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WorldCom Figure Enters Guilty Plea

Oct 12, 2002 | Jackson Clarion Ledger

Mississippi Attorney General Mike Moore wrapped up a stellar week for prosecutors when he won the fourth guilty plea from a former WorldCom executive in five days.

Former WorldCom controller David Myers, 45, entered a guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud in Hinds County Circuit Court on Friday. His was the first guilty plea on the state level.

Myers pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy and securities fraud charges in New York last month.

He faces up to five years in prison and a fine of $5,000 on the Mississippi charge, though sentencing has been deferred. He faces up to 20 years in prison on the federal charges.

"We made the choice to pursue state charges against this particular defendant, and there may be others we may pursue state charges against," Moore said. "We, of course, are working in partnership with the U.S. attorney in New York."

Myers' state guilty plea came a day after two of his subordinates pleaded guilty to conspiracy and securities fraud charges in federal court in New York.

Betty Vinson, 47, WorldCom's former director of management reporting, and Troy Normand, 35, director of legal entity accounting, both face up to 15 years in prison.

Normand and Vinson reported to Buford "Buddy" Yates, former director of accounting. Yates pleaded guilty to federal charges on Monday. Yates reported to Myers, who reported to fired Chief Financial Officer Scott Sullivan.

Sullivan has maintained his innocence since June when the accounting scandal erupted, claiming obscure accounting rules made his treatments of WorldCom expenses legal.

Prosecutors say that by hiding $7.2 billion in expenses, Sullivan made WorldCom appear profitable while it was actually losing money. He has been charged with breaking seven federal laws related to false financial statements.

Bernie Ebbers, WorldCom's ousted chief executive officer, is widely believed to be the target of state and federal investigators, but no charges have been filed against him. The Brookhaven resident has maintained his innocence in the matter.

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