Feeds

Ebbers conviction - 'victory for individual responsibility'

See ya, don't wanna be ya

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
MI6 oversight report on Lee Rigby murder: US web giants offer 'safe haven for TERRORISM'
PM urged to 'prioritise issue' after Facebook hindsight find
BT said to have pulled patent-infringing boxes from DSL network
Take your license demand and stick it in your ASSIA
Right to be forgotten should apply to Google.com too: EU
And hey - no need to tell the website you've de-listed. That'll make it easier ...
Assange™ slumps back on Ecuador's sofa after detention appeal binned
Swedish court rules there's 'great risk' WikiLeaker will dodge prosecution
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
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.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.