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May 28, 2006

More good coverage of Enron sentencing dynamics

This morning's Chicago Tribune has this interesting article, entitled "'Ashamed' wrongdoer gets break: Deal limiting sentence of former finance chief key to prosecution, but some say it goes too far."  As the title suggests, the article focuses on the steep sentencing discounts given to cooperators in corporate fraud cases. Here's the article's start:

They blamed him above all others for bringing down Enron Corp., forcing him to admit repeatedly under oath that, yes, he is a shameful excuse for a human being.  Yet in the end, the contrite Andrew Fastow stands to come through the Enron scandal in far better shape than the unrepentant Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, the ex-Enron bosses who attacked him so vigorously during the criminal trial that ended last week with their convictions.

By pleading guilty and testifying for the government, the former finance chief has limited his exposure to 10 years in prison, while Lay and Skilling face 20 years or more at their sentencing on Sept. 11.  If Fastow gets off with a relatively light sentence, he will join the swelling ranks of white-collar offenders who have reaped significant rewards for their cooperation.  The crackdown on corporate crime that culminated in Thursday's Enron verdict has led to vast disparities in punishment between those who strike plea bargains and those relative few who go to trial.

Recent related Enron posts:

May 28, 2006 at 07:49 AM | Permalink


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This tergiversation has been a means of escaping criminal liability for ages and with the Guidelines and the severity of the sentences, the traitors to the conspiracy have jumped ship driven by the fear of doing time. There are cases of sons testifying against fathers and mothers to keep from doing time. The saying goes, “if you can’t do the time, drop a dime” and in 95% of the cases, someone has pleaded guilty and is seeking a reduction in sentencing. Fastow was looking at 20 years or more and by limiting his exposure to 10 years someone had to pay the piper his share, so his additional time will be passed to those he testifies against many fold.
I venture to presume that Lay, Skilling and Ebbers, like so many were proponents of the war on drugs and agreed that the punishment should be severe for making money illegally, while they sat in the backroom concocting their scheme. But now their Ox is being gored and it is unfair.
Paying rent on the courthouse can be an expensive endeavor, and when you have been silent to the plight of those of lesser station in life, don’t look for sympathy here. Grant relief to those who have been in prison for twenty years or more for a handful of dope before you get misty over the scammer who stole millions from the unsuspecting. Fastow sold his soul, gave up his wife and friends for fear of doing time, there is no torture, he would not be put on the rack or beaten, what could scare a mans so much to give up so many. Fastow will receive additional 5K1.1 reductions and will never do 10 years, this time, but he thinks he has a free pass from the government as their patsy, he will again dip his hands in the pockets of the unaware and next time he will be done.

Posted by: Barry Ward | May 29, 2006 8:07:44 AM

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