Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Ex-CEO Bernie Ebbers sentenced to 25 years

Well, at least one of the corporate scandal masterminds is getting his due. Bernie Ebbers, the former CEO of WorldCom whose extra-legal maneuverings finally came to roost after his actions torpedoed a telecom giant was given 25 years in prison as his sentence.

::::::::Former WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers was sentenced Wednesday to 25 years in prison for his role in the telecommunications giant's $11 billion accounting fraud.

The sentence was handed down by Judge Barbara Jones of Manhattan federal court, three years after WorldCom collapsed in the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history.

I took special exception to the defense lawyers' suggestion that the judge show leniency due to Ebber's "heart condition" and his charitable works. And what, may I ask, about the medical conditions of the employees who were dropped on their heads without paycheck or insurance after the company collapsed? What about the retirees who were counting on the assets they had invested in a company they were assured - repeatedly - was not just doing OK but was doing so great they should move more of their investments over to it. It's not like these people did so carelessly. All the available information (carefully manipulated at Ebbers' command) showed exactly what Ebbers was telling them. All the money so invested simply evaporated - gone without a trace. What about their medical conditions, now either without treatment or presenting a financial burden they were sure they had provided for?

And charity? Oh, please. I could be damn charitable if I managed to siphon off millions of other people's dollars and funnel it into my own account. Hey, I'd be the toast of the charity circuit out here. They'd be creating awards and naming buildings after me. I'd like to know just how charitable he could have or would have been without all that illegally-obtained cash.

Ebbers made his bead, now let him lie on it where he belongs. Behind bars with all the other crooks.