- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 25, 2006

12:34 p.m.

HOUSTON (AP) — Former Enron Corp. chiefs Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling were convicted today of conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud in a case born from one of the biggest business scandals in U.S. history.

The verdict put the blame for the demise of what was once the nation’s seventh-largest company squarely on its top two executives. It came in the sixth day of deliberations after a trial that lasted nearly four months.

Lay was also convicted of bank fraud and making false statements to banks in a separate trial related to his personal banking.

The former corporate titans are now convicted felons facing years in prison, as the panel found them guilty of running an elaborate fraud that gave the nation’s onetime seventh-largest company a glamorous illusion of success.

Jurors declared through their verdict that both men repeatedly lied to cover a vast web of unsustainable accounting tricks and failing ventures that shoved Enron into bankruptcy protection in December 2001.

The conviction was a major win for the government, serving almost as a bookend in an era that has seen prosecutors win convictions against executives from WorldCom Inc. to Adelphia Communications Corp. and homemaking maven Martha Stewart.

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