Thursday, May 25, 2006
A jury in Houston found Former Enron Corp. CEOs Kenneth L. Lay and Jeffrey K. Skilling guilty of 6 kinds of white-collar crime on May 25. Lay was convicted of all ten counts against him, while Skilling was convicted of only nineteen of the charged twenty-eight counts. The variety of charges on which both men were convicted was astonishing; conspiracy, wire fraud, false statements to banks and auditors, and others. Both men now face many years in prison.
Outside the courtroom, Skilling continued to proclaim his innocence. “Obviously, I’m disappointed, but that’s the way the system works,” Skilling said after the verdict. He is expected to appeal. Lay did not immediately speak to reporters outside the courtroom.
The verdict was reached on the sixth day of deliberations after a four-month-long trial and brings to a close the first of the wave of accounting scandals earlier in the decade. The verdict also represents another major victory for the government, which has successfully prosecuted a number of high-profile executives involved in accounting scandals, as well as obtained sixteen guilty pleas from former Enron executives.
Sentencing has been set for September 11, 2006. U.S. District Judge Sim Lake ordered Lay to post a $5 million bond and surrender his passport before leaving the courtroom.