Bernard Ebbers, the former CEO of WorldCom, was sentenced in July 2005 to 25 years in federal prison for his role in an $11 billion accounting fraud at the long-distance phone giant. Ebbers, who helped push his company into the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history, was also ordered to forfeit $45 million in assets, including his Mississippi mansion.
Ebbers’ sentence is believed to be the longest ever received by a CEO for committing corporate crimes at the helm of a Fortune 500 company. WorldCom, now known as MCI, filed for bankruptcy in 2002.
Ebbers, 63 at the time of his sentencing, could spend the rest of his life behind bars. He was convicted of nine felonies in March 2005, which carried a maximum prison term of 85 years. He lost his appeal in July 2006 and started serving his sentence two months later.