Richard A. Causey, 46, Enron Corp.’s former chief accounting officer, has begun serving a five-and-a-half-year prison sentence in Texas for his role in the fraud schemes that brought down the company.

Causey had faced 30 criminal counts and was bound for trial with Enron founder Kenneth Lay and ex-CEO Jeffrey Skilling before he pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud in December 2005 (see Daily GPI, Dec. 29, 2005). Causey, who was a cooperating witness for the government, was sentenced in November (see Daily GPI, Nov. 16, 2006).

The plea agreement with the government stipulated that Causey serve a seven-year prison term, which could be reduced to no less than five years with a government recommendation. The maximum penalty for securities fraud is 10 years in prison and a fine of $1 million or twice the amount illegally gained. Causey was fined $1.25 million, and he forfeited a claim to $250,000 in deferred compensation from Enron. Causey was able to keep his Houston home, estimated to be worth about $950,000.

Causey was assigned to a prison in Bastrop, TX, which is about 30 miles from Austin. With good behavior, Causey may have his sentenced reduced to four years and nine months. The former top accountant may be assigned to work in groundskeeping or on the kitchen detail at the prison for 12-40 cents/hour. He also may apply for a job that pays 23 cents-$1.15/hour in a prison factory that retrofits vehicles for the government.

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