Corporate Justice

"As the many victims have so eloquently testified, his crimes have imposed on hundreds, if not thousands, a life sentence of poverty," said U.S. District Court Judge Simeon Lake III in October as he condemned former Enron Chief Executive Jeffrey Skilling, 53, to 24 years in prison and ordered the unrepentant ex-boss to pay $45 million to Enron shareholders. Skilling, convicted months earlier on 19 of 28 counts of conspiracy, fraud, lying to auditors, and insider trading, plans to appeal his guilty verdict.

Skilling's legal fees so far have come to an astonishing $70 million. Attorney Daniel Petrocelli tried to get the judge to award him the $30 million still owed from Skilling's estate. He got about half that. Lake also voided the conviction against Kenneth Lay, the former Enron chairman, who died of a heart attack in July. The main witness in the case against both Skilling and Lay, former Chief Financial Officer Andrew Fastow, who is turning 45, will spend six years in prison. He's trying to help shareholders get some money from the bankers he says helped him perpetrate the fraud.

In another case, Sanjay Kumar, the 44-year-old former head of software maker Computer Associates International, pleaded guilty to charges of securities fraud and obstruction of justice in a $2.2 billion accounting scam. He expressed remorse. In November he was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Ex-WorldCom chief Bernard Ebbers, 65, began serving his 25-year sentence in September at a federal prison in Louisiana. His chief financial officer, Scott Sullivan, cut a deal with prosecutors and is serving a five-year term.

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