14 July 2005 Bernie Ebbers, the disgraced former CEO of WorldCom, has been sentenced to 25 years imprisonment for his role in the $11 billion fraud that brought the US telecoms giant to its knees and changed the corporate landscape.
In March this year, US courts found Ebbers guilty of accounting fraud and filing seven false documents with regulators. His 25-year sentence is one of the most severe yet handed down in a white-collar crime case.
The collapse of WorldCom in 2002 has had a profound effect on the corporate landscape.
Initially 20,000 jobs were lost, and it created the largest bankruptcy filing in US corporate history.
Importantly it was one of the factors for US regulators to introduce the Sarbanes Oxley regulations, which have imposed tight controls over corporate accounting procedures, and made executives legally responsible for financial fillings.
This has prompted an increase in spending of business applications that can demonstrate compliance with the new regulations.
Five other WorldCom executives have pleaded guilty to fraud and are expected to face trial later this year.
In April, telecoms provider Verizon won a long-running bid against rival Qwest to acquire MCI – the renamed company which emerged from the bankruptcy protection under the leadership of former Compaq CEO Michael Capellas.