Lea Fastow has Left the pokey, but she still has five weeks in a halfway house to go.
Hand-in-hand with her soon-to-be-imprisoned husband, Lea Fastow walked out of a downtown Houston prison before dawn today, then took a short ride to the downtown halfway house where she'll serve out the last five weeks of her one-year sentence for lying on her taxes about income from an Enron venture.
The 43-year-old wife of former Enron CFO Andrew Fastow looked healthy in a white polo shirt and jeans, with a pink sweater folded over her arm, as she emerged from the Federal Dentention Center moments before 4 a.m., just as sprinklers started up.
She stopped briefly on the sidewalk at 1200 Texas Avenue to speak to a reporter and photographers before being whisked away in a private car to the halfway house where she'll stay until July 10.
"It's been a tough year, but it's supposed to be a tough year,'' said Fastow, a stay-at-home mom before going to prison. "I am going home to my family soon. That's exactly what I'm looking forward to.''
Although the federal halfway house she's settling into allows for varying levels of restrictions, Lea Fastow is likely to be confined to the facility for the remainder of her sentence, possibly allowed to visit an outside doctor.
At the Liedel Sanction Center, known as a "federal community corrections center," the idea is to let prisoners near release stay in a "structured, supervised environment'' that has counseling, job placement, and other services to help the inmates rebuild their community ties and readjust to freedom.
Somewhat more hospitable than a prison and offering more privacy, the Commerce Street halfway house is less than a mile from the federal detention center in a semi-industrial part of downtown. A guard was at the door Monday morning.