Federal prosecutors have given up their claim to nearly $4 million surrendered by the first former Enron Corp. executive to plead guilty to crimes in the company's 2001 crash.
The sum is part of the $11.8 million that Michael Kopper, 38, of Houston relinquished to the government when he pleaded guilty in August 2002 to money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud for his role in several partnerships that earned him and others millions of dollars while hiding debt and inflating profit at Enron.
About $8 million of the money returned is in an account overseen by the Securities and Exchange Commission to eventually be distributed to investors who were left with worthless stock when Enron imploded.
The other $3.8 million was to go to the Justice Department for the same purpose. But the money was in a Charles Schwab account in the name of LJM2 Capital Management, one of the partnerships linked to the Enron scandal. In March, LJM2 filed court documents arguing that the $3.8 million was the partnership's property.