Jeffrey Skilling released after 12 years in prison for role in Enron scandal

Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling leaves the federal courthouse Friday, June 21, 2013, in Houston after being resentenced for his role in the energy giants' collapse. Skilling was resentenced to 14 years as part of a court-ordered reduction and a separate agreement with prosecutors. He was released in February 2019.
Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling leaves the federal courthouse Friday, June 21, 2013, in Houston after being resentenced for his role in the energy giants' collapse. Skilling was resentenced to 14 years as part of a court-ordered reduction and a separate agreement with prosecutors. He was released in February 2019.

Jeffrey K. Skilling, the former Enron CEO who spent the past 12 years in prison for his role in masterminding one of most notorious corporate fraud cases in history, was released from federal custody on Thursday, the Bureau of Prisons said.

In August, Skilling was released to a halfway house at an undisclosed location from a minimum security federal prison camp in Alabama.

Enron’s collapse cost investors billions of dollars and wiped out the retirement savings and  jobs of thousands of employees. Skilling, 65, was convicted of 12 counts of securities fraud, five counts of making false statements to auditors, one count of insider trading and one count of conspiracy in 2006 for his role in hiding debt and orchestrating a web of financial fraud that ended in the Houston company’s bankruptcy.

He was sentenced to 24 years in prison and fined $45 million, the harshest sentence of any former Enron executive. Six years ago, Skilling’s sentence was reduced to 14 years by U.S. District Judge Sim Lake.

Skilling’s lawyer could not be reached for comment.

Enron chairman Kenneth Lay went on trial at the same time as Skilling and was found guilty of wire fraud, securities fraud, bank fraud and making false statements to banks. But Lay, who founded Enron in 1985 by merging two natural gas pipeline companies, was never sentenced because he died of an apparent heart attack while free on bond.

This article first appeared on the Houston Chronicle – an Energy Voice content partner. For more from the Houston Chronicle click here.

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