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- Bernard Ebbers
- Fraud and Conspiracy
- 25 Year Prison Sentence
The arrest of Bernard Ebbers:
He made the kind of "top ten list" no one wants to be associated with, when Time magazine called him the tenth most corrupt CEO of all time.
Bernard John Ebbers was the co-founder and former chief executive of WorldCom, a telecommunications company. Born in Canada, he spent time in California and New Mexico while he was growing up, because his father was a travelling salesman.
Ebbers started his business career running a motel chain in Mississippi and then helped form a company called Long Distance Discount Services (LDDS) in 1983.They changed its name to WorldCom and acquired MFS Communications in a twelve billion dollar deal in 1996.
WorldCom even proposed a nearly forty billion dollar takeover of MCI, the original upstart against AT&T in the long distance business.
It culminated in 1999 when Ebbers announced a 115 billion dollar bid for rival Sprint Communications. However, antitrust objections in the U.S. and Britain forced WorldCom to ditch the plan.
Much of Ebbers personal possessions were bought using loans backed by his WorldCom stock. When the stock price declined, the company's board of directors authorized a series of loans and loan guarantees so he wouldn't have to sell his shares to pay off the debts.
Ebbers resigned from WorldCom in April 2002 and by 2005, he was convicted of fraud and conspiracy in a false financial reporting scandal.
He's pictured here with his wife Kristie leaving Federal Court in New York City.
It was the biggest accounting scandal in U.S history, only to be outdone by the Bernard Madoff scandal in 2008.
Ebbers is currently serving a 25 year prison sentence at the Oakdale Federal Correctional Complex in Louisiana.