The former controller of WorldCom Inc. pleaded guilty Thursday to his role in a $7.2 billion accounting scandal at the telecommunications giant.
David F. Myers, 44 years old, of Madison, Miss., pleaded guilty to three felony counts at a hearing in front of U.S. District Judge Richard C. Casey in Manhattan.
The plea is the first in the continuing investigation into accounting fraud at WorldCom, which pushed the company into bankruptcy.
Mr. Myers is expected to testify against Scott Sullivan, WorldCom’s former chief financial officer, who is charged with orchestrating the fraud. Mr. Sullivan, 40, of Boca Raton, Fla., has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Mr. Myers’ guilty plea had been expected. Earlier in the month, prosecutors had noted in court papers that he and two former lower-level employees at WorldCom, Berry L. Vinson and Troy M. Normand, were cooperating with investigators.
WorldCom, Clinton, Miss., disclosed in June that it hid $3.8 billion in expenses and falsely posted profits over a five-quarter period beginning in early 2000. The company, which in July filed the largest bankruptcy in history, later expanded its planned financial restatement to $7.2 billion.
Messrs. Myers and Sullivan were arrested Aug. 1 and led away in handcuffs in a highly publicized “perp walk.”
The Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office, which is prosecuting the case, secured an indictment against Mr. Sullivan on Aug. 28 after plea talks with him broke down. Former WorldCom accounting executive Buford Yates also was indicted and has pleaded not guilty.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney James Comey has said the massive accounting fraud at WorldCom stunned people “by the brazen nature of the bookkeeping tricks.”