Former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling was sentenced to 24 years in prison for his part in the Enron scandel. The Scandel has become a symbol of corporate
fraud in America. Skilling, who also faces more than $18 million in fines for his crimes, continues to insist he is innocent of all charges. While
some feel betrayed by Skilling and Enron management, others chose not to vilify him.
U.S. District Judge Sim Lake ordered Skilling, 52, to home confinement, wearing an ankle monitor, and told the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to recommend
when Skilling should report to prison. Lake recommended no date, but suggested Skilling be sent to the federal facility in Butler, N.C.
“Mr. Skilling has proven to be a liar, a thief and a drunk, flaunting an attitude above the law,” said 22-year Enron employee Dawn Powers Martin.
“He has betrayed everyone who has trusted him. Shame on me for believing the management of Enron.”
“I can’t state strongly enough, during 20 years, have I seen or heard anything that he was leading a massive conspiracy to mislead Enron
shareholders and employees,” said one of them, Sherri Sera, a former administrative assistant. She said she too had lost thousands in Enron stock
and benefits but took blame for her own failure to diversify.
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So what's my take on all this? Symbolically it's quite powerful. Many people feel that large corporations are untouchable and financial gorillas
such as Skilling are above the law. The average citizen can now rest easy knowing the big fish get caught too.
Victims of the scandal are also resting easy after Skilling was handed his sentence. The majority of them feel betrayed by a company they worked
very hard for. I can hardly blame them for that. Skilling's own great wealth protected him from the bankruptcy, while employees of more ordinary
wealth were not so lucky. We claim to a country of morality right? Where is the morality in an individual using our great country to attain
ultra-wealth, while turning his back on the people who helped him build his empire?
Still, some scandal victims place the blame on themselves for failing to diversify their assets. This is known as taking responsibility, another
concept (like morality) which seems to be at an all time low in today's world. I think ordinary folks and CEOs learned a valuable lesson today!
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