Ebbers Dies at 78
CBJ — Former WorldCom co-founder and CEO Bernie Ebbers has died at the age of 78. Born in Edmonton, he passed away on Sunday in Mississippi.
Ebbers accomplished a great deal in his business career, but much of that success was tarnished in latter years after he was convicted in one of the largest corporate accounting scams in U.S. history while at WorldCom.
WorldCom went into bankruptcy in 2002, following revelations of an $11 billion accounting fraud that included pressure by top executives on subordinates to inflate numbers to make the company seem more profitable and appease investors. But the house of cards eventually came crumbling down and responsibility for the deceit went all the way to the top.
Ebbers went to trial in New York in 2005 on securities fraud and other charges and received a 25-year sentence.
In July 2019, Ebbers was released from prison on compassionate grounds due to rapidly declining health.
At his peak of success Ebbers had an estimated fortune of $1.4 billion — although a sizable percentage of that later turned out to be fraudulent.