Enron's Jeff Skilling Gets 10 Year Sentence Cut

A federal judge in Houston today reduced former Enron executive Jeff Skilling's sentence to 14 years. He was initially sentenced to 24 years. He was serving the sentence at the low security FCI in Englewood, CO.

Here is the sentencing agreement filed by the parties in May, and background about it.

Bloomberg News has more here. The Washington Post reports Skilling declined to make any statements in court today. He's been in prison since 2006. He could be out as early as 2017.

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    I helped get a client's sentence cut (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Peter G on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:16:25 PM EST
    earlier this week from 23 yrs to 15 yrs in a $58M+ internet consumer fraud (over 250,000 victims).  Kind of unbelievable that this seemed like a great victory to him and to me; enough of a difference that he can imagine a future for himself again. Amazing the sentences that are imposed in federal court in nonviolent crime cases. I don't think the public realizes.

    I'm afraid... (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:28:25 PM EST
    the public does realize, and the public doesn't care.  Our love affair with chains and cages knows no bounds.

    With what we've seen come to light from 2007 on in the corporate and finance rackets, it makes the Enron boys look like rank amatuers.  And nary a meaningful major prosecution to be found, a meaningful investigation even.


    That's because they didn't break the law. (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 02:50:28 AM EST
    "If you're first out the door, that's not called panicking."
    - John Tuld (Jeremy Irons), Margin Call (2011)

    And THAT'S the real scandal on Wall Street, friend -- why wasn't what they did illegal? Because it sure used to be, before they got their friends in D.C. to change the rules on their behalf, all the while telling us it was in our best interests and for our own good.



    Not really a correction........ (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by NYShooter on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 11:55:15 AM EST
    This dispute, "Did they, (The Banksters, )  or, didn't they, actually break the law?  I read a lot of financial documents, and follow business issues pretty closely. Some of the finest minds in business, and banking, say, "while the spirit of the banking laws were definitely violated, the Banks managed to stay an inch within the actual law." (Now, here comes the "but.") But, I have also read opinions by other "geniuses," Nobel Prize Winners, even, who say the bankers are criminals and, it's not even close.

    Now, the reason I said, above, that my comments are not really corrections is because it just doesn't matter. Crime, or no crime, nobody in Congress, the Justice Dept.  or the White House,  is going to do anything about it.

    Just last month The FBI released an affidavit stating that the Los Zetas (drug) cartel has been laundering money into the U.S. through accounts with Bank of America.

    And, who can forget the "Sellout,", oops, I mean, settlement that our brave Assistant Attorney General, Lanny Breuer made with HSBC. Going before the bright lights of the TV cameras this Noble Public Servant bragged about how he extracted a RECORD FINE from HSBC in return for looking the other way as B.B.B.BILLIONS of Blood Soaked Drug Money soaked through the Bank's veins.

    As reported in Rolling Stones by Matt Taibbi:

    "Breuer this week signed off on a settlement deal with the British banking giant HSBC that is the ultimate insult to every ordinary person who's ever had his life altered by a narcotics charge. Despite the fact that HSBC admitted to laundering billions of dollars for Colombian and Mexican drug cartels (among others) and violating a host of important banking laws (from the Bank Secrecy Act to the Trading With the Enemy Act), Breuer and his Justice Department elected not to pursue criminal prosecutions of the bank, opting instead for a "record" financial settlement of $1.9 billion, which as one analyst noted is about five weeks of income for the bank."

    See what I mean about, "it just doesn't matter."
    We're all realists here. We understand that, sometimes, things have to be done for expediency's sake, things we'd rather not do. But, being realistic does not have to mean "being played for suckers." If I hear one more Justice Department spokesman, or one more banking Regulator say, " you know, these types of crimes are really hard to prosecute............."

    Didn't that "boy/man" who was given the White House once tell us, "Preidenting is really hard, hard, really, really, hard."


    Speaking as someone who was ... (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 06:27:40 PM EST
    ... one of the victims of Enron's fraudulent behavior, I can live with this reduction in sentence for Mr. Skilling -- provided that he's expressly prohibited from ever again participating in the financial securities business in his lifetime, as one of the conditions for his early release.

    Skilling caused a lot of unnecessary grief for a lot of people with his greed. Let him instead tend bar, lay bricks or clean houses for a living, and experience for himself how the majority of working people cope.



    $58"M" as in "Millions?" (none / 0) (#3)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:33:59 PM EST
    250,000+ victims?

