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Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling, the most vilified figure from the most notorious financial scandal of the decade, was sentenced Monday to 24 years, four months in the harshest sentence yet in the case that came to symbolize corporate fraud in America. U.S. District Judge Sim Lake in Houston ordered Skilling, 52, to home confinement, wearing an ankle monitor, and told the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to recommend when Skilling should report to prison. Lake recommended no date, but suggested Skilling be sent to the federal facility in Butler, N.C. Skilling, insisting he was innocent yet remorseful in a two-hour hearing, was the last top former official to be punished for the accounting tricks and shady business deals that led to the loss of thousands of jobs, more than $60 billion in Enron stock and more than $2 billion in employee pension plans when Enron collapsed. Lake denied Skilling’s request for bond. Skilling’s term is the longest received by any Enron defendant; former chief financial officer Andrew Fastow was given a six-year term after cooperating with prosecutors and helping them secure Skilling’s conviction. The former CEO’s arrogance, belligerence and lack of contriteness under questioning made him a lightning rod for the rage generated by the collapse of Enron in 2001. Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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