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Enron's Kenneth Lay Dies 868

Don420 writes "This morning the biggest corporate criminal in modern history, Kenneth Lay, died of a massive coronary before he could receive his sentence. Lay was found guilty of being in charge of the scheme that had many lose their live-savings through a scheme of complex offshore holdings and is to thank for our having to live with Sarbanes-Oxely." From the article: "Enron filed for bankruptcy in December 2001 after investigators found it had used partnerships to conceal more than $1 billion in debt and inflate profits. Enron's downfall cost 4,000 employees their jobs and many of them their life savings, and led to billions of dollars of losses for investors."
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Enron's Kenneth Lay Dies

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  • How Convenient... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TripMaster Monkey ( 862126 ) * on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @02:46PM (#15661703)

    Kenneth Lay tragically passes away due to a massive heart attack before he receives his sentence. Impeccable timing...

    Two possible scenarios (in addition to the official version of events) come immediately to mind:

    • Ken was going to roll over on Dubya & Company, and was 'neutralized',
        - or -
    • Ken faked his own death and is currently laughing himself sick under a palm tree somewhere.

    Either scenario seems equally likely, and much more likely than 'Ken keeled over because he couldn't keep his LDLs in check'.
    • by rhsanborn ( 773855 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @02:52PM (#15661773)
      You're kidding right...? The guy is 64 years old and has been dealing with a high stress situation for 5 years. I don't suppose that could have anything to do with it.

      But hey, let's jump to the completely absurd conspiracy assumption as "much more likely" than the fact that "coronary heart disease (CHD) is the single leading cause of death in America." (American Heart Association, 2003 study).

      I'll leave open the possibility of suicide, but I think it unlikely. There are far more convenient ways to kill yourself.
    • Damn Right! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @02:55PM (#15661799) Homepage Journal
      Sure, nobody just keels over and dies from a heart attack. That never happens. And anybody who talks about "stress factors" like being pilloried in front of millions of people or facing spending the rest of his life in prison, is just spreading misinformation. And if you mention the fact that he was in his 60s, you've just got your head up your ass.
  • by dr_strang ( 32799 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @02:46PM (#15661709)
    until I see a body. Just a little too convenient. /where the hell's my tinfoil hat?
  • by Buran ( 150348 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @02:49PM (#15661738)
    Why is it that the ones who deserve the most punishment for what they've done always conveniently die or vanish before they can be punished?

    Resurrect him, I don't care how, then punish him most painfully, then re-kill him, as far as I'm concerned.

    Oh, and let's parade photos of his dead body through the streets just like we did with that dead terrorist a few months ago.

    Prove he's dead.
  • by Trailer Trash ( 60756 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @02:50PM (#15661751) Homepage
    So, now everybody here who keeps saying "Ken Lay did blah blah blah and never faced any jail time" is actually right.

    I hope BSD isn't really dying...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @02:51PM (#15661760)
    Construction has begun at the Hope Memorial Cemetery to install new drainage tiles in anticipation of the 4,000+ people expected to arrive within the next week to piss on Mr. Lay's grave.
  • I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Ethical paragon Kenneth Lay was found dead in his Colorado home this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to business culture. Truly an American icon.
  • by gmb61 ( 815164 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @02:53PM (#15661780)
    God opted for the death penalty.
  • Life Insurance (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Yoda2 ( 522522 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @02:54PM (#15661793)
    Interesting that any life insurance he held will still go to any named beneficiaries and cannot be tapped to help settle for any judgments/judgements against him.
  • by Churla ( 936633 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @02:56PM (#15661801)
    I doubt it's faked.
    I doubt it was the government, because they want to see him punished as a way of showing that they're "tackling" the problem.
    I doubt it was cholesterol either... as he would have been on any medication around to stop that.

    My bet is that facing a very probable "rest of your life in real actual PMITA prison" (A 20 year sentence would ahve effectively been life for a man of his age) the stress got him.

    At least he saved us the tax dollars it would have cost to shelter and feed him.
    • by vought ( 160908 )
      I doubt it was the government, because they want to see him punished as a way of showing that they're "tackling" the problem.

      I doubt there's any conspiracy at all. But I take issue with this - I'll bet brother Bush, one of Lay's "oldest and best friends" was on the horn to Snowmass this morning mouthing his condolences to poor, pitiful Mrs. Lay, who will now get to sit on all of Kenny's money - since he hadn't been sentenced, his assets could be freed from government liens, and she'll get to keep the nice h
    • A 20 year sentence would ahve effectively been life for a man of his age...

      A negative 2 month, 6 day sentence was effectively a life sentence for him.
    • by Bastian ( 66383 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @04:28PM (#15662681)
      I doubt it was cholesterol either... as he would have been on any medication around to stop that.

