FORMER ERCOT MANAGER SENTENCED
Carlos Luquis to serve 12 years in prison, pay fine of $10,000
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Inc. (ERCOT) welcomed todayâ€™s jury decision sentencing a former ERCOT manager to 12 years in prison and ordering a fine of $10,000.
According to an announcement from Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, Carlos Luquis was sentenced to 12 years on each felony charge by Williamson County District Judge Michael Jergins and will pay a $10,000 fine and make restitution of $205,000.
â€œWe welcome the news that justice is being served in the fraud perpetrated against ERCOT,â€? said ERCOT President and Chief Executive Officer Sam Jones.
The jury found Luquis guilty late Friday on two counts of engaging in organized criminal activity for theft and misapplication of fiduciary property for his role in what the Attorney General determined to be a six-man crime ring within ERCOT.
â€œLet this case be a warning to any entity or individual that seeks to defraud our electric market,â€? said Public Utility Commission Commissioner Barry Smitherman, a former prosecutor. â€œBad behavior will not be tolerated and those that seek to perpetrate it will be discovered and brought to justice.â€?
Since the criminal activity was uncovered in early 2004, ERCOT has fully supported the investigation of the individuals who conspired to set up shell companies to commit fraudulent billing, Jones said.
â€œERCOT staff worked countless hours to provide documents and support to the law enforcement agencies investigating the crimes,â€? Jones said. â€œWe will always be grateful for the hard work of the Attorney Generalâ€™s office and the Department of Public Safety and the continued support of the Public Utility Commission.â€?
Jones said ERCOT has made significant changes over the past two years in contracting procedures and business processes to build an environment of strong internal controls designed to prevent abuse of this kind in the future.
â€œThis is welcome news for the employees at ERCOT who want to see justice served to the individuals who betrayed our organization,â€? Jones said. â€œWe look forward to having this episode behind us.â€?
ERCOT is a membership-based 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation, governed by a board of directors and subject to oversight by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Texas Legislature. Its members include consumers, cooperatives, generators, power marketers, retail electric providers, investor-owned electric utilities, transmission and distribution providers and municipally owned electric utilities.