First, Michael Kopper. Then Andrew Fastow. Now, it appears another former Enron Corp. finance executive may be facing a criminal indictment.
Ben F. Glisan Jr., the scandal-plagued energy trader’s former treasurer, was told by federal prosecutors he is under investigation for his role in Enron’s collapse. Glisan may face criminal charges for his part in the energy company’s descent into bankruptcy, according to Bloomberg, citing court papers.
Prosecutors have been trying to seize Glisan’s bank account, which they say contains $916,137 in illegally earned gains from an Enron special purpose entity called Southampton.
Glisan’s lawyers are trying to halt the court proceedings. Reportedly, they claim the ex-Enron treasurer’s “right against self-incrimination in the related criminal investigation will be burdened” if the court proceedings continue.
“Mr. Glisan has been informed by the Enron task force that he is a subject of that criminal investigation,” wrote Glisan’s lawyers in court papers made public Friday, said Bloomberg.
Southampton was the infamous off-balance-sheet vehicle through which Fastow, Kopper and four other Enron employees received payments from LJM1, another partnership set up to buy and hold Enron assets.
Glisan make out okay on his investment in Southampton. In a court filing earlier this month, Glisan reportedly sought to return about $629,000 of the $1.04 million he received from a $5,800 investment in the Southampton partnership. He also reportedly maintained his innocence.
“I consent to this payment despite my honest belief that I was an innocent owner of that money,” he said in the court filing, according to Bloomberg.
Glisan said he decided to surrender the money after he reviewed documents related to criminal charges against Fastow and Kopper, said the Bloomberg report.
About two months ago, Fastow was indicted on 78 counts, including fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy as part of an alleged scheme to artificially boost earnings and enrich himself.
In August, Kopper pled guilty to two counts of conspiracy. It is believed that Kopper may be cooperating with Federal authorities in their attempt to prosecute Fastow.
Meanwhile, the Enron task force has reportedly said it will seek a new indictment against the former Enron chief financial officer, suggesting it may add more charges.
Last month, former Enron finance executive Lawrence Lawyer pleaded guilty to failing to report as income almost $80,000 he accepted for helping transfer wind farms owned by Enron to a partnership used to hide debt, according to reports.
Coming: Stiffer Punishment for Corporate Crime
The era of fines and probation for law-breaking business executives appears to be coming to an abrupt end.
Bloomberg reports that the Justice Department is planning to seriously ratchet up punishment for convicted corporate executives. According to letters sent to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, the DOJ wants officers whose conduct causes more than $20 million in damage to their corporation to face 10 years in prison. The U.S. Sentencing Commission sets sentencing guidelines for federal judges).