White Collar Crime

Government May Seek Assets From Estate of Dead Enron Founder

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A Houston federal judge has given the government the go-ahead to seek nearly $13 million in assets from the estate of Enron founder Kenneth Lay, who died last year after his conviction for fraud and conspiracy.

The government will have to prove it has a right to the assets in a civil forfeiture proceeding under yesterday’s ruling by U.S. District Judge Ewing Werlein, the Houston Chronicle reports. Among the assets targeted is a $6 million condominium owned by Lay and his wife, Linda.

Prosecutors say Lay paid off the condo mortgage with $2.5 million in tainted funds just days after Enron went bankrupt in December 2001. They are also seeking $10 million from a partnership named after the couple.

Lay’s conviction was vacated under a legal theory called abatement, which allows a conviction to be erased if the defendant dies before completing an appeal, the Washington Post explained in a story last year.

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