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Skilling sentenced to 24 years prison in Enron fraud case

[JURIST] top story US District Judge Sim Lake on Monday sentenced former Enron [corporate website; JURIST news archive] CEO Jeffrey Skilling [Houston Chronicle profile] to 24 years in prison and determined that $45 million of Skilling's assets will be seized to be distributed to former Enron employees. Skilling, convicted [JURIST report; verdict backgrounder] in May on 19 counts of conspiracy, insider trading, and securities fraud, was charged [final redacted indictment, PDF] with providing investors with false and misleading financial information from 1999 up until Enron filed bankruptcy in late 2001.

The federal government's Enron Task Force estimated that Skilling controls up to $66 million in forfeitable assets, including at least $50 million in securities. Skilling had petitioned Lake to allow him to remain free pending his appeal [Houston Chronicle report] of his conviction, but Lake rejected that request, instead asking the US Bureau of Prisons to recommend when Skilling should begin serving the 292-month sentence. Skilling was ordered to home confinement, and will be subject to electronic surveillance, until the date when he must report to prison.

Last week, Lake vacated the conviction [JURIST report] of co-defendant Kenneth Lay, who was also convicted [JURIST report] in May on conspiracy and fraud charges [indictment, PDF] before he died suddenly [JURIST report] from a heart attack [PDF autopsy report].

The record for the largest white-collar criminal sentence is held by former Worldcom CEO Bernard Ebbers, who received 25 years [JURIST report], affirmed on appeal [JURIST report], for fraud and conspiracy connected to a $11 billion fraud scheme that drove Worldcom into bankruptcy. The Houston Chronicle has local coverage.

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