Jeffrey Skilling, the convicted former Enron Corp. chief executive officer, may get out of prison in as little as four years if a judge approves a deal with prosecutors that would allow the payment of more than $40 million to victims of one of the biggest corporate frauds in U.S. history.
In exchange for cutting as many as 10 years from his 24-year sentence, Skilling will drop continued litigation over his conviction, in which a jury found he spearheaded a fraud of as much as $40 billion that in 2001 destroyed the world’s largest energy trader.
“The proposed agreement will bring certain finality to a long painful process, although the recommended sentence for Jeff would still be more than double that of any other Enron defendant, all of whom have long been out of prison,” his lawyer, Daniel Petrocelli, said. “Jeff will at least get the chance to get back a meaningful part of his life.”
Skilling, 59, has served more than six years of his 2006 sentence for fraud, conspiracy and insider trading. A 2011 appellate ruling effectively lopped nine years off his sentence, according to court records. Under the proposed agreement, Skilling could be released in 2017 or early 2018.