After eight days of jury deliberation, former WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers was found guilty of fraud, conspiracy and filing false documents which led to the massive $11 billion accounting fraud at the telecommunications carrier. Ebbers, 63, faces up to 85 years in prison. His sentencing has been scheduled for June 13. Ebbers was forced out in April 2002, just months before the largest accounting fraud in U.S. history began to unravel. The Clinton, Miss.-based WorldCom was eventually forced into bankruptcy. At his trial in federal court here, Ebbers portrayed himself as "unschooled in accounting," and therefore not sophisticated enough in financial matters to gauge what was going on at the company. His defense team had tried to portray former WorldCom CFO Scott Sullivan as the engineer behind the WorldCom fraud. Sullivan, who pleaded guilty to fraud and conspiracy charges in hopes of receiving a lighter sentence, was expected to be sentenced following the completion of the Ebbers trial. Ebbers still faces civil litigation, which will include MCI - the new post-bankruptcy incarnation of WorldCom -- which backed Ebbers' roughly $400 million in personal loans when Bank of America demanded larger collateral when the company's stock price began plunging.
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