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Former Westar CEO gets 24 months for bank fraud at resentencing

[JURIST] Former Westar Energy [corporate website] CEO David Wittig [Wikipedia profile] was resentenced Monday to 24 months in prison, his third sentencing for charges stemming from a 2002 indictment [PDF] on bank fraud, money laundering and conspiracy. In July 2003, Wittig was given 51 months in prison; that sentence was vacated [opinion, PDF] by the US Tenth Circuit in February 2006 for errors in computing his sentencing level. On remand, US District Judge Julie Robinson [official profile] issued a 60-month sentence, which was overturned [opinion, PDF] in November 2006 on similar grounds. Robinson also presided over Monday's decision, which she found to be appropriate in terms of deterrence and in comparison to the sentence given to co-defendant Clinton Odell Weidner II.

The bank fraud charges stem from a 2001 loan transaction in which Weidner, then president of Topeka's Capital City Bank, illegally increased Wittig's credit line for a joint real estate investment. In a separate case, Wittig and former Chief Strategy Officer Douglas Lake were found guilty [JURIST report] in 2005 of fraudulently taking millions of dollars from Westar, the largest electric utility in Kansas. Witting was found guilty of 39 counts and Lake of 30 counts on charges that included conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering; they were sentenced to 18 years and 15 years, respectively. The sentences were reversed [opinion, PDF] in January by the Tenth Circuit; the defendants may still be retried on conspiracy and forfeiture. Wittig has been imprisoned for over a year after violating the terms of his release [JURIST report] in January 2006. The Kansas City Star has more.

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