Feeds

Ebbers conviction - 'victory for individual responsibility'

See ya, don't wanna be ya

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Remote control for virtualized desktops

In case you missed it, Bernard J Ebbers has been found guilty of orchestrating the $11bn (£5.8bn) accounting fraud in the three years to July 2002 that led to the collapse of US telecoms giant WorldCom, the loss of 20,000 jobs and more than $100bn in stock value. Not bad for a man who made much of his humble roots as an ex-milkman and basketball coach whose grasp of accounting and technology were limited.

Throughout Ebbers' six week trial the former chief exec maintained he knew nothing of the book fiddling that brought the telecoms giant to its knees. Instead, he told the court he knew nothing and left all the financial matters to his bean counters.

When he did find out about the book fiddling, he was "shocked", he told the New York court - although probably not as shocked as he is now as he faces the possibility of spending the rest of his life behind bars.

City observers reckon Ebbers' conviction will act as a massive wake-up call to corporate America. Ebbers' "I didn't know, honest" defence just didn't wash with the jury even though there was no killer piece of evidence linking the "Telecom Cowboy" to the fraud.

He was the chief exec. He should have known. He could spot piddling amount of cash being spent on coffee for employees but multi-million dollar holes in the accounts?

Equally, the "liar, liar pants on fire" tactic employed by the prosecution as it wheeled out former CFO Scott Sullivan to finger Ebbers was enough to convict him. Sullivan admitted to using drugs while at WorldCom and coughed to carrying out the fraud. Whether his help securing the conviction of Ebbers will result in him receiving a lighter sentence remains to be seen.

Anyhow, it's now open season on Ebbers and the world and his dog are lining up to give him both barrels.

Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) which promotes ethics in public life said he was "greatly heartened" by Ebbers' conviction.

"Twenty thousand people lost their livelihoods because of Ebbers' greed. Ordinary people lost $600m from their pensions plans because Ebbers did not have enough houses, boats or automobiles. This is a victory for individual responsibility, which has been significantly eroded in our society. The largest financial fraud in American history didn't just happen. It resulted from the specific actions of specific individuals, who are now being made accountable."

Ebbers is due to be sentenced on 13 June and could spend the rest of his life in jail. He is expected to appeal the decision. ®

Related stories

Ebbers guilty of WorldCom fraud
Ebbers guilty on all counts
Ebbers was 'leader of the con'
Ebbers was 'intimidating' boss
WorldCom CFO lied, he admits to court
Ebbers failed to tell of book fiddling
Ebbers 'drove Worldcom fraud' - Sullivan
Sullivan fingers Ebbers in WorldCom fraud whodunnit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Big Content outs piracy hotbeds: São Paulo, Beijing ... TORONTO?
MPAA calls Canadians a bunch of bootlegging movie thieves
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
UK.gov pushes for SWIFT ACTION against nuisance calls, threatens £500k fines
DCMS seeks lowering of legal threshold to fight rogue firms
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
Hungary's internet tax cannot be allowed to set a precedent, says EC
More protests planned against giga-tariff for Tuesday evening
US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'
Netizens allegedly duped into paying for bogus tech advice
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
How to simplify SSL certificate management
Simple steps to take control of SSL certificates across the enterprise, and recommendations centralizing certificate management throughout their lifecycle.