A federal judge has ordered former WorldCom Inc. chief executive Bernard Ebbers to report to prison on Sept. 26 to begin serving his 25-year sentence for accounting fraud.

A Manhattan federal judge recommended that Ebbers, 65, be sent to the Federal Correctional Institution in Yazoo City, Miss., but the Bureau of Prisons is not required to heed her request.

Ebbers has been free on bail while appealing his March 2005 conviction on nine counts of conspiracy, securities fraud and false regulatory filings in connection with an $11 billion accounting fraud that led to the July 2002 bankruptcy of Mississippi-based WorldCom.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit rejected Ebbers's appeal in July and while the deadline for filing an appeal to the Supreme Court has not yet passed, it is unusual for federal judges to wait for the high court's action before revoking a convicted defendant's bail and committing them to prison.

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