Ex-Enron CEO Jeff Skilling Gets 24 Years

Barring appeal, Jeff Skilling will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars. [Update: Well, maybe not. He’s a month shy of 53 now, so he’d be 77 at the end of a full sentence.]

Jeffrey Skilling was sentenced to 24 years in prison Monday for his role in the fraud at Enron that brought down the nation’s seventh-largest company and came to stand as a symbol for an era of corporate fraud in America. Judge Sim Lake announced the sentence in a packed courtroom in the federal courthouse in Houston.

Skilling was convicted in May on 19 counts of fraud, insider trading and conspiracy while chief executive at Enron. More than 4,000 Enron employees lost their jobs – and many their life savings – when the company declared bankruptcy in December 2001. Investors lost billions.

While that’s more than most murderers get if they haven’t been convicted of previous crimes, it’s arguable that Skilling and company did more damage to society.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. BC says:

    It’s interesting to contrast Skilling’s sentence with that given to Lynn Stewart, and muse on what this says about us as a society.

  2. Steven Plunk says:

    BC and James Joyner’s points are very true. No doubt he committed a crime but 24 years? It’s not right.

    Many of those investors were looking to get rich quick and knew the risks. The trustees of the 401k were the ones responsible for allowing so much of the pension money to be in Enron stock. The jobs that were lost are a shame but everyone runs that risk, look at the auto workers being laid off.

    This sentence isn’t about rehabilitation or deterrents, it’s about being overwhelmed by the size of the debacle. Judges should know better.

  3. Patrick McGuire says:

    He should have claimed he was too emotionally attached to his job. They would have given him 24 months.

  4. Anderson says:

    Cry me a river.