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WorldCom Ex-CFO May Cop A Plea

Former CFO Sullivan Resumes Plea Talks With Prosecutors Who Are Looking For A Link To Ex-CEO Ebbers

Nov 10, 2002 | CNN/Money

WorldCom Inc.'s former chief financial officer Scott Sullivan has resumed talks with federal prosecutors that could lead to a guilty plea in his connection with the bankrupt telecom overstating its profits by at least $9 billion over the last three years, according to a published report Tuesday.

Facing a prison term of 65 years after being charged with seven felony counts, including securities fraud, Sullivan is considering cooperating with the government in hopes of landing a reduced prison sentence, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan still hopes to charge WorldCom's former CEO Bernard Ebbers in the accounting misstatement and believes a plea from Sullivan may lead them closer to Ebbers, the paper reported.

Sullivan, who is free on $10 million bail, had been in talks with prosecutors before his indictment in August, but those negotiations broke down over the length of prison time, according to the Journal.

Pressure for Sullivan to enter an agreement with the government has increased recently as four former WorldCom executives under Sullivan have pleaded guilty in connection with the accounting improprieties and could testify against him if the case goes to trial, the paper reported.

If he does strike a deal with the government, Sullivan would likely have to plead guilty to more charges than his subordinates, which could lead to a longer prison term. If the sentence is too long, Sullivan may still take his chances with a trial, according to the Journal.

Sullivan has told other WorldCom executives the accounting methods he used were proper and that he did nothing wrong, the paper reported.

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