Jeffrey Skilling's sentencing sends a message: regulators are playing for keeps. It's a chilling message for any business executive who might be tempted to play fast and loose with company finances.
Professor Thomas Bausch teaches business strategy and ethics at Marquette University. He says Skilling's twenty four year sentence sends a tough message to the business community, and he thinks little of the former Enron executive's assertions of innocence. “Call it lying if you want, but I think he knows he's guilty,” says Bausch. “He may not think what he did should be a crime, but he knows it was a crime and he did it.” Will this lengthy prison term and millions in restitution to Skilling's victims at Enron mean we'll not see a similar scandal in the future? Bausch believes that's unlikely. “We just have to be vigilent,” he says, adding that absent “people with a high sense of morality, something new will happen.”
Bausch says most people in the business community are ashamed of what happened at Enron, and know that it looks bad for them by association. Skilling plans to appeal his conviction.