Bernie Ebbers, the man at the helm when WorldCom, once the largest company in America (market cap) which turned out to be an $11-billion fraud. Mr. Ebbers was sentenced to 25 years, and had served about 13 years when a federal judge granted a release due to his frail health and what his daughter describes as dementia. WorldCom declared bankruptcy, which topped Enron at that time as the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history.
Testimony from former employees about being instructed to cook WorldCom’s books to reduce expenses in order to make WorldCom look profitable resulted in the Ebbers conviction. WorldCom’s CFO, Scott Sullivan, facing 25 years, sang like a canary, and got five years. After serving most of his sentence, he was released on home confinement and three years of probation in 2009. He lives in Boca Raton. Bankruptcy laws at the time provided homestead exemptions for many of the Enron-era execs for their Florida mansions. Mr. Ebbers will go home to Mississippi to live with family.