Ex-WorldCom CEO checks in for prison term
Bernard Ebbers sentenced to 25 years for role in the accounting fraud
The Associated Press
Updated: 1:51 p.m. CT Sept 26, 2006
JACKSON, Miss. - Former WorldCom chief Bernard Ebbers drove through
the gates of a federal prison Tuesday to begin a 25-year sentence for
his role in the $11 billion accounting fraud that toppled a company he
built from a tiny telecommunications firm to an industry giant.
Behind the wheel of a Mercedes he had driven from his home, Ebbers
pulled the bill of his cap down, shielding his face from reporters and
photographers, as he drove into the prison.
Ebbers left his upscale, brick-and-stucco home in a gated community in
the Jackson suburb of Ridgeland about 9 a.m. EDT and arrived shortly
after 2 p.m. at Oakdale.
At his home on Monday, he had refused to answer any questions and told
an Associated Press reporter to leave.
"You're not even supposed to be on this property," said Ebbers, 65, who
answered the door wearing a light blue golf shirt and blue jeans.
Ebbers walked outside, with a cigar in his mouth, to watch the
reporter leave his property.
Ebbers, a former high school basketball coach, took a small
telecommunications firm and transformed it into an industry giant
before the Clinton, Miss.-based WorldCom collapsed in bankruptcy in
"My overall sense of it is it's just a sad day," said Clinton Mayor
Rosemary Aultman, whose city had to deal with the economic fallout of
the scandal. "The collapse of WorldCom was a tragic ending to what had
been a fabulous story. So I think the overwhelming emotion continues to
be great sadness and disappointment."
U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones of New York told Ebbers during a
sentencing hearing in July 2005 that she would recommend Ebbers be
assigned to the Yazoo City Federal Correctional Facility -- about 50
miles northwest of Jackson -- to make it easier for his family to visit
him. But the recommendation was not followed.
"It's a decision of the (prison) bureau," said Mike Truman, a U.S.
Bureau of Prisons spokesman in Washington.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Ebbers' conviction and
sentence last month. His attorney has said they will continue to
appeal, but he has few options, said Ron Rychlak, associate dean of
the University of Mississippi School of Law.
"I understand they're going to ask the 2nd Circuit to reconsider the
case on whole. Three judges heard the case against him originally and he
could ask all the judges on the court to hear the case," Rychlak said.
"It's pretty rare. The other thing would be to ask the Supreme Court to
hear the case. That also is a very rarely granted situation."
Ebbers' attorney, Reid Weingarten, did not immediately respond to a
message left at his Washington office on Monday.
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.