New indictments unsealed Thursday in the probe of Enron Corp slapped new charges on former chief financial officer Andrew Fastow while his wife and other former executives were hit with charges of fraud and other crimes.
Lea Fastow, a former Enron assistant treasurer, was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering, Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson said in announcing expanded charges in the Enron probe.
With the new 31-count indictment, Andrew Fastow is now facing more than 100 charges related to the case, including new charges of insider trading in Enron stock that netted him some US$18 million.
The new indictments charge a total of 11 former Enron executives, although Andrew Fastow and two others had previously been charged.
Among those newly charged Thursday were Ben Glisan, a former Enron treasurer and Dan Boyle, a former vice president of global finance.
These two, along with Andrew Fastow, were charged with a variety of fraud charges in the so-called Nigerian barge conspiracy, in which Enron agreed to "park" money-losing barges on the books of investment bank Merrill Lynch to avoid reporting losses on Enron's books, Thompson said.
This was one of dozens of schemes Enron allegedly used to conceal the company's massive debts from regulators and shareholders before its collapse.
The Justice Department said: "Fastow, Glisan, Boyle and others devised schemes to fraudulently manipulate Enron's reported financial results so that the company would appear more successful than it was; [to] artificially manipulate the share price of Enron's stock; [to] circumvent federal regulations so that Enron could obtain benefits to which it was not entitled; and [to] enrich themselves at the expense of Enron and its shareholders."
Additionally, seven members of the Enron Broadband unit, a failed Internet division, were indicted on charges stemming from concealing financial information. Two of them had previously been charged.
Unit chairman Kenneth Rice and ex-executives Joseph Hirko, Kevin Hannon, Scott Yeager and Rex Shelby were indicted, along with Kevin Howard and Michael Krautz, who were named in a prior indictment.
According to the indictment, Rice, Hirko, Hannon, Yeager and Shelby sold large quantities of Enron stock at a time when they knew that the company was misleading the investing public, generating nearly US$186 million in proceeds for themselves. The government is seeking to recover more than US$100 million of these "illegal profits."