HOUSTON – Federal prosecutors want former Enron Corp. CEO Jeffrey Skilling to turn over nearly $183 million for helping perpetuate one of the biggest business frauds in U.S. history – his alleged share and that of his late co-defendant, company founder Kenneth Lay.
The government had originally split that amount between the two former corporate titans, who were convicted in May of charges including fraud and conspiracy.
In late June, prosecutors asked U.S. District Judge Sim Lake to issue a money judgment ordering Skilling to pay $139.3 million, and Lay $43.5 million in proceeds the government contends they pocketed by conspiring to present an optimistic picture of Enron’s health when they knew it was an illusion propped up by cooked books.
However, Lay died July 5 of heart disease. His lawyers have since filed court papers noting their intention to ask Lake to wipe Lay’s record clean because he hadn’t yet appealed his conviction or been sentenced. That would thwart the government’s bid for a money judgment against him.
In a filing Friday, prosecutors responded to Skilling’s opposition to the pricey proposed judgment by asking Lake to require the ex-CEO to pony up the entire $182.8 million.
Prosecutors said that with his conspiracy conviction, Skilling is “liable for all the proceeds attributable to all co-conspirators, indicted or unindicted, including Lay,” because they participated in the same scheme.
Lake has yet to rule.