeffrey Skilling, the convicted former Enron Corp. chief executive officer, may get out of prison in as little as four years if a judge approves a deal with prosecutors over objections by victims of one of the biggest corporate frauds in U.S. history.
In exchange for getting as many as 10 years cut from his 24-year sentence, Skilling will drop his bid for a new trial and end litigation over his conviction. A jury found he spearheaded a fraud of as much as $40 billion that destroyed the world’s largest energy trader in 2001.
U.S. District Judge Sim Lake in Houston said he would take into consideration comments by ex-Enron employees, investors and other victims before accepting or rejecting the deal.
A sentencing agreement submitted yesterday to Lake by prosecutors and Skilling’s lawyers calls for the former executive to give up all claims to $40 million in forfeited assets and be resentenced to 14 to 17 years in prison, according to a filing in federal court in Houston. The bulk of the reduction comes from an appellate ruling that takes nine years off because sentencing guidelines were improperly applied by Lake the first time.