First WorldCom Accountants Sentenced

Two of the lowest ranking officials participating in the conspiracy responsible for the $11 billion fraud that brought down WorldCom were sentenced on Friday, August 5. Three more former WorldCom executives, accounting director Buford Yates, controller David Myers and chief financial officer Scott Sullivan, will be sentenced this week.

Betty Vinson, a former mid-level accounting manager at WorldCom, was sentenced to five months in prison to be followed by five months of house arrest. Vinson testified for the government in the trial of Bernard Ebbers, WorldCom’s former Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

“Had Ms. Vinson refused to do what she was asked, it’s possible this conspiracy might have been nipped in the bud,” U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones said in handing down the sentence, the Associated Press reports.

Judge Jones ordered Vinson to begin serving her sentence on November 7, according to Reuters. Although federal probation officials will make the final determination regarding where Vinson will serve her time, Reuters reports her lawyer requested she be sent to a prison near Jackson, Mississippi so she could be close to family and friends.

In a separate proceeding in Judge Jones court, Troy Normand, another former WorldCom accounting official, was sentenced to three years probation. Prosecutor David Anders asked for leniency, telling the court that Normand’s role was simply to see that WorldCom’s books had been changed and required no independent thought, according to the Associated Press. Normand also testified against Ebbers. The Associated Press reports Normand apologized to the thousands of WorldCom employees who lost jobs and investors who lost money in the collapse before he was sentenced.

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