Houston Exec May Get 30 Years In Securities Fraud

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A white-collar crime defendant in Houston could face a prison term of 24 to 30 years tomorrow for organizing a scheme to falsify his company’s books. The New York Times says the man is Jamie Olis, 38, a former executive at Dynegy Inc., a Houston-based producer of natural gas and electricity that tried to take over a failing Enron but instead went into its own slide. Olis and two former associates were found guilty last year of trying to disguise a $300 million loan as cash flow.

Olis declined to accept a plea bargain. He committed his crime in 2001, as the federal government was adopting more stringent sentencing guidelines. The rules limited judicial discretion in financial crime cases. Penalties are tied to

the amount of money investors lost. Probation officials who wrote the sentencing recommendation estimated Dynegy’s losses at more than $100 million. “If we want corporate corruption to be today’s crack cocaine, then this is what we get,” said law Prof. Michael Goldsmith of Brigham Young University who served on the U. S. Sentencing Commission in the Clinton administration.

Under old guidelines, a securities fraud defendant linked to losses of more than $100 million could get 6 to 7 years in prison, far fewer than the 24 to 35 years under the new guidelines.

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/03/24/business/24corporate.html

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