After former Enron ENRNQ.PK Treasurer Ben Glisan, 37, pleaded guilty in a Houston federal court on Wednesday, U.S. Justice Department prosecutors noted how their victory was also that of plaintiffs suing the company for shareholder fraud.
“This now makes their case a virtual slam-dunk,” Enron Task Force prosecutor Weissmann told reporters after Glisan’s plea hearing.
In his plea agreement, Glisan admitted that he and others “engaged in a conspiracy to manipulate artificially Enron’s financial statements” in a secretive transaction called Talon, designed to hide debt. Glisan, who is not cooperating with prosecutors, immediately began serving a five-year prison term.
The admission can stand as evidence in a civil court that Glisan, and Enron, engaged in fraud, freeing plaintiffs from having to prove that allegation.
Companies as entities act through their highest officers, so when a top executive such as a treasurer admits to engaging in criminal fraud it implicates the company, Getnick said.
Enron and its top insiders have been sued by thousands of plaintiffs who accuse them of engaging in shareholder fr