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Lea Fastow Is Ordered to Serve Time in Houston

Judge denies a request for a minimum security camp and tells the wife of Enron's former CFO to surrender by July 12.

June 09, 2004|From Reuters

Lea Fastow, the wife of former Enron Corp. Chief Financial Officer Andrew S. Fastow, has been ordered to serve her one-year sentence for a misdemeanor tax charge in a downtown Houston federal lockup, just blocks from the failed company's headquarters.

U.S. District Judge David Hittner ordered Fastow, 42, to surrender by July 12, an order made public Tuesday.

The Houston federal detention center is a considerably more restrictive prison than the one her lawyer had requested.

Attorney Mike DeGeurin had asked that Fastow be sent to a minimum security women's federal prison camp in Bryan, Texas, 100 miles northwest of Houston. DeGeurin could not immediately be reached for comment.

Hittner refused to make that recommendation to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, which makes the final decision but routinely respects judges' recommendations.

Fastow, a former assistant treasurer at Enron, pleaded guilty May 6 to filing a false income tax return, for which Hittner gave her the maximum sentence of a year. She was initially charged with six felony counts.

It was the second time Fastow had gone before Hittner to be sentenced. In April, she pulled out of a plea bargain deal when the judge refused to impose a five-month sentence that prosecutors had recommended.

Her plea came about as part of a package deal designed to induce her husband to plead guilty to separate charges and begin cooperating with prosecutors.

The Justice Department's Enron Task Force had pressured the couple for more than a year, charging that Lea Fastow was complicit in her husband's schemes to reap millions for himself while hiding Enron's ballooning debt and manipulating its earnings.

She eventually admitted submitting an income tax return that did not include profits her family received from her husband's secretive partnerships.

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