Former Enron Corp. Chief Financial Officer Andrew S. Fastow was indicted Thursday on 78 federal counts alleging he masterminded schemes to artificially inflate the energy company's profit and skim millions of dollars at shareholders' expense.
The indictment, returned by a grand jury in Houston, is essentially a formal restatement of a criminal complaint filed Oct. 2.
But the indictment is notable for the sheer number of charges, which include multiple counts of fraud, money laundering and conspiracy. One count of obstruction of justice was not included in the original complaint. If convicted, Fastow faces hundreds of years in jail and millions of dollars in fines.
Fastow, 40, is free on $5-million bond and faces a Nov. 6 arraignment on the charges. He is the most prominent Enron executive to be charged in the federal probe.
"These charges are full of sound and fury, but the truth about Enron has yet to be told," Fastow's attorney, John W. Keker, said. "When that truth is told, to a jury of 12 honest Americans, Andy Fastow will be set free."
Deputy Atty. Gen. Larry Thompson, head of the Bush administration's corporate fraud task force, said federal officials "will use every appropriate measure to recover the ill-gotten gains of these corporate schemers."
The indictment alleged Fastow and others created schemes to defraud Enron and its shareholders through transactions with off-the-books partnerships that made the company look more profitable than it was.
Prosecutors also allege Fastow gained an estimated $30 million from kickbacks funneled through Michael J. Kopper, his former aide, and investors or family members. Investigators say Fastow also siphoned off income from the partnerships.
Prosecutors are expected to pressure Fastow to learn what he might say about the actions of his colleagues, including former Enron Chairman Kenneth L. Lay and former Chief Executive Jeffrey K. Skilling.