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2 Ex-Enron Traders Get Probation
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of CBS News/Associated Press

CBS News/Associated Press, February 14, 2007
Posted: February 22nd, 2007

Two of three former Enron Corp. traders accused of driving up energy prices during California's power crisis were each sentenced Wednesday to two years of court-supervised release in federal court. Timothy Belden ... was sentenced after pleading guilty in October 2002 to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Belden's plea was the first prosecution of anyone related to the West's energy crisis in 2000 and 2001. He had faced up to five years in prison, and must forfeit $2.1 million. The second defendant, Jeffrey Richter, was a lower-level trading manager ... who also pleaded guilty to two counts related to manipulating energy prices. He had faced up to five years and agreed to pay a $410,000 fine. Internal company memos describe how Belden's trading unit took power out of California at a time of rolling blackouts and shortages and sold it out of state to elude price caps. Enron bought California power at cheap, capped prices, routed it outside the state, then sold it back into California at vastly inflated prices. The crisis played a role in Pacific Gas & Electric Co.'s bankruptcy and will leave California consumers paying abnormally high electricity prices for years. Transcripts of Enron energy traders showed them openly discussing manipulating California's power market during profanity-laced telephone conversations in which they merrily gloated about ripping off those poor grandmothers during the energy crunch. On the calls, other traders openly and gleefully discussed creating congestion on transmission lines and taking generating units off-line to pump up electricity prices.

Note: So while California taxpayers cough up hundreds of millions of dollars as a result of Enron's scheming and thousands of employees across the U.S. lost their entire pensions, the result of the first prosecution of anyone related to the Enron scam is probation? For lots more on this, click here.

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