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Lea Fastow to Complete Sentence at Halfway House

The wife of Enron's ex-CFO is serving time for failing to report her husband's illegal kickbacks as income.

June 07, 2005|From Associated Press

The real estate and grocery heiress married to former Enron Corp. finance chief Andrew Fastow is beginning her life outside of prison.

Lea Fastow left an 11-story federal lockup in downtown Houston before sunrise Monday to move into a halfway house where she would serve the last few weeks of her yearlong prison term for failing to declare her husband's illegal kickbacks as income.

"It's supposed to be a tough year," she said as she left the prison flanked by her husband, sister and lawyers. "I'm going home to my family soon, and that's exactly what I'm looking forward to."

She arrived minutes later at the Leidel Comprehensive Sanction Center a few blocks from the federal detention center, said her attorney, Mike DeGeurin. Lea Fastow entered prison July 12, 2004, and is scheduled to be released July 10.

"There is no special treatment," DeGeurin said. "She is not getting any early release, and she is being treated like everyone else."

Tracy Billingsley, a spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, said it was common for federal inmates to finish their sentences in halfway houses, particularly nonviolent first-time offenders.

Lea Fastow pleaded guilty last year to a misdemeanor tax crime for failing to report on joint tax returns the gains from kickbacks she and her husband pocketed from his illegal dealings at Enron. She had initially pleaded guilty to one of six felonies stemming from the same crimes, which included endorsing and depositing checks made out to the couple's two young sons.

An heiress to the Weingarten real estate and grocery fortune, Lea Fastow rose to assistant treasurer at Enron before she quit in 1997 to stay home with her children. Unlike her husband, she was never accused of any crimes at the company.

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