Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling released from federal custody

HOUSTON – After spending more than a decade in federal custody, former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling is a free man. 

Skilling was released from a halfway house Thursday. 

In 2006, Skilling was convicted of 19 counts of conspiracy, securities fraud, insider trading and lying to auditors in connection with the collapse of the Houston-based energy giant. 

The company collapsed into bankruptcy in 2001 under the weight of years of illicit business deals and accounting tricks.

He was sentenced to 24 years in prison, but was able to walk free sooner due to a reduced sentence.

In August 2018, Skilling was relocated from federal prison to a Texas halfway house.

Skilling, 59, was the highest-ranking executive to be punished for Enron's downfall. Enron founder Kenneth Lay's similar convictions were vacated after he died of a heart disease less than two months after trial.

Enron's collapse put more than 5,000 people out of work, wiped out more than $2 billion in employee pensions and rendered worthless $60 billion in Enron stock. Its aftershocks were felt across the city and the energy industry.