RealTime IT News

WorldCom Finance Boss Gets Five Years

Former WorldCom finance chief Scott Sullivan was sentenced to federal prison today for his role in the largest accounting fraud scandal in U.S. history.

"Every day I regret what happened at WorldCom," he had told Judge Jones, according to a report published by the Associated Press. "I violated the trust placed in me. My actions are inexcusable."

He will not be fined and will not have to pay any further restitution, according to the report.

Sullivan, 43, had faced as much as 25 years in prison for his leading role in inflating revenues and hiding expenses at WorldCom.

However, his cooperation with prosecutors and his turn as the government's star witness against his former boss, Bernie Ebbers, spared him a longer term.

Sullivan testified that Ebbers, WorldCom's former CEO, pushed him every quarter from 2000 to 2002 to hit the marks set by Wall Street analysts -- regardless of the company's performance. He also testified that he helped create two sets of accounting books as part of his plans to inflate revenues.

He told a jury that the former CEO repeatedly pressured him to "hit our numbers" when the telecom giant was struggling to generate revenues.

Sullivan said he had discussions with Ebbers each time analysts adjusted their consensus ratings concerning WorldCom's earnings and revenue estimates, often driving stock prices down.