Ex-WorldCom CEO Ebbers reports to prison
By DOUG SIMPSON Associated Press Writer
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press
OAKDALE, La. -- Former WorldCom Corp. chief Bernard Ebbers drove through
the gates of a federal prison Tuesday to begin a 25-year federal prison
sentence on Tuesday for his role in the $11 billion accounting fraud
that toppled a company he built from a tiny telecommunications firm to
an industry giant.
Behind the wheel of a Mercedes he had driven from Mississippi, Ebbers
pulled the bill of his cap down, shielding his face from reporters and
photographers, as he drove into the prison.
Ebbers left his upscale, brick-and-stucco home in a gated community in
the Jackson suburb of Ridgeland about 8 a.m. Tuesday. He arrived
shortly after 1 p.m. at Oakdale.
At his home, he had refused to answer any questions and told an
Associated Press reporter to leave.
"You're not even supposed to be on this property," said Ebbers, 65, who
answered the door wearing a light blue golf shirt and blue jeans.
Ebbers walked outside, with a cigar in his mouth, to watch the
reporter leave his property.
Ebbers, a former high school basketball coach, took a small
telecommunications firm and transformed it into an industry giant
before the Clinton, Miss.-based WorldCom collapsed in bankruptcy in
"My overall sense of it is it's just a sad day," said Clinton Mayor
Rosemary Aultman, whose city dealt with the economic fallout of the
scandal. "The collapse of WorldCom was a tragic ending to what had been
a fabulous story. So I think the overwhelming emotion continues to be
great sadness and disappointment."
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Ebbers' conviction and
sentence last month. His attorney has said they will continue to appeal,
but he has few options, said Ron Rychlak, associate dean of the
University of Mississippi School of Law.
"I understand they're going to ask the 2nd Circuit to reconsider the
case on whole. Three judges heard the case against him originally and he
could ask all the judges on the court to hear the case," Rychlak said.
"It's pretty rare. The other thing would be to ask the Supreme Court to
hear the case. That also is a very rarely granted situation."
HoustonChronicle.com -- http://www.HoustonChronicle.com
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[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Well, did the justice system in America
work the way it should in this case? If you take his present age of
65, add a 25 year sentence to that, he will get out of prison at the
age of 90, if he lives that long, which is quite doubtful. An almost
'untouchable' man five years ago, and quite powerful, Ebbers has now
been brought down, although I am not sure it was entirely his fault.
Given the dishonest sales tactics of so many people telemarketing MCI
service over the years, I imagine a lot of them are today thanking
and praising God that _they_ were not selected instead of or in
addition to Ebbers. He said several times at his trial that he mostly
was a 'rubber stamp' on actions taken by his employees. PAT]