October 23, 2006 — Former Enron Chief Executive Jeffrey Skilling, who gained notoriety as the man who organized the largest U.S. corporate fraud in the last decade, was sentenced to more than 24 years in jail.
Enron, an energy trading company, abruptly declared bankruptcy in December 2001. More than 4,000 employees at Enron lost their jobs and many lost their retirement savings, while Enron investors lost billions.
News agencies in the courtroom reported that Skilling stood before the judge without emotion, as presiding Judge Sim Lake announced his sentence. His wife cried quietly in her seat as the victims of Enron’s collapse watched the proceedings.
Skilling was found guilty in May on 19 counts of fraud, insider trading and lying to auditors while at the helm of Enron. He has said he will appeal the conviction.
Since Enron’s collapse, Skilling has remained steadfast in his defense that he committed no crimes.
“At his age, this basically amounts to a life sentence,” said one power industry insider who wished to remain unnamed.
The other key figure in the Enron case is Kenneth Lay, Enron’s founder, who died July 5. Lay’s convictions were vacated last week due to his sudden death from a heart attack.
Power Engineering’s Online Editor, Amethyst Cavallaro, contributed to this story.