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Rice gets 27-month sentence in Enron case

June 18, 2007 at 6:28 PM

HOUSTON, June 18 (UPI) -- The former executive of Enron's Internet unit who testified in the fraud case against the Houston company's officials was sentenced to 27 months in prison.

Kenneth Rice also will forfeit $15 million, which will be used to compensate victims of Enron fraud, the Justice Department said Monday in a news release.

U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore in Houston sentenced Rice, who pleaded guilty to a securities fraud charge and cooperated with the government's investigation into Enron's collapse.

Rice admitted that while chief executive officer of Enron Broadband Services, a unit of the now-defunct Enron Corp., he and others made false statements about EBS' products, services and business performance to mislead investors and others about the company's success and to artificially inflate Enron stock prices.

Misrepresentations, including not disclosing the company stood to sustain operating losses in 2001, contributed to a sharp rise in Enron's stock price. Enron filed for bankruptcy protection on Dec. 2, 2001, and its stock became virtually worthless.

So far, criminal charges have been filed against 36 defendants. Eighteen pleaded guilty or were found guilty at trial, including ex-CEO Jeffrey Skilling and former Chairman and CEO Kenneth Lay, who later died.

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