Disgraced Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling is getting a full decade shaved off a 24-year sentence for his role in a fraud that toppled the world's largest energy trading company.
On Friday, a federal judge agreed to reduce the prison term by 10 years as part of an agreement in which Skilling would forfeit $45 million he claimed to be his money to victims of the scandal and put an end to any further attempts to overturn his 2006 conviction.
Skilling could be free as early as 2017 considering good behavior and other factors.
Skilling's attempts to appeal brought his case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010, when justices overturned part of the conviction. In 2011, a lower federal court in New Orleans still found the original trial evidence compelling enough to find Skilling guilty, but agreed that the original sentencing was incorrect.
Skilling — whose portrait infamously hangs in Hotel Zaza's creepy jailhouse-themed room 322 — was an icon of Houston's massive financial success in energy trading during the late 1990s. He was promoted to Enron CEO in February 2001, receiving $132 million in a single year, only to resign six months later.
The company declared bankruptcy by December 2001 as decade-long accounting lies came to light in the wake of the California energy crisis.
Along with Enron founder Kenneth Lay, Skilling was convicted in 2006 court of conspiracy, fraud and insider trading. At the time, his 24-year sentence was the longest ever given to a so-called white collar criminal. Lay died of a heart attack while vacationing in Colorado just months before his sentencing.