|Jailed Enron Ex-CEO Seeks Release|
|Susanna Kim (@skimm)||Apr 5, 2013, 11:54 AM|
Former Enron Corp. CEO Jeffrey Skilling and his attorney are in talks with prosecutors to shorten his 24-year jail sentence for his role in the massive fraud that led to the company's collapse.
Skilling, 59, oversaw the energy and commodities trading firm before it declared bankruptcy in December 2001. He was convicted in 2006 on 19 counts of insider trading, lying to auditors, securities fraud and conspiracy.
Read more: 7 Notorious Insider Trading Scandals
The former executive has served over six years of his sentence.
(Image credit: United States Marshals Service)
Before the bankruptcy of WorldCom in 2002, Enron's bankruptcy was the largest in U.S. history.
Skilling's attorney, Daniel Petrocelli, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In 2009, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ordered that Skilling be re-sentenced, and that his sentencing guideline range should be reduced.
Earlier this week, the Justice Department issued a notice to victims of Enron's fraud, including former Enron employees and stockholders, saying that it was "considering entering into a sentencing agreement" with Skilling, as first reported by Reuters.
The notice stated that they had until April 17 to submit objections.
Sherri Saunders, 65, a former Enron employee of 24 years before she was laid off in 2001, expressed dismay at the possibility of a shortened sentence.
"I think it's disgusting," she said. "I think he should do his whole sentence. He harmed a lot of people including me and I think he should serve the full term."
Saunders lost almost $1 million in retirement savings, ultimately selling the last shares of her company stock at around 50 cents a share. Saunders continues working for a hospital in Houston while her husband, 82, is retired.
"We're just now getting to the point where we have our bills paid off," she said. "We're doing okay now, but our retirement fund is very, very low."
Saunders said she will "probably never retire."
"I have a lot of friends in the same boat. A lot of us lost that jobs that day," she said referring to Enron's collapse.
A spokesman for the Justice Department told ABC News, "The department's goal is, and has always been, to ensure that Mr. Skilling be appropriately punished for his crimes, and that victims finally receive the restitution they deserve."
Skilling is being held at a prison in Littleton, Colo.
Johnnie Nelson, a former Enron pipeline worker from Bloomfield, N.M., lost over $300,000 in retirement savings in Enron stock. He said he's not surprised at the possibility of early release, but he would be disappointed if it happens.
"He will get out and resume his wealthy lifestyle. That's not fair to everyone that lost everything because of him and [Andrew] Fastow," he said of Enron's former chief financial officer.
Nelson said he received two reimbursement checks from the Enron scandal totaling less than $10,000. His wife of 25 years died around the time of the Enron scandal. He said he has been living in his RV for the last six years.
"They send him to a country club with a fence around it and call it jail. That's bulls***," Nelson, 52, said.