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Ex-WorldCom Official To Plead Guilty

Sep 26, 2002 | Newsday

The former controller of WorldCom Inc. is appearing in federal court at 3 p.m. Thursday and is expected to plead guilty to two felony counts in connection with his role in a multibillion-dollar accounting scandal at the telecommunications company.

David Myers is slated to appear before U.S. District Judge Richard Casey.

He was arrested in early August as part of a criminal complaint but was not charged in a later indictment filed by federal prosecutors. Earlier this month, Worldcom's former chief financial officer, Scott Sullivan, and WorldCom's former director of general accounting, Buford Yates Jr., pleaded innocent to securities fraud and conspiracy charges. They are accused of hiding billions of dollars in losses at the telecom giant.

At that time, prosecutors had filed papers indicating they were involved in plea negotiations with Myers and his lawyer and asked for a delay in Myers' case until Oct. 3. Now, it appears that the government will use Myers' testimony against Sullivan and possibly other former executives at the second-largest long-distance carrier.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has also filed a civil suit against WorldCom seeking to investigate the reasons for the fraud. Company officials have been cooperating with the SEC in its investigation. SEC lawyers could not be immediately reached for comment on what Myers' plea agreement would mean to its case.

The accounting maneuvers, first revealed in June, led to the company filing the biggest Chapter 11 bankruptcy in U.S. history, on July 21.

As part of the scandal, Myers, Sullivan and others are accused of allegedly hiding nearly $4 billion in expenses over 15 months at Jackson, Miss.-based WorldCom. The company has also announced that it has uncovered another $3.3 billion in accounting improprieties since 1999.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee held hearings this summer trying to determine if WorldCom's former chief executive, Bernard Ebbers, or others knew about the accounting fraud before they were discovered as part of an internal audit.


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