5 Reasons why YOU should speak out against Jeffrey Skilling’s early jail release.
1) The con worked.
He is going to buy his way out of jail with the money he stole that put him there. His idea of hypothetical future value positioned him to sell $60 million in stocks when he suddenly resigned right before Enron’s collapse. When convicted, his court fines totaled $45 million. Simple math, right?
2) He victimized tens of thousands of people.
Whether they lost their job, entire life savings, or took their own lives – these things have no potential for monetary restitution. Enron employees and retirees lost $2.2 BILLION in pension and retirement funds. This amount does not include shareholders loses. Skilling personally recommended employees invest EVERYTHING they had in Enron stock and people did just that. When the Enron executives saw that the end was near, they froze employee’s stock accounts to keep the price high while they cashed in $116 MILLION of their own stock; leaving employees with a worthless investment and no way to recover. (Gibney, 2005).
3) He hasn’t accepted responsibility for his crimes.
Although found guilty in 19 criminal courts and sentenced to 24 years, Skilling still claims he is innocent. If he is released from prison now, he will be walking away from 75% of his prison sentence. His argument is that his actions were only for the best of Enron and never for “personal gain.” He has been quoted as saying, “Money is the only thing that motivates people.” Considering the amount of money he made from his involvement in the Enron fraud, it is clear that his motivation was personal monetary gain.
4) Lesson to be learned: Fraud is acceptable.
His early release would set the precedent for how fraudsters are prosecuted. It could tempt C-level Executives and their boards, auditors, lawyers, and bankers to work in collusion to cheat the system. Skilling helped coin the idea that the “tone at the top” sets the tone of the company, much in the same way the decision of this case would set the standard for fraud acceptance. Corporate and personal greed is as much alive today as it was in the early 2000’s, and even new Sarbanes-Oxley standards do not protect against collusion. The essence of his argument is that he isn’t responsible for the fraud because he wasn’t aware of it. Our question is- If the person signing the SEC documents which shareholders based investing decisions on isn’t responsible for the data, who is?
5) Government accountability is for sale.
An allegation has been raised that talks of an early release are due to the government’s attempting to avoid a court battle and public disclosure of the Enron task forces’ actions. It would be poor judgment to let a criminal go free to avoid negative press at the governmental-level. Taxpayers paid for the Enron task force and the associated trials. If lessons can be learned from mistakes made, let them become known. Hiding them behind Skilling’s release would be perpetrating the same crime he committed – omission of the truth to cover-up improper behavior.
Companies of all kinds and sizes have struggled over the last decade to comply with government regulations like Sarbanes-Oxley that were born out of the Enron scandal. Why should these companies continue to adhere to these requirements if one of the people responsible for their existence is exonerated? Could a change in Judge Lake’s original sentence garner him personal liability since his judgment helped shape the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation? These requirements have forced public companies to spend hundreds of millions in compliance costs and (according to some) are responsible for the fall-off of IPOs on the US exchanges. Remember, Skillings financial destruction didn’t end with him going to jail – it was just the beginning.
In closing, a question for YOU, the American People:
Why is there not more of a movement against this early release? Is the topic too overwhelming? Are people okay with putting big money up and the little man down? Has the Justice Department successfully slid this case under the radar? Have people already forgotten the pain and loss caused by Jeffrey Skilling?
We ask YOU, to do your part and utilize your democratic voice by signing our petition. It will be sent directly to the presiding Judge Simeon Lake, who originally sentenced Jeff Skilling and has the final say on the matter.
Once your sign it – please share it with everyone you know and ask them to do the same.
We write our history, and if we cannot change the mind of Judge Lake, at least this piece of history will be written in our voice. Help send the message that there is no public forgiveness of Jeffrey Skilling’s actions, and that his lack of accountability is not accepted by the people.
Please visit www.KeepSkillingInJail.com for more information, or click below to sign our petition: