Former Enron CEO released from prison to halfway house

FILE PHOTO: Jeff Skilling (C), former Enron CEO, IS escorted by federal marshals away from Houston Federal court October 23, 2006. REUTERS/Tim Johnson/File Photo

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Jeffrey Skilling, the former chief executive officer of Enron who received a 24-year prison sentence for his role in the company’s spectacular collapse, has been released from an Alabama prison camp and moved to a halfway house, records from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons showed on Thursday.

Lawyers for Skilling were not immediately available for comment.

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons records listed Skilling as being at a residential re-entry facility in Houston.

In May 2006, a jury convicted Skilling of 19 counts of conspiracy, securities fraud, insider trading and lying to auditors for his role in maintaining a facade of success as Enron’s energy business crumbled.

In 2013, U.S. District Judge Simeon Lake reduced his 24-year jail term to 14 years, accepting a deal struck between prosecutors and Skilling’s lawyers to end years of appeals.

Under the deal, more than $40 million of Skilling’s fortune, which had been frozen since his conviction in 2006, was to be distributed to victims of Enron’s collapse.

Houston-based Enron’s 2001 collapse threw thousands out of work, sparked federal probes and prompted Congress to crack down on corporate accounting abuses.

Enron founder Kenneth Lay also was found guilty of multiple counts of conspiracy and fraud. He died of heart failure six weeks after the trial ended, prompting a federal judge to throw out the conviction.

Skilling had been serving his time in a minimum security “prison camp” in Montgomery, Alabama, according to a federal database. He was set for release in 2019.

Reporting by Jon Herskovitz and the Houston Bureau; editing by Bill Tarrant and Leslie Adler