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August 23, 2006

More on upcoming Olis resentencing

As first noted here, this week has brought notable developments in the run up to Jamie Olis's upcoming resentencing.  The Houston Chronicle today has this thorough article on the case and the new twists and turns.  Here's a snippet:

A government expert failed to prove that a transaction involving former Dynegy manager Jamie Olis was to blame for the company's falling stock price in 2002, according to a report filed this week in anticipation of Olis' Sept. 12 re-sentencing hearing.  The expert used ''methodologies that are broadly criticized in the scholarly literature and repeatedly commits basic logical errors" according to a filing on behalf of Olis by Joseph Grundfest, a Stanford Law School professor and former commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

That's why instead of the 24-year sentence Olis is currently serving, a five-year sentence would be "sufficient but not greater than necessary," said Olis attorney David Gerger in a filing that accompanied Grundfest's report.  Olis has already served three years in jail but will be re-sentenced now that an appeals court decision has overturned the original sentence by U.S. District Judge Sim Lake....

Grundfest wouldn't comment on why he chose to get involved, but Olis' case is being closely watched by many in the legal and business community.  The length of the sentence and Olis' relatively low rank in the company was seen as a warning to many that the government would leave no stone unturned in pursuing white-collar crime.

"It's as if you had a David being punished for the alleged crimes of Goliath," said Joel Androphy, a Houston trial lawyer who has followed the case.  "Even if he eventually gets a reasonable sentence, for the last few years the government has received dividends in having his sentence out there to use it as a threat against others."

Prosecutors would not release the expert's report, which they filed with the court earlier this year, but in another filing that became available this week they said the losses estimated in the report "exceed $100 million" and that Olis should still be sentenced to 24 years. "Jamie Olis was the pervasive driving force behind one of the most serious securities frauds of recent times," prosecutors wrote, countering defense arguments that higher-ranking executives at the company, including the former chief financial officer, should be held accountable for the transaction in question.

August 23, 2006 at 10:36 AM | Permalink

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