Target: US District Judge Simeon Lake
Goal: Condemn for shaving a decade off of former Enron CEO’s prison sentence
The 2001 Enron collapse put more than 5,000 people immediately out of work, eliminated more than $2 billion in employee pensions, and destroyed billions of dollars in Enron stock. Former CEO Jeffrey Skilling was subsequently arrested for his complicity in the illegal business deals and accounting scams that destroyed the company. In 2006, Skilling was convicted on almost 20 separate criminal counts, including conspiracy, securities fraud, and insider trading. He was sentenced to prison for 24 years. However, US District Judge Simeon Lake recently reduced Skilling’s sentence by a decade as part of a bargain between prosecutors and the defense team that will end a torrent of appeals by the convicted.
Skilling’s proven misdeeds (for which he has already been imprisoned for years) destroyed thousands of lives, livelihoods, and savings; some were even driven to suicide when Enron went under. It is highly unlikely that a common thief would successfully fight to have his sentence cut almost in half, so why should a white collar criminal who affected far more people than a simple robber be let off the hook? Surely the fact that his wealth allowed him to hire many lawyers and pursue continuous appeals should not entitle Skilling to special treatment.
In 2001, just before Enron’s stocks tanked and destroyed thousands of people’s investments, Skilling resigned his post and cashed out, netting a profit of $60 million from his own stocks. This final insult was the bookend of years of corruption and crime under Skilling’s watch. Judge Lake must know that his sentence reduction for Skilling is an injustice to the thousands who were victimized by Skilling and his co-conspirators. Please sign the petition below to denounce the judge’s actions and take a stand for the victims of the Enron debacle.
Dear Judge Simeon Lake:
You recently approved a bargain with ex-Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling that will reduce his sentence by a decade, apparently as part of a deal to end the ongoing litigation and appeals process engineered by Skilling’s team of lawyers. As you no doubt know, Skilling was convicted on 19 different criminal counts for unethical business and accounting practices.
The fact, however, is that Skilling’s actions were not just unethical; they ruined the lives and livelihoods of thousands of pensioners, Enron employees, and investors. Anything short of a life in prison for Skilling was already a travesty, but you have compounded it by reducing his sentence by almost half. We denounce your ruling and remind you of the people whom you have dishonored by your actions.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Bonita Sarita via Flickr