Ex-Enron Officer Said to Be in Plea Talks

From Associated Press

The wife of former Enron Corp. finance chief Andrew S. Fastow is negotiating a plea bargain with prosecutors, a newspaper reported Thursday.

The Houston Chronicle, citing anonymous sources, reported in its online edition that Lea Fastow could appear in U.S. District Court next week to plead guilty and possibly begin a term of at least five months in prison.

Lea Fastow, 41, was an assistant treasurer at Houston-based Enron. She is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering, conspiracy and filing false tax forms. She is scheduled to stand trial Feb. 10.

Her lawyers and a family spokesman declined to comment. The head of the Justice Department's Enron Task Force didn't immediately return a call for comment.

When Lea Fastow's indictment was unsealed in May, her attorneys said she had done nothing wrong and was being charged to put pressure on her husband.

Andrew Fastow faces 98 counts of money laundering, fraud, insider trading and other charges for allegedly masterminding myriad schemes to inflate Enron's profits, hide company debt and enrich himself, his family and others in the process.

He is scheduled for trial April 20.

If Lea Fastow was to begin serving a five-month prison sentence this month, her term would be finished when her husband's trial begins. The couple has two young children, and an unidentified Fastow family friend told the newspaper that Lea Fastow's desire to have at least one parent at home was a factor in the discussions.

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