Reaction to former WorldCom CEO's conviction

Wednesday, March 16th 2005, 5:29 am
By: News On 6

About a thousand Tulsa workers lost their jobs when WorldCom's financial problems came to light.

Former employee Mike Smith still remembers his feeling of awe the day CEO Bernard Ebbers came to Tulsa for a visit. Ebbers spoke informally with the workers and boosted morale in a time of crisis.

Employees had no idea how deep the scam went until WorldCom's accounting irregularities were revealed, and the company declared bankruptcy. Smith suspects Ebbers knew what was going on. He wasn't surprised at the guilty verdict, but he is shocked at how long Ebbers could be in prison. "It's a sentence I wouldn't wish on anybody to have to spend the rest of their life in prison, but if his actions required that kind of a consequence then, it's the choice he made."

Ebbers' sentencing is set for June 13. Oklahoma will file its own case against the convicted former CEO.

State officials say Ebbers will have a choice. He can plead guilty and serve a concurrent sentence, or face another trial here.