Former Enron executives Lea and Andrew Fastow will plead guilty to criminal charges today in the massive fraud at the energy trading giant, reports the Houston Chronicle. The paper says the pleas will end a week of drama after the couple’s agreement with prosecutors seemed secure, then foundered.
Andrew Fastow, former chief financial officer, is likely to plead guilty in return for a 10-year prison term. His cooperation with prosecutors could start other dominoes falling — and either clear or implicate ex-Enron CEO Jeff Skilling and Chairman Ken Lay. Fastow’s wife, Lea, a former assistant treasurer, will also plead guilty.
“It is no surprise. It was inevitable the deals would go through because they are too good to pass up for the Fastows and too valuable to the government,” said Philip Hilder, a former prosecutor who represents witnesses in the Enron cases.
Andrew Fastow faces nearly 100 charges of fraud, money laundering and tax violations. He is accused of enriching himself in side deals at the expense of the company and its shareholders. His wife faces six charges, four of them for filing false tax returns. Andrew Fastow’s cooperation is expected to prompt the arrest of Rick Causey, the former Enron chief accounting officer. Fastow is also likely to provide information to prosecutors about Skilling and Lay, who have repeatedly proclaimed innocence.