Risk Management

Former Enron Finance Exec Avoids Prison

Cooperation with federal prosecutors and good words from friends and relatives get a former assistant treasurer at the ill-fated energy giant four ...
Stephen TaubSeptember 15, 2006

A former Enron assistant treasurer has escaped a potential prison sentence for his role in the onetime energy giant’s fraud. Timothy DeSpain, who pleaded guilty nearly two years ago to conspiracy to commit securities fraud, was sentenced to four years of probation and a $10,000 fine, according to the Associated Press.

DeSpain reportedly could have received up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He was accused of lying to credit-rating agencies in order to improve the company’s financial appearance, according to the AP.

U.S. District Judge Ewing Werlein said he was impressed by DeSpain’s level of cooperation with federal prosecutors as well as letters of support from relatives and friends, the wire service reported. “I’d like to apologize,” said DeSpain in a brief statement in court. “I’d like to go back and change everything if I could.”

No one suggests that DeSpain’s action “caused the fall of Enron,” federal prosecutor Sean Berkowitz reportedly said. “But he had the opportunity to stand up and wave his arms and say that something is wrong.”

4 Powerful Communication Strategies for Your Next Board Meeting