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A milestone in the Enron story

Andrew Fastow returns to Houston to complete prison sentence in halfway house

A new chapter in the Enron saga began in Houston on Monday when Andrew Fastow, one of the key figures in the flawed financial partnerships that brought the energy company down in 2001, returned to Houston to complete his federal incarceration in a halfway house.

A reliable source has told CultureMap that the former Enron chief financial officer arrived in the city via "private transport" within the past 24 hours from the Federal Correctional Complex in Pollock, La. The main prison's satellite camp, where Fastow was held, houses minimum security male offenders.

He has taken residence in a halfway house where he will finish the remainder of five years and three months of a six-year sentence that was originally 10 years, the maximum penalty for his admission to two conspiracy charges. The reduced sentence was part of a plea bargain that Fastow made in 2004 in which he agreed to testify in the trial against Enron top executives Jeff Skilling and Ken Lay.

Fastow was taken into custody in September 2006 for six years of imprisonment and two additional years at home under court supervision. That sentence was reduced to five years and three months, due to "good time" according to the source, which means that he will be able to leave the halfway house by the end of the year. 

The source said that while no occupational assignment has yet been made for Fastow, he is subject to the requirements of all individuals in this situation.

Fastow's sentencing and early release stands in sharp contrast to that of Jeff Skilling, former Enron president who was convicted of multiple felony charges relating to Enron's financial collapse, who is currently serving a 24-year, four-month sentence.

Lay, who was  convicted of multiple counts of fraud and conspiracy, died in 2006 of heart disease before he was sentenced.

Fastow will not be the first high-profile federal prisoner to complete his sentence in a Houston halfway house. When oilman Oscar Wyatt, who pled guilty to sending money to Iraq in the Food for Oil program, was released from federal prison in Beaumont in 2008, he spent 45 days in a downtown Houston halfway house and was assigned to work in a local law firm. At the time, his attorney said that Wyatt was allowed an increasing number of freedoms as his release date approached. One can expect the same for Fastow.

Once released from federal custody Fastow will rejoin his wife, art consultant Lea Weingarten Fastow, and their two sons. Lea Fastow served a one-year sentence ending in July  2005 for failure to report Enron-related financial gains on federal income tax returns. She also resided in a Houston halfway house before returning to her family.

At the time of the convictions, the Fastows relinquished close to $30 million in cash and property.

Fastow's attorney, David Gerger, could not be immediately reached for comment Tuesday night.

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