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July 19, 2002: WorldCom's bankruptcy
July 19, 2002: WorldCom's bankruptcy
Former WorldCom CEO Bernie Ebbers, left, and CFO Scott Sullivan.
Over more than a decade of wheeling and dealing, Bernie Ebbers built the second-biggest long-distance carrier, after AT&T. But it began to unravel with the late 2001 collapse of Enron, reaching a head in the spring of 2002, as investors burned by the collapse of Enron fled companies with questionable accounting.

It soon became clear that WorldCom's books were larded with billions of dollars in inflated revenues and misstated costs. And WorldCom was far from the last casualty in what became known as the year of the scandal: Within weeks, big accounting frauds were unmasked at conglomerate Tyco and cable TV company Adelphia, to name just two.

Ebbers and his righthand man, Scott Sullivan, were later jailed for fraud, as were top execs at Enron, Tyco and Adelphia.

NEXT: Aug. 27, 2003: Grasso's $139 million payday

Last updated December 16 2009: 10:24 AM ET
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