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Let's Drink To Bernie Ebbers In Prison

March 15, 2005

I don't often need an excuse to raise a beer, but the news of Bernie Ebbers, former CEO of WorldCom, being found guilty of all nine counts filed against him is worth drinking to.

CNN says, "A federal jury in New York, on its eighth day of deliberations, convicted Ebbers on all nine counts that he helped mastermind a $11 billion accounting fraud at WorldCom, now known as MCI.

Ebbers, 63, had been charged with one count of conspiracy, one count of securities fraud and seven counts of filing false statements with securities regulators. He faces up to 85 years in prison, but sentencing guidelines are expected to result in a much shorter term.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 13."

Ebbers' primary defense was, "I knew nothing," and that day-to-day affairs were handled by minions. Pardon me, Mr. Ebbers, but you were CEO and took home hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation. Doesn't a salary like that mean you're supposed to know something? 

Second, is there anyone on the planet who doesn't know that when a company underwrites $400 million in personal loans to you, there *might* be something shady about it?

At age 63, it's likely that Bernie will spend his golden years folding prison uniforms. Maybe that will give small comfort to the people whose retirement funds were disappearing while he "didn't know."

TES




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