Risk Management

Two More Enron Officials Sent to Prison

Testimony that helped convict Lay and Skilling cited as reason for reduced prison term.
Stephen TaubNovember 17, 2006

Two more former Enron Corp. executives, including a key assistant to former chief financial officer Andrew Fastow, were sentenced on Friday for their roles in the 2001 collapse of the onetime energy giant. However, they each received much lighter sentences than the maximum allowed.

Michael Kopper, the former director of global finance who has been called Fastow’s right-hand man, received 37 months in prison for fraud and money-laundering, according to Reuters. Mark Koenig, former head of investor relations at Enron, received 18 months in prison.

Prosecutors urged U.S. District Judge Ewing Werlein Jr. to give the two men reduced sentences because their cooperation helped to convict Enron founder Kenneth Lay and former chief executive Jeffrey Skilling. In August 2002, Kopper became the first former Enron official to plead guilty, according to Reuters. He could have received 15 years in prison.

Kopper is also credited with helping the government indict several other former Enron finance executives, including Ben Glisan Jr. and Dan Boyle. Under his plea deal, Kopper, who reportedly helped Fastow create the now-infamous off-the-books partnerships, agreed to forfeit $12 million made in three of those partnerships, according to The Houston Chronicle.

Koenig pleaded guilty in August 2004 to aiding and abetting securities fraud, and faced as much as 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine. He joined Enron in 1985 as a corporate treasurer. In 1992, he was transferred to the investor-relations department, eventually rising to director, according to the Chronicle.

According to an earlier article in the Chronicle, Koenig’s colleagues sometimes called him vice president in charge of stock price, referring to his role in delivering financial news to Wall Street. He was described by analysts and former co-workers as frequently stressed and “always in a state of worry and high anxiety,” according to the paper. “His sense of humor was usually pretty cutting and dark,” a former co-worker told the paper several years ago. “He was also one of these guys always rubbing his forehead and his eyes.”

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