    Sure "only" $232/victim, but still, he stole $58,000,000+ from 250K+ victims.

    Not the best case to support your conclusion imo.


    I disagree. The case fully supports (4.67 / 3) (#6)
    by Peter G on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:46:36 PM EST
    my conclusion.  Yes, he stole, let's say, an average of about $250 from hundreds of thousands of consumer fraud victims, $39.95 at a time, month after month, for a few years, totalling about $58 million.  Society is done absolutely no good by that 15 year sentence, at $25,000 - $40,000/yr (depending on security level and his medical needs), that could not be accomplished equally effectively -- whether you are looking at deterrence, or denunciation, or reparation, or incapacitation -- with a prison sentence of five years or less, along with fines and restitution designed to put him back behind where he started, and to compensate victims to the extent possible. All at much less cost to society.

    5 years. Yes, indeed, we disagree. (none / 0) (#8)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:50:49 PM EST
    "non-violent" does not equate with (none / 0) (#30)
    by observed on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 07:56:59 PM EST
    no harm, up to and including suffering and death. I don't know the details of your case, but if someone takes the life savings from several thousand retired people (which I think could fairly describe the Madoff and Enron cases), that will likely  lead to suffering and premature death for some of them. Suppose, for instance, that in cheating 10,000 elderly couples of their savings, this causes 100 people to die early, by an average of 1 year each, leaving one with a criminal who has robbed 100 years of life from his victims.
    This is a made-up calculation, of course, but I'm sure something of this nature is true.  
    Just because a crime is not viscerally awful does not mean the crime cannot cause great suffering and even death.

    I Totally Agree... (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 11:19:12 AM EST
    ...given the choice, I think I would rather take a bullet to the leg then to wake-up tomorrow with no retirement fund.

    It's practically forced labor when people are forced to remain/reenter the work force because they have been bamboozled out of their life savings.

    It's one thing to rip people off for little amounts, it's quite another when that is their life savings.  Even fools who went all in on Enron didn't deserve to walk away with close to nothing.

    Suffering is suffering and just because they didn't actually assault people doesn't mean their victims are suffering any less.

    I also believe that that white collar criminals are far more responsive to prison being a deterrent.

    I am not a law and order type at all, but I think people who are non-violent, yet cause a lot of suffering should be equated to the violent criminal sentencing bracket.

    Which means Skilling doesn't get a reduction, whereas Peter's $40/month guy does.


    I must disagree. People who steal money, even (5.00 / 5) (#10)
    by caseyOR on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 04:35:58 PM EST
    on a large scale, are not in any way

    just as dangerous as murders and violent offenders.

    Taking someone's money, while wrong and deplorable and deserving of punishment, is not even in the same ballpark as taking someone's life or raping someone or beating someone within an inch of their life or any other violent crime.

    A little perspective, please.

    Well, (none / 0) (#11)
    by bocajeff on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 04:39:28 PM EST
    What is a good sentence for stealing $58 million? Is there supposed to be some sort of deterrent? Not necessarily prison, but something?

    You can't avoid some amount of jail time (5.00 / 3) (#13)
    by caseyOR on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 04:49:38 PM EST
    when that amount of money is involved, but what good is served by an overly long sentence? Better, IMO, to impose a sentence up to maybe 5 years, depending on the offense. Strip the offender of all assets. Use those assets and some amount of post incarceration earnings to make some restitution to the victims.

    And then there are other add-ons. I would certainly in Skilling's case, ban him from holding any corporate executive office. Ban him from working in energy sales and distribution. Things like that.


    Yup, and there's the rub (none / 0) (#31)
    by NYShooter on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 10:33:44 PM EST
    A man (or woman) steals money, and, I think most people understand that for a functioning society some form of "rent" should be extracted from the perpetrator. But, why do we equate loss of money with loss of freedom aka incarceration? Who decided on this formula? Where's the equilibrium? being placed in a cage for one year is equivalent to........what? $1000? $10?

    And, just how blind is justice? If the perpetrator is poor his forced cage occupation is 25 years. If the thief is a millionaire the only person suffering any punishment is the rich dude's lawyer's secretary. Carpal tunnel syndrome has been known to afflict those charged with the duty of billing thousands of hours @400/hour so that the lawyer can go through the pretext of equal justice under the law. But, not to make light of this legal drama. Millionaires have been known to suffer anxiety, and, sometimes, bogey the 9th at the Old Course at St. Andrews.

    Basically, something akin to a Constitutional Convention should be convened, and, charged with the duty of Comprehensive Penal/Justice reform. Decriminalizing Pot would be a good place to start.


