Former Enron executive Michael Kopper's confession that he reeled in millions of dollars in a shell game was significant in that he became the first corporate official to admit wrongdoing in the vast, complicated scandal.
His admission came the other day in pleading guilty to money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Kopper said that as former managing director of Enron Global Finance, he ran or helped create several partnerships that earned him and others millions of dollars while hiding debt and inflating profits. ...
While what Kopper did was awful, there is a good part: He's now helping prosecutors who are investigating the gigantic corporate collapse with an up-close insight into the greed and inner workings of Enron. ''His knowledge will become our knowledge,'' said Leslie Caldwell, head of a nationwide task force of federal prosecutors probing Enron.
In his exchange for his aid, Kopper could earn leniency from the court, instead of being sentenced to a 15-year stretch in prison and fines up to double the amount determined to have been fraudulently gained.
If Kopper's cooperation helps lead prosecutors to bigger fish -- the guys ultimately responsible for the biggest fraud and bankruptcy in U.S. history -- then it's a small price to pay.
-- The Tribune-Democrat, Johnstown, Pa.
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