Risk & Compliance

Probation for Former Enron Finance Exec

Larry Lawyer, who helped transfer wind farms owned by Enron to a partnership used to hide debt, failed to report about $79,000 in income.
Stephen TaubJune 26, 2006

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A former Enron finance employee, regarded as a bit player in the company’s massive fraud, was sentenced to two years’ probation for filing false income tax returns, according to the Houston Chronicle.

In November 2002, Larry Lawyer pleaded guilty to failure to report $79,469 he received over four years from Michael Kopper, once the managing director of Enron Global Finance and a close aide to former chief financial officer Andrew Fastow. Lawyer received the payments, reported the Chronicle, for helping transfer wind farms owned by Enron to a partnership used to hide debt.

Lawyer, who agreed to cooperate with the government’s investigation, faced up to three years in prison and a fine of as much as $250,000. U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth Hoyt did not impose a fine, however, noting that Lawyer donated the money in question to a fund for the benefit of former Enron employees. The judge also reportedly observed that the case may not have even made it to the courtroom if not for the “storm” caused by the Enron scandal.

The Chronicle reported that just before he was sentenced, Lawyer said in a soft, barely audible voice, “I’m so sorry.” The paper added that prosecutors raised no objection to the sentence, noting that Lawyer admitted his actions and donated the questionable income.

Lawyer is the first of 14 former Enron employees scheduled to be sentenced before year-end, according to the Chronicle. Kopper is slated to be sentenced in September, while Fastow agreed to serve 10 years in prison when he pleaded guilty. Former top executives Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling are scheduled to be sentenced on October 23.

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