Ebbers Sentenced To 25 Years Of Appeals

from the fighting-it... dept

Instead of the usual slap on the wrist, it appears that District Court has handed down a 25-year sentence on Bernie Ebbers for the $11 billion Worldcom fraud. Sure, it’s less then you might get for stealing a mobile phone, but it’s still a hefty sentence — and should worry some other corporate execs facing fraud charges. Ebbers, of course, will appeal, so it’s likely that there’s still plenty more to come in this saga.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Ebbers Sentenced To 25 Years Of Appeals”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
blankmeyer (user link) says:

Good Precedent

I posted about this on my blog (http://blankmeyer.blogspot.com/2005/07/worldcom-ceo-sentenced-to-prison.html):

In proof that the legal system in this country is not completely broken, Bernard Ebbers was sentenced to 25 years in prison for his role in the fraud he oversaw at WorldCom. I think those in charge of corporations and businesses need to be held accountable and this sets a good precedent. I’d like to see more prosecutions of CEOs whose companies knowingly defraud consumers, employees, or the public in general.

Pussy says:

Re: Good Precedent

I tend to think that this proves, once and for all, that the criminal ?justice? system IS horrendously flawed, and irreparably broken.

This sets yet another HORRIBLE, and COMPLETELY INAPPROPRIATE precedent.

I think everyone is for accountability, and everyone wants to see the various CEOs held responsible for the various cases of corporate fraud that they were responsible for. EVERYONE is for that – liberal, conservative, intelligent or Bush supporter – EVERYONE wants that.

But how the fuck does sentencing a CEO to a prison term of ANY length, benefit ANYONE? Ebbers is in jail. Yippee Skippy. So fucking what? Where is my money, bitch? Ebbers is not a violent criminal, he poses no threat to the public, as a result, he should not be in prison. He should be sentenced to doing something that will provide some form of restitution.

While having him sit in prison and rotting may satisfy some lizard-brain need to punish, it does NOTHING to rectify the damage caused.

Is our society really so busted-ass that the only solution to problems – to ANY problem – is to put people in prison? Are we truly THAT stupid as a people now?

Putting a CEO in prison does not make him, or her, responsible for his, or her, crimes; It does not make them accountable for the damage that they have done — it just makes them OLD(er). It MIGHT be punishment, but it is not a solution, it is not restitution, and it surely is not accountability.

nonuser says:

Re: Re: Good Precedent

There are several reasons to throw someone in jail: punishment/justice, deterence (of others who might be tempted to do something similar), isolation (of menaces to society), rehabilitation. Jailing Ebbers and Kozlowski accomplishes the first two.

As for the benefits of isolation, well, Richard Scrushy is already talking about making a comeback since his acquittal. He has the soul of one of those televangelist charlatans that we used to see back in the ’80s.

These guys screwed over lots of ordinary folks, as well as rich investors. Many are now financially ruined.

How would you deal with a professional swindler who sold widows real estate in Florida that didn’t exist? It’s the same situation.

Pussy says:

Re: Re: Re: Good Precedent

1) Punishment and justice are two separate concepts, tenuously related, but distinctly separate. Punishment MAY in some rare cases lead to justice, but justice never requires punishment. Restitution, rehabilitation, and accountability, but not punishment.

I hope it is justice, and not punishment that we are ultimately seeking.

2) The idea that prison (or any potential consequence, truthfully) serves as a deterrent to other criminals is a very nice, very popular, politically active, fallacy. It is bullshit. If the threat of potential consequences was truly a deterrent, there would be virtually no crime in the united states at all. As it is, we imprison a larger number, AND a larger percentage of our population than ANY OTHER industrialized nation in the world. Including CHINA. And yet we have one of the worst crime rates in the world as well. If prison worked as a deterrent, the large numbers of ?deterrents? sitting in our prisons would ensure that we had the lowest crime rate. In truth, we have such a horrible crime rate BECAUSE we imprison so many people – but that is a separate issue.

