Former Enron Chief Executive Jeffrey Skilling (L) and his attorney Dan Petrocelli talk to the media outside the Bob Casey United States Court House October 23, 2006, in Houston, Texas. Skilling was sentenced to 24 years and four months in prison for his role in deceiving investors about the financial condition of his former company, Enron Corp., which ultimately collapsed into bankruptcy in the fall of 2001. The debacle ruined the retirement savings accounts of thousands of former employees.
Johnny Hanson—Getty Images
By Chris Morris
August 31, 2018

Jeffrey Skilling, the former Enron CEO who played a role in one of the biggest corporate fraud cases in history, is out of prison.

Skilling, who was originally sentenced to a 24-year term for his part in the company’s collapse (the sentence was reduced to 14 years in 2013), has left the Alabama minimum security federal prison he has called home. He has re-located to a “residential reentry management” facility, more commonly known as a halfway house, in San Antonio, Texas, according to U.S. Bureau of Prisons records.

Skilling served 11 years in prison, the longest of any Enron defendant. (Ranking second is former Enron CFO Andy Fastow, who was released after about five years in prison.)

He was originally convicted in May 2006, after a four-month trial. In 2002, Skilling was the head of America’s fifth-largest company, but an independent review found executives pocketed millions of dollars from off-the-book partnerships and inflated profits to shareholders. Employees and others were encouraged to invest in the company’s stock, meaning when Enron collapsed, billions of dollars in retirement savings (as well as the jobs) of thousands of people vanished. Skilling exchanged the executive suite for a place where he risked solitary confinement if he bought a cup of coffee.

What Skilling will do next is uncertain, but inmates of halfway houses traditionally get jobs and report to probation officers for up to three years. The facilities are meant to help prisoners reacclimate to modern society and reestablish relationships with their families.

It’s a much different world than the one Skilling left. When he first reported to prison there was no such thing as the iPad, Spotify, Kickstarter or Uber.

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