Former WorldCom chief executive Bernard Ebbers was sentenced July 13 to 25 years in prison for his role in the fraud scheme at the telecom giant that led to the biggest corporate collapse in U.S. history.
"A sentence of anything less would not reflect the seriousness of the crime," U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones said in ordering the sentence. The term is effectively a life sentence for the 63-year-old Ebbers, who built one of the biggest U.S. telecom empires and became a symbol of the corporate scandals that rocked the financial world. Ebbers was ordered to report to a federal prison in Mississippi on October 12.
The sentence is nonetheless one of the stiffest in recent memory in a white-collar crime case and reflects the effort to crack down on corporate misconduct in the wake of the scandals at Enron, WorldCom and other companies that roiled financial markets and prompted legislative reforms.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2005