Risk & Compliance

Guilty Plea for Another Ex-Enron Exec

Former assistant treasurer Timothy Despain admitted that he and his superiors engaged in conduct intended to fraudulently manipulate the energy com...
Stephen TaubOctober 7, 2004

Timothy Despain, a former assistant treasurer for Enron Corp., pleaded guilty on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Houston to conspiracy to commit securities fraud.

He admitted that from 1999 through the fall of 2001, he and his superiors falsely represented to credit-rating agencies that Enron’s cash flows from its non-regulated businesses were stable and predictable, according to a press release issued by the Department of Justice.

Despain, who worked at Enron from January 1999 to May 2002, said that during the time in question he was supervised directly by the people who served as Enron’s treasurers, including Ben Glisan Jr. In September 2003, Glisan pleaded guilty to conspiracy; he is now serving a five-year prison sentence.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, Despain could be sentenced to as much as five years in prison and a fine of $250,000, but Bloomberg reported that prosecutors have agreed to recommend a reduced sentence in exchange for his cooperation in cases against other executives. Reportedly, that agreement promised no further criminal charges for Despain’s “disclosed participation in criminal activity in which he engaged in his capacity as an officer or employee of Enron and Halliburton,” Despain’s subsequent employer.

Andrew Weissmann, the head of the Enron task force, offered no comment to Bloomberg regarding Despain’s activities at Halliburton Co. or on whether that company is a part of the investigation. Halliburton spokeswoman Wendy Hall denied that the company is being investigated over Despain’s work, according to the wire service, and added that he is no longer employed by Halliburton.

So far, 33 individuals have been charged in connection with the work of the Enron Task Force, including 24 former Enron executives. Despain is the 16th to be convicted.