Risk Management

Olis Sentence Cut to Six Years

Dynegy tax executive skirts 24-year sentence because appeals court says lower court had miscalculated the amount of money investors may have lost.
Stephen TaubSeptember 25, 2006

The former Dynegy Inc. tax executive Jamie Olis’ sentence was re-sentenced Friday to six years in prison, down from the initial 24 years, according to Bloomberg.

The original sentence was tossed out by a Federal appeals court, which ruled that Judge Sim Lake — who also presided over the trial of Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling — had miscalculated the amount of money investors were assumed to have lost because of the deal in which Olis was involved.

In June 2003, Olis and his former boss, Gene Shannon Foster, and a former Dynegy accountant, Helen Christine Sharkey, were charged with improperly inflating the company’s cash flow through a sham natural-gas transaction. Foster and Sharkey each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy that August, but Olis decided to take his chances at trial — and wound up with the 24-year sentence.

Bloomberg pointed out that Lake — who sentenced Olis both times — agreed with Olis’s lawyer, David Gerger, that his client didn’t deserve the same sentence as those of top executives who engaged in major frauds that led to bankruptcy because Olis did not profit from his crimes or destroy the company.

When Olis was initially sentenced — the longest for a while-collar crime at the time — he had an infant daughter. Under that sentence, he wouldn’t have seen his daughter outside of prison until she was a young woman well past college age.

“I take no pleasure in sentencing you to 292 months,” Lake reportedly said when he initially sentenced Olis. “Sometimes good people commit bad acts, and that’s what happened in this case.”