John Forney, come on down! You are the next contestant on Plead Guilty and Promise The Feds You'll Cooperate!
John Forney, 42, of Ohio, is the third official to plead guilty to manipulating electricity prices from Enron's now-defunct trading office in Portland, Ore. The crisis played a role in Pacific Gas & Electric Co.'s bankruptcy and will leave California consumers paying abnormally high electricity prices for years.
He faces a maximum of five years. He remains free on $500,000 bail. A sentencing date has not been set.
"With the guilty plea of John Forney, we have now obtained convictions of the top three Enron executives most directly responsible for manipulating the energy markets in California at a time unique in our history, when the lights were going off and the grid was in danger of shutting down," U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan said.
Ryan said that, as part of the guilty plea, Forney is expected to cooperate with the investigation into Houston-based Enron, as well as reveal details about how other energy firms may have played a role.
Former Enron executives Timothy Belden and Jeffrey Richter also have pleaded guilty and cooperated with the FBI.
Forney, the manager of Enron's trading desk, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, specifically that he promised to supply energy Enron did not have and that he improperly collected electrical grid management fees for Enron.
Enron's scheme to charge fees for services it did not provide was known inside the company as Forney's Perpetual Loop, the indictment said. Forney also took part in schemes known as Death Star, Get Shorty, Ricochet and others, which inflated consumer prices.