Jeffrey Skilling of Enron fame asks for a new trial

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Jeffrey Skilling, the former CEO of Enron is appealing his federal conviction and arguing that his 24 year sentence is unconstitutional. In May 2006, Skilling was convicted of 19 counts of fraud, conspiracy and insider trading in the Enron case. The former chairman of Enron, Kenneth Lay, was convicted of many counts in the same trial, but died several weeks afterward.

The appeal cites many arguments, including:

  • Not moving the trial out of Houston was unfair to Skilling, as the community was outraged and “thirsting for vengeance”
  • The jury selection process was flawed
  • The 24 year prison sentence is not consistent with federal sentencing guidelines and statutes
  • The an executive shouldn’t be held liable for defrauding an employer when his acts are intended to benefit the employer

In December, Skilling asked for bail while his appeal was pending. The Fifth Circuit, which will hear the appeal, denied bail but suggested that some of the conviction counts may be reversed.

Las Vegas lawyer indicted in medical conspiracy

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Las Vegas personal injury lawyer Noel Gage has been charged in connection with an alleged conspiracy to inflate medical costs to increase settlements with plaintiffs. He is charged with 18 felonies, which include conspiracy, mail fraud, money laundering, aiding and abetting and obstruction of justice.

The grand jury indictment of Gage alleges that he exchanged referrals with Howard Awand, who was posing as a medical consultant to recruit a network of doctors and lawyers to inflate personal injury claims. In one instance, it is believed that Gage paid over $1 million to Awand without the knowledge of the plaintiff. Gage is also alleged to have paid a doctor over $430,000 from the case.

It is alleged that Gage sent his clients to doctors participating in this network, and the doctors treated patients without being paid until claims were settled. It is further alleged that the doctors charged grossly inflated prices.

The U.S. Attorney’s office says that more indictments are forthcoming in the case, and that the investigation is wide-reaching.