Judge to revisit Dynegy executives 24-year prison term

A former midlevel Dynegy executive whose 24-year prison term was thrown out by a federal appeals court may receive a shorter sentence for his role in a fraudulent accounting scheme.

Jamie Olis, 39, had the stiffest white-collar sentence in recent corporate scandals until July, when former WorldCom chief Bernard Ebbers was slapped with a 25-year term for orchestrating the $11 billion (Ђ9.4 billion) accounting fraud that toppled the telecommunications firm.

But the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Olis' sentence in October, saying U.S. District Judge Sim Lake in Houston applied federal sentencing guidelines improperly, which were mandatory when he sentenced Olis in March 2004. Lake said Friday he would re-sentence Olis on Jan. 5, alongside two other former Dynegy executives who pleaded guilty to conspiracy in the scheme, Gene Foster and Helen Sharkey.

Olis' appeal lawyer, David Gerger, had asked the judge to allow Olis to be released from prison pending a re-sentencing. Lake instead offered to order that Olis be temporarily transferred to a federal lockup in downtown Houston from the Oakdale, Louisiana, facility where he is housed until the hearing.

A jury convicted Olis in November 2003 of conspiracy and five counts of securities, wire and mail fraud for helping push through a 2001 scheme to disguise debt as cash flow to ease Wall Street worries that earnings lagged behind high trading revenues. Foster, Olis' former boss, and Sharkey, a former in-house accountant, pleaded guilty to conspiracy in August 2003 for their roles. Foster testified against Olis and implicated other former Dynegy executives, including former finance chief Rob Doty, but no one else has been charged.

Foster and Sharkey face no more than five years in prison and will be sentenced Jan. 5 as well. Olis' sentence surpassed 20 years because he was held responsible for more than $100 million (Ђ85.5 million) in stock losses under sentencing guidelines driven by the size of illicit gains or financial losses to victims, AP reports.

А. А.

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