Accounting & Tax

Former WorldCom Controller Sentenced

David Myers was the first executive to plead guilty for his role in the company's fraud.
Stephen TaubAugust 10, 2005

Former WorldCom Inc. controller David Myers, a key witness at the trial of former chief executive officer Bernard Ebbers, was sentenced Wednesday to one year and one day in prison for his role in the telecom company’s massive fraud, according to the press reports.

This is exactly the same sentence handed down on Tuesday to Buford “Buddy” Yates, WorldCom’s former director of general accounting.

According to the Associated Press, U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones said Myers’ criminal conduct was “significant” but that she was rewarding his early acceptance of responsibility in the fraud. Myers said he would regret what he did for the rest of his life, according to the report.

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In September 2002, Myers was the first WorldCom executive to plead guilty for his role in the company’s fraud. The charges — filing false documents with securities regulators, conspiracy to commit fraud, and securities fraud — carried a possible total sentence of 20 years in prison.

During that court appearance, he reportedly told U.S. District Judge Richard Casey, “I was instructed on a quarterly basis by senior management to ensure that entries were made to falsify WorldCom’s books to reduce WorldCom’s actual reported costs and therefore to increase WorldCom’s reported earnings.”

Asked at the time whether he knew what he did was wrong, Myers reportedly responded, “Yes sir, I did.”

On Thursday, former chief financial officer Scott Sullivan, the star witness against Ebbers, learns how much time he’ll spend behind bars. (Match your best prediction against the results of an informal of CFO writers and editors.)