Thursday, July 06, 2006
Ken Lay (April 15, 1942 – July 5, 2006), was an American businessman, most notable as the former chairman and CEO of Enron Corporation. Ken Lay and Enron became synonymous with corporate abuse and accounting fraud following the collapse of Enron in 2001. Lay was the CEO and chairman of the company from 1986 until his resignation on January 23, 2002, except for a few months in 2001 when he was chairman and Jeffrey Skilling was CEO.
On July 7, 2004, he was indicted by a grand jury on 11 counts of securities fraud and related charges. On January 31, 2006, following four and a half years of preparation by government prosecutors, Lay's and Skilling's trial began in Houston, Lay was found guilty on May 25, 2006, of 10 counts against him. Because each count carried a maximum 5- to 10-year sentence, legal experts said Lay could have faced 20 to 30 years in prison. On July 5, 2006, however, he died of coronary artery disease at his vacation home in Old Snowmass, Colorado, before the arrival of his sentencing date, which had been scheduled for the following October.
He leaves a legacy of defrauded shareholders, embezzlement of funds and the mutual abhorence and loathing of all the former Enron employees for the breach of obligations to them by misusing their investments and retirement plans resultant from his greed and misplaced concerns about his own lavish lifestyle over those that he had a responsibility to.
There is talk in the legal community that due to his death before sentencing the charges against him may be dismissed. This is cold comfort for the many that his life adversely affected. I believe he must answer to a higher power.