Former Enron Corp. vice president Christopher Calger has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, according to the Department of Justice.
As part of his plea, Calger has agreed to cooperate with the Enron Task Force’s ongoing criminal investigation of the energy giant’s collapse. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000, according to the Houston Chronicle.
The newspaper added, however, that he likely will not be sentenced until after the trial of former Enron chairman Kenneth Lay, former chief executive officer Jeffrey Skilling, and former chief accounting officer Richard Causey. That trial is scheduled to begin in January.
Calger, as a vice president in charge of the West Power Origination group of Enron North America, had supervised employees who negotiated the sale of a project known as Coyote Springs II to a subsidiary of Avista Corp. Coyote Springs II consisted of an equity interest in a power plant, a construction contract to build the plant, and a turbine to be placed in the plant. Calger admitted that he and others engaged in a scheme to recognize earnings “prematurely and improperly,” according to the DoJ’s announcement.
The plea deal comes as a Houston jury considers the federal conspiracy and fraud case involving five former executives of Enron’s defunct broadband unit, reported the Associated Press. That trial has been considered “a harbinger of what’s going to happen the Lay, Causey, Skilling trial.”
The five individuals were accused of engaging in two schemes to boost the value of Enron’s stock by overstating the successes of the broadband unit to analysts and investors, according to the AP. Jurors were not scheduled to deliberate on Friday, but are expected to reconvene on Monday, the wire service added.
According to the Justice Department, a total of 34 individuals have been charged in connection with the work of the Enron Task Force, including 25 former executives of the company; 16 defendants have been convicted so far.