Corporate scandals figured prominently in business news in 2005, and as the year draws to a close, here’s a status report on some of the high-profile corporate scandals still pending in court:
Enron: Enron founder Kenneth Lay, former CEO Jeffrey Skilling and former top accountant Richard Causey are scheduled to go to trial Jan. 17 on federal fraud and conspiracy charges. According to reports Sunday, Causey’s lawyers and prosecutors were negotiating a possible plea bargain. Former CFO Andrew Fastow pleaded guilty in January 2004 to two counts of conspiracy, admitting to orchestrating schemes to hide the company’s debt and inflate profits while pocketing millions of dollars. He agreed to serve the maximum 10-year sentence, which will begin in July 2006, after he testifies against his former bosses.
Fastow’s wife, Lea Fastow, completed a yearlong sentence in July on a misdemeanor tax charge for failing to report her husband’s kickbacks.
Qwest: Former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio was indicted last week on 42 counts of insider trading accusing him of illegally selling off $101 million in stock. In July, Robin Szeliga, former CFO, pleaded guilty to one criminal count of insider trading to become the highest ranking officer to admit wrongdoing in a scandal that forced the company to erase billions of dollars in revenue.