    Speaking for myself only (none / 0) (#32)
    by Peter G on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 10:51:49 PM EST
    billing thousands of hours @400/hour so that the lawyer can go through the pretext of equal justice under the law.

    I wish.

    How about Skilling serve the balance of ... (none / 0) (#26)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 03:27:39 AM EST
    ... his sentence on home detention with an electronic ankle bracelet to monitor his whereabouts 24 / 7 / 365, a freezer that's to be perpetually stocked full of nothing but recently discovered caches of Swanson's Salisbury Steak frozen TV dinners from the early 1970s, a 56" wide-screen HDTV w/o any access to cable or satellite, and a DVD player with only five complete box sets of the following: "Rick Steve's Europe," "Linda Blair's Women in Prison Triple Pack," "Showtime's Queer as Folk," "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "Rocky I / II / III / IV / V / Balboa"?

    I'm just trying to be helpful. :-P


    Hey! (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by jbindc on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 07:25:15 AM EST
    I like Rick Steves!  

    Don't be sorry (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by Peter G on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 04:40:48 PM EST
    You are entitled to your opinion.  That's what the judge thought, too, obviously.  I just disagree for the reasons I tried to carefully present in my prior comments.  Violent offenders may require incapacitation for a longer period (not most murderers, but that's another story).  On what basis you say someone like my client is "just as dangerous," I don't really understand.  The "danger" is qualitatively different.

    dangerous in the sense (1.00 / 2) (#14)
    by nyjets on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 05:21:22 PM EST
    Dangerous in the sense of the harm they have done to other people. Robing someone of their money, essentially destroying them is just as bad as what violent offenders do. THe only difference is that people like your client hurt a lot more people at one time.
     Whether they use a gun or  computer, they are still dangerous. They both have a capacity to destroy lives.
    (and murders should be in jail for long sentence for the simple fact that a murder can NEVER make full restitution for their crimes.)

    Get real (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by Peter G on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 05:27:16 PM EST
    Who's "life" is "destroyed" by the frustrating and unfair experience of being tricked into having $39.95 put on their credit card or phone bill each month, for a total (average) of $250 before it was discovered and stopped?

    Seriously... (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 05:53:37 PM EST
    If that's all it took, the world would solely be inhabited by handful of bankers & traders standing on the rubble of our total destruction, with nobody left to rip off.

    If we wanna talk destruction, lets talk about the destruction that is an almost exclusive reliance on chains and cages to deal with crime.  It's obviously not working so well as a deterrent nor as a rehabilitator...it's all about revenge.



    Whose life (none / 0) (#22)
    by Peter G on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 09:23:51 PM EST
    not "who's life."  Can't believe I missed that before posting!

    Happens to us all, Peter. (none / 0) (#23)
    by caseyOR on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 09:27:17 PM EST
    Happens to us all.

    Just a bit hysterical (5.00 / 3) (#21)
    by Chuck0 on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:45:49 PM EST
    Aren't we? People like you are why this country has the highest incarceration rates in the world. Zero common sense, lawn order hysterics and the inability to prioritize don't make for an intelligent administration of justice policy.

    nyjets comments are (none / 0) (#24)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:32:30 AM EST
    offensive and don't belong on this site. I've deleted several as being unacceptable for association with this blog.

    Peter, Congrats on the reduction.

    People can disagree as to whether non-violent offenders should receive prison sentences or some alternative form of punishment, but to make absurd, hyperoblic claims as some of NYJets comments did are an embarrassment to read and denigrate the purposes of this site. If NYJets really feels that way, s/he should find a site that is compatible with such views.


    i was not trying to be offensive (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by nyjets on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 07:54:22 AM EST
    I was  not trying to be offensive and I am sorry if it seemed that i was.

    Thank You (none / 0) (#4)
    by AnitaHThompson on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:44:43 PM EST
    Hi Jerri,

    Thank you for the mac desktop and keyboard! They work!  You're the best.

    Love you,

    Don't tell me (none / 0) (#7)
    by fishcamp on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:48:14 PM EST
    you gave away your new iMac...

    Congratulations Peter... (none / 0) (#5)
    by fishcamp on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:45:38 PM EST
    If it weren't for good defense lawyers like you and Jeralyn we would have even more people in prison for longer sentences.

    Thank you (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by Peter G on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 05:52:12 PM EST
    Although it is a bit like bailing out a sinking ship, one teaspoonful at a time.