      It seems to me that you're suggesting that people who are on cholesterol medication never die of coronary heart disease. Really, they only lower the mortality rate by about 10%, making them less effective than a good cholesterol reduction diet. [] Of course, neither is a magic bullet - he could have been on Lipitor and eating Ornish and he'd still be under a high risk of dying from heart disease if he already had off-the-wall cholesterol levels.
  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @02:56PM (#15661803) Homepage Journal

    Really, Lay wasn't the architect, he just covered it up until he could figure out how to get away from the mess without it sinking him. If you want to know more about who really created the fiasco, watch Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room [] and see. Also see how the present administration was complicit in the California Energy Crisis.

  • by El_Smack ( 267329 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @02:57PM (#15661819)
    God for the win!!!
  • by tloh ( 451585 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @02:58PM (#15661831)
    This morning the biggest corporate criminal in modern history, Kenneth Lay, died of a massive coronary...

    You just watch... I'll bet he is lying yet once again. /duck
  • by Quiet_Desperation ( 858215 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @02:59PM (#15661834)
    ...these days that does not bring out the conspiracy yahoos?

    Seriously, some days I just want to punch all the cryptoloons in the balls. And if they don't have balls, I'll graft donor balls onto them and punch those.

    Damn, I need more vacation.

  • At least.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MImeKillEr ( 445828 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @02:59PM (#15661844) Homepage Journal
    .. he saved the state some $ now that they don't have to warehouse him in jail.

    I wonder how much that was...
  • by Tiger4 ( 840741 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @03:03PM (#15661887)
    OK, everybody knows they can do anything better than anyone else, and there is no real point to following rules created by others. But, in order to end the fighting and constant bickering, we put up with these little annoyances called rules, regulations, and laws. Given that they are silly and pointless, what Other Reasons could there be to not increase corporate financial accountability?

    Seems to me anything that puts the CEO, COO, CFO and every other cheif of a company right in the line of fire for criminal and civil liability is a good thing. The Board Officers should be there too of course. To me, the CEO and Chairman are like the Captain of a ship or a Genereal on the battlefield. You Are in Charge and You Are Responsible. If you say the company is in XYZ condition, it damn well ought to be and if we can prove you lied about it, you go to prison. Youd don't get to hide by saying, "the underlings run the company and I don't have a clue". Nothing should be hidden from "conventional interpretation" by some warped usage of accounting and bookkeeping practices. If you want to create a high risk, closed box operation, there are legal ways to do that without hiding it from your investors.

    Sunlight and visibility in all the operations should be normal operating procedure, not an inconvienience to be endured.
    • by ( 463190 ) * on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @04:10PM (#15662530) Homepage
      what Other Reasons could there be to not increase corporate financial accountability?

      The down-side to Sarbox is that it massively increases accouting burden and raises the bar in terms of funds and overhead required for any small company to go public. This both reduces the benefits of going public and limits the IPO opportunity to larger, better funded corporations, at the expense of many more interesting younger companies. It puts the opportunity further out of reach of smaller entreprenuers.

      Most venture investors and entreprenuers feel that Sarbox goes too far. You seem to be speaking strictly from the perspective of a (rather uninformed) public shareholder, and frankly you seem to lack the necessary insight into the costs of Sarbox compliance to form a balanced viewpoint. Increasing penalties for (and actually enforcing) SEC rules would have gone a long way without having to add new requirements.
  • by myth_of_sisyphus ( 818378 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @03:08PM (#15661926)
    At the end of the dotcom bubble I was working in downtown San Francisco. We used to have rolling blackouts and everybody would leave the building for a couple hours and enjoy themselves. Anyways, the servers weren't running and nobody was making money (except for the CEOs, they always make money.)

    I asked my brother, an electrician at a Bay Area biotech, what the hell was going on and he didn't know.

    It turns out that this fucking company Enron was turning off power-plants willy-nilly so they could profit off the spike in energy consumption somehow. So, while hospitals and grandma Millie are sitting in the dark these jackasses in Texas are laughing their asses off all the way to the bank.

    It also turns out that our pussy governor could have sent the National Guard to ONE fucking powerplant and took it over. When the assholes from Enron call to take it offline they would pick up the phone: "could you turn the power off so we can spike the grid and make a lot of money?" "Uhhhh, this is Col. Soandso of the California National Guard. Who's this?" "Nevermind..." hangup. (Enron stops shenanigans.)

    Oh well, Ken Lay, may you rot in the eighth circle of Dante's Hell: reserved for those guilty of deliberate fraudulent evil.
  • by mrpeebles ( 853978 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @03:10PM (#15661941)
    Does anyone know how this affects his families liability concerning the Enron fraud? I haven't really followed the story very closely, mostly reading only the headlines, but I seem to remember he has already paid a lot of fines? Or maybe he just lost so much money due to the stock crash. In any case, does anyone know if the inheritors of his estate are now liable to any damages he might have done to the shareholders or employees of Enron? And can the courts take fines out of his estate before his inheritors (his wife, I guess?) take it?
  • Justice? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ThinkFr33ly ( 902481 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @03:17PM (#15661997)
    It's justice for a man to die for theft and fraud?

