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11/4/2004

Five convicted in Enron fraud case

By Kristen Hays
The Associated Press

HOUSTON — A jury convicted four former Merrill Lynch & Co. executives and a former midlevel Enron Corp. finance executive of conspiracy and fraud Wednesday for helping push through a sham deal to pad the energy company’s earnings.

The deal involved a bogus sale of interest in power plants mounted on barges to the brokerage at the end of 1999 so the company could appear to have met earnings targets.

A sixth defendant, a former in-house Enron accountant, was acquitted. Sheila Kahanek testified that she consistently opposed a verbal promise that the government contended made the deal a loan — that Enron would resell or buy back Merrill’s interest within six months.

Those convicted of conspiracy and two counts of wire fraud were: Daniel Bayly, Merrill’s former head of investment banking; James A. Brown, former head of Merrill’s asset lease and finance group; William Fuhs, a vice president who reported to Brown; Robert S. Furst, a former manager of Merrill’s relationship with Enron; and Dan O. Boyle, a former Enron finance executive.