Ex-Enron broadband exec gets 2 years of probation
HOUSTON - The eight-year-long criminal prosecution related to failed Enron Corp.'s broadband unit came to a close Monday with the final sentencing in the case. Former Enron executive Rex Shelby was sentenced to two years of probation by a federal judge on a charge of insider trading. As part of his sentence, Shelby will have to serve three months in a halfway house and three months in home confinement. He was expected to report to a halfway house in Houston in about a week. He had been facing up to 10 years in prison. "I take full responsibility for my actions, all my decisions at Enron," Shelby told U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore before she sentenced him.As part of a plea agreement with prosecutors, Shelby is forfeiting almost $2.6 million. Gilmore also sentenced him to 230 hours of community service. Shelby was one of seven former executives indicted in 2003, all accused of scheming to exaggerate the capabilities of Enron's broadband network in order to impress analysts and inflate company stock. Although Enron was primarily an energy trader, the broadband unit was created in 1998 as another growth engine during the dot-com boom. About a day after Shelby and other Enron executives touted the broadband network to Wall Street analysts at a January 2000 conference in Houston, company shares jumped from $54 to $72. Authorities said the broadband network never made a profit or surpassed testing stages. Enron, once the nation's seventh-largest company, filed for bankruptcy protection in December 2001 after years of accounting tricks could no longer hide billions in debt or make failing ventures appear profitable. The collapse wiped out thousands of jobs, more than $60 billion in market value and more than $2 billion in pension plans.