I have long maintained that corporate crooks who think they are above the law should not only go to jail, but also forfeit the assets they gained by there illegal shenanigans. This week was a big win in that regard.
Bernard "Bernie" Ebbers, the 63-year-old former CEO of WorldCom, was convicted last March of fraud, conspiracy and making false regulatory filings that led to the $11-billion accounting fraud and bankruptcy of his company. He still faces sentencing on those convictions, and experts say he is likely to be sentenced to at least 20 years in prison.
If he ever does get out, he will not be financially secure because of his crime. In a settlement with investors and the company, Ebbers will now forfeit almost all of his holdings. He must give up his multi-million dollar Mississippi home and move out by October 31. He also will be stripped of his stakes in a golf course, a lumber company, a trucking company, a rice farm, and 300,000 acres of timberland in Mississippi.
When first accused, this criminal retreated to his church in Mississippi, and reportedly made a tearful plea that he had done nothing wrong. Tell that to the families who are still financially devastated by his fraudulent activity, made to enrich himself at everyone else's expense. Crooks like Ebbers are as bad for the economy, and the nation, as the terrorists who attacked us. It is fitting that he joins the thousands of employees and investors he cheated, by losing his home and wealth.
With the Rigas' of Adelphia in jail, and Ebbers to soon join them, I can only hope that the feds continue to follow the threads of deception in the telecom crash, and find evidence to implicate former Qwest CEO, Joseph P. Nacchio. Under his "leadership", Qwest was left on the brink of bankruptcy, restating income of the Nacchio years. This arrogant S.O.B. left town with over a hundred million dollars of investors money in his pocket, decimated the state's economy and now is living the high life back in New Jersey. Joe, be afraid, be very afraid. I hope you are next!