Prison life

Andy Fastow Is Out of Prison

Technically! He’ll be in a halfway house until later this year (BOP says December 17) but getting out of the big house has to feel good.

However, Drew won’t be able to apply for a position at one of those Chinese companies who are losing CFOs left and right. He still has to get reacquainted with society and whatnot:

“It’s a bridge, if you will, a transition period,” said bureau spokesman Edmond Ross. The purpose of the halfway house is for prisoners to reestablish family ties and adjust to society outside of prison, he said. Prisoners are allowed to leave the facility to go to their jobs, but their movements are still controlled. “They cannot come and go as they please,” said Ross. “Their lives are restricted to the rules of the halfway house.”

First things first, Andy – Twitter account. Oh, and maybe subscribe to our enewsletter.

Enron exec Fastow nears prison release [CNN]

Wesley Snipes’s Prison Sentence Seems Pretty Fair

After suffering in tax and appellate court purgatory for several years, Wesley Snipes is finally reporting to prison today for his conviction of willful failure to file tax returns. There’s a whole slew of stories out there on the subject because a celebrity is going to prison, in case you weren’t aware, is important news.

However, as we told you about last week, some people aren’t convinced that the sentence is fair.

Responding to a post by Tim Cavanagh at Reason, rather than embrace mostly inflammatory nonsense, our friend Joe Kristan writes an objective analysis to get to the bottom of the debate:

Mr. Snipes was convicted of three counts of willfully failing to file tax returns for three years. The federal guidelines for prison sentences on tax crimes are largely based on the “tax loss” determined for the crime. Mr. Snipes’ “tax loss” was determined to be over $40 million, which would by itself indicate a sentence of at least 78 months – 6 1/2 years — under the guidelines. Since the maximum sentence for three counts of failure to file is the three years he got, the sentence is actually smaller than the guidelines would indicate.

Now, you may be saying to yourself, “The sentence is longer because a nasty judge is making an example out of one of the most important American artists in vampire cinema!” Joe checked into that too:

But Mr. Snipes still has a legitimate complaint if he’s the only person getting jailed for criminal failure to file, or he’s getting a much longer sentence than others. Is his sentence exceptional?

I don’t know of any statistical study of tax sentences, so we’ll go to the Google. (prison failure to file -snipes). The first page of results includes:

Anthony Kevin Slicker: $265,477 tax loss, 12 month sentence for failing to file for 1 year.

Steven A. Roebuck, Dentist: unknown tax loss, two-year sentence for failing to file for two years.

Arlan Turley, Dentist: 18 months, unknown tax loss, failure to file for two years.

Contrary to Tim Cavenaugh, then, other people get the maximum sentence 12-month per-year for willful failure to file, even with much lower tax losses.

Will the culture suffer? That’s up for debate. But willful failure to file taxes still happens to be a crime with punishment guidelines. If Wes was really saving all of us from vampires maybe the judge would have a good reason to make an exception. Although, that could make for a decent screenplay (straight to video, natch). Three years should be enough time to nail it down.

Jeff Skilling Will Tell You That Prison Has Its Drawbacks

“Could you buy me a cup of coffee? Inmates aren’t allowed to touch money or approach the machines. They could put me in solitary for a week.”

~ The former Enron CEO is adjusting to his 24 year vacation.