Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Cooperation proves very valuable to Andrew Fastow, who received a 6 year sentence today for his activities related to Enron. (See Houston Chronicle here) Although the judge had a 10 year limit, it is perhaps surprising to see the reduction here for such a major player in the Enron case. The Wall Street Jrl here describes the extensive cooperation provided by Fastow, including the fact that one of the victims - the University of California requested leniency for Fastow at his sentencing hearing.
Is it fair for Fastow to receive such a low sentence in large part because of this cooperation? In some respects this sends a message that if you avail yourself of your constitutional rights and request a jury trial, the risks can be enormous. (see here) And if you cooperate, you stand to gain a lot.
And is it fair to say that Jamie Olis and Andrew Fastow deserve the same sentence, or is one clearly being given an enormous benefit because of his cooperation with the government? The answer appears obvious and the message to people is - cooperate or risk a greater sentence.
But it is also important to note that the sentences being given in white collar cases have been outrageous and it is good to see a judge putting an appropriate and thoughtful perspective into the process.
With the Olis sentence now reduced, and Fastow at six years, the big question will be whether Jeff Skilling should suffer a greater sentence. And if he is given a greater sentence will this be because he decided to proceed to trial?