Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling, who was groomed for the top job by Enron's late chairman Kenneth Lay, has been sentenced to 24 years for his role in the Enron fraud that led to the company's collapse in 2001.
Skilling had been found guilty, earlier in May this year, on 19 counts including fraud, conspiracy and insider trading, which could lead to imprisonment for between 20 and 30 years. He was convicted together with Lay.
Lay died of a heart attack about a month after his conviction. The conviction has been quashed on the ground that he died before he could appeal against the verdict.
The collapse of Enron, the world's largest energy trading company, was attributed to a elaborate web of intricate accounting to cover up its mounting losses. Skilling was found to have orchestrated a series of loss-making deals and financial schemes to try to hide debts from investors.
The Enron bankruptcy wiped out about $68 billion in market capital when Enron's shares plunged from a peak of $80 per share in early 2001 and debts of $31.8 billion that left thousands unemployed and erased retirement savings built mostly on Enron stock.
Before his sentence was passed, Skilling was made to listen to testimony from a number of victims of the Enron fraud.
Skilling has said he will appeal against his conviction. The judge has ordered Skilling to be confined to his home and wear an ankle monitor until he reports to prison.