    I realize he stold millions of dollars. I realize that he cost the jobs of thousands of people. I realize he ruined many innocent people's lives. It's pretty obvious that this guy was a scum ball.

    But how does that justify calling his death "justice"? Would it be justice if he was killed by the government or one of his bilked former employees?

    Take away his money, his reputation, and his freedom... but don't call his death justice.
  • by KeeghanMacAllan ( 842985 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @03:17PM (#15662000)
    "This morning the biggest corporate criminal in modern history, Kenneth Lay, died of a massive coronary before he could receive his sentence."

    Now THAT is what I call a karma mod!
  • by Keichann ( 888574 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @03:19PM (#15662021)
    Posterity will ne'er survey
    A nobler grave than this:
    Here lie the bones of Kenneth Lay:
    Stop, traveller, and piss.
  • by bluemeany271828 ( 984911 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @03:28PM (#15662108)
    After seeing "The Smartest Guys in the Room" and learning about how he screwed honest people out of their life-long savings, this SOB should be rotting in a jail cell. One worker in the movie had $300,000 in company stock (his entire life savings) in his 401k - and had to cash it in for $1200. The guy was in his late 50's. I'm just sad nobody choked him like a bitch before he died. A heart attack was just too easy for this scumbag.
  • AKA... (Score:3, Informative)

    by stimpleton ( 732392 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @03:41PM (#15662247)
    ...and that they[work collegues] felt devoted to him.

    These devottees are otherwise known as faithfull lieutenants.

    ...needed when ones business growth is to progress beyond stage three.
  • by Scareduck ( 177470 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @03:44PM (#15662287) Homepage Journal
    According to the Wall Street Journal Law Blog [], Lay's death might cause his conviction to be expunged.
    Question: What happens to Lay's conviction?

    Answer: Lay's conviction might be expunged, says criminal law professor Peter Henning in a fascinating post on the White Collar CrimeProf blog. Citing Fifth Circuit law (the federal jurisdiction encompassing Houston), Henning says that when a defendant dies before appellate review of a conviction, the death "abates, ab initio, the entire criminal proceeding." In a recent Fifth Circuit decision, United States v. Estate of Parsons, the court explained that "the appeal does not just disappear, and the case is not merely dismissed. Instead, everything associated with the case is extinguished, leaving the defendant as if he had never been indicted or convicted." The Fifth Circuit explained the rationale for the rule: "The finality principle reasons that the state should not label one as guilty until he has exhausted his opportunity to appeal. The punishment principle asserts that the state should not punish a dead person or his estate."

  • Sentencing? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MrCopilot ( 871878 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @03:52PM (#15662358) Homepage Journal
    IANAL but,

    He dies before sentencing, Now we have no yardstick for similar crooks in the future, no order of restitution to be paid. Inheritance gets whatever he had left + life insurance benefits (which I bet is a pretty good chunk of any state budget)

    A Republican friend of mine mockingly said "How dare he die before we get a chance to punish him." What he say in jest, I say in earnest.

    Personally, I would have liked to see him live a long, long, long life breaking rocks in the hot sun. Since he probably would have ended up at Club Fed, I hope it hurt a tenth as much as losing your retirement and life savings overnight.

    As an Atheist, I get no satisfaction from him keeling over. I literally feel robbed, and I had no money in their company. The people who did probably feel robbed all over again.

  • "I'm not Dead Yet!" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by doublem ( 118724 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @04:01PM (#15662437) Homepage Journal
    Is he REALLY dead?

    Most of his cash "vanished" shortly before his arrest, and his assets were never frozen.

    When Lay collapsed, his personal assistant called Lay's personal doctor, not an ambulance. It was Lay's personal physician who pronounced Lay dead.

    Lay's will, revised just a couple of months ago, calls for his cremation, and his widow was out of the country when he died. She's reportedly having medical complications from "The shock of her belove husband's sudden death." As a result, she's not expected to return to the states for the funeral.

    Details on who signed the death certificate are fuzzy, but there are no plans for an autopsy. He's scheduled for cremation tomorrow morning.

    Any bets there's no actual body in the casket, or if there is, it's not Ken Lay's?

    Billions are now being spent nationwide by American CEOs on similar contingency plans for faking one's own death and moving vast financial resources to a safe location out of the country.

    Ken Lay has become quite a roll model for Corporate CEOs all over the country. He made a vast fortune, and despite being caught, manged to keep a large number of his cohorts from facing any real repercussions while escaping with his own fortune largely intact.
  • Sarbanes-Oxely (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Citizen of Earth ( 569446 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @04:01PM (#15662445)
    and is to thank for our having to live with Sarbanes-Oxely.

    Just off the top of my head, It seems to me that you actually have guys named Sarbanes and Oxely to thank for having to live with Sarbanes-Oxely.

God doesn't play dice. -- Albert Einstein