Contact l Sitemap

home industries issues reasearch weblog press

Home  » Issues » Corruption

USA: Enron Exec Kopper Cops a Plea

Fastow Assets Face Seizure

by Stephen PizzoDaily Enron
August 22nd, 2002

Yesterday former Enron insider Michael Kopper copped a plea. The former assistant to former Enron CFO, Andrew Fastow, jumped the first deal-express leaving the Department of Justice.

The Department of Justice had been under growing pressure, even from mainstream sources like CNN Moneyline host, Lou Dobbs, to indict someone from Enron. Dobbs has been running a corporate crime indictment "scorecard" for weeks now. Before yesterday's guilty plea Dobb's scorecard showed 18 arrests involving other corporate failures but zero for Enron.

With Kopper's cooperation in hand, federal prosecutors finally moved to seize some $23 million in cash, real estate and other assets held by Fastow, his family and a handful of close associates. Among the items prosecutors have asked the court to seize is Fastow's unfinished 12,000 square foot Houston mansion.

As part of his plea deal Kopper has agreed to turn over $12 million in gains he made during his time at Enron.

The $35 million the feds hope to recover from Fastow and Kopper will go into a restitution fund for victims. But, the money will make a negligible dent in the billions of dollars lost by shareholders and pension funds. Pension funds alone lost over $1.2 billion when Enron collapsed. And, Enron's own workers lost over $1 billion in retirement savings.

So, far no action has been taken to secure the assets of Enron 's former Chairman, Kenneth Lay or its former CEO, Jeffery Skilling.

"Technically anything purchased with ill-gotten gains belongs to the government and if someone knows about its taint, they can legally never get title to it," Kent Schaffer, a criminal defense attorney who has handled many forfeitures, told reporters yesterday.

If the forfeiture is granted - a rarity in white-collar cases when a person has not yet been charged - the court freezes the property and manages it until there is an indictment and verdict. The court oversees the distribution of the assets to the victims or a victim's recovery fund.

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.