Do you want to know why punishment – in any form – does not serve as a ?deterrent?? It is because no one thinks that they are going to get caught. Everyone thinks that they are smarter, or craftier, or sneakier, or just a bigger bad-ass than law enforcement, and they think that they will get away with it. The question of punishment does not fit into the reasoning process – because it is not an expected outcome. When planning a crime, no one thinks ?Gee, is selling this kilo of cocaine worth spending 30 years in prison?? people think ?Hey?. how can I get away with selling this kilo of cocaine????

3) Rehabilitation. While rehabilitation SHOULD take place in prison, and while it was the primary purpose of the penitentiary system when it was started in the United States in the 1800?s it no longer does take place. Part of the problem is with lack of concern, part of it is with a lack of funding, but most of it has to do with overcrowding, which naturally only exacerbates the first two problems. Perhaps if we were not locking people up for crimes that do not merit incarceration, (any non-violent crime, drugs, etc) we would have space, resources, and the will to rehabilitate the offenders that we do have locked up. As things are today however, we do lock up people inappropriately, and so we do not have the resources, or the will to rehabilitate anyone. That means that while this is not a bad idea, it is, in today?s political climate, BUNK.

4) Isolation. Isolation is the ONLY reason to put someone in prison. To prevent the incorrigible, un-rehabilitatable person from harming people in the general population. That is it – there is no other reason.

5) You are right that this is essentially the same as selling non-existent real estate to widows, but don?t let the heinousness of the crime, and your normal, healthy, emotional reaction cloud your thinking.

Whatever response I would make to a professional swindler of this type would involve restitution – to the little old ladies? Another component is going to be an opportunity for the little old ladies to confront the swindler face to face – something which is currently denied to them by our criminal justice system. A third component is going to be a real process of rehabilitation – one which the swindler bears the burden of paying for, but is mandated to complete to the satisfaction of professionals. A fourth component is to make sure that this swindler is never again allowed to sell anything more expensive than a vacuum cleaner – at least until he has made full restitution to the little old ladies. A fifth component is going to involve input from the little old ladies. This way, everyone benefits, the widows, the society at large, and even (perhaps especially) the swindler.

Now that I have answered your question – I just ask one question of you. How does a prison term benefit anyone? The widows gain nothing (in many cases they are harmed), the swindler is obviously harmed in many ways, and the society that imprisons the swindler picks up the tab? and receives back a super swindler in 10-15 years. So how does prison benefit anyone? Why would anyone want this system?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Ken Lay Free as a Bird

Alaric, Kenny’s trial isn’t scheduled until January, 2006 (see http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/special/enron/3118549). So, as a lefty, please tell me which one you don’t believe in:

– Bail
– Innocent until proven guilty
– Trial by jury

Personally, I hope he gets jail, but we have a set of procedures in this country that we have to follow – it’s in a document called the Constitution.

alaric says:

Re: Re: Ken Lay Free as a Bird

I don’t believe in suspected felons getting special treatment because they gave lots of cash to the party in control.

If only ebbers had a private jet to fly GWB around during the contested election of 2000 like Kenny bay, Bernie would be free.

Lay will not go to jail and not for lack of guilt but because he is owed favors and is a potential embarrassment to the current admalistration.

nonuser says:

Scrushy (HealthSouth) got off scot free

but Kozlowski (Tyco) and the Rigas’s (Adelphia) had the book thrown. This is for all us followers of the WHEAT (WorldCom HealthSouth Enron Adelphia Tyco) CEOs.

And all the top guys in the Wall Street banks and Big 5 Accounting firms got off too, although their employers took a hit in some cases.

alaric says:

Re: Scrushy (HealthSouth) got off scot free

Most of the ceos have gotten off scot free and the republican financed recall in california was a great aid to kenny boy and enron. Lt. Gov bustamante was suing enron for fraud and trying to get back money from enron. Gov. Arnold, who recieved considerable support from enron, has backed off from that lawsuit.

But thank god we got martha. The DoJ has probably put more money into crucifying martha stewart than in investigating and attempting to prosecute kenny boy. Martha broke the law. Lay hurt a lot more people and broke far more laws.

I never knew law enforcement was a “lefty” issue. It is actually a market issue because crooked businessmen ultimately compromise confidence in the market as well as its efficiency.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...