White-Collar Crime

Convicted Enron chief executive could be released early from prison

Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling could win early release from prison under a sentencing agreement with the U.S. Justice Department.

The DOJ posted a notice on its website on Thursday to notify victims of Enron fraud that it was considering the agreement, report the New York Times DealBook blog, Reuters and CNBC.

Skilling is serving a 24-year sentence after his 2006 conviction on 19 counts, including securities fraud, conspiracy, making false statements to auditors and insider trading. A federal appeals court had upheld Skilling’s conviction in 2011 and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case last year. The appeals court had said Skilling’s sentence must be recalculated, however, because of an error by the trial judge, according to the DealBook account.

Skilling’s lawyers were planning to seek a new trial based on allegations of misconduct by the Justice Department’s Enron task force, CNBC says. An agreement for a reduced sentence could “avoid a potentially messy court battle,” according to the CNBC story.

A federal judge would have to approve the reduced sentence.

Updated on April 7 to correct typo.

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