WorldCom's former director of accounting Buford "Buddy" Yates and controller David Myers were each sentenced to a year and a day in prison on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, for their roles in the company's $11 billion accounting fraud.
Yates was also fined $5,000 and given three years probation. By tacking a day onto the sentences, both men can request a short reduction in time served for good behavior.
Nearly three years ago, Yates pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy and securities fraud charges and Myers pleaded guilty to fraud, conspiracy and filing false financial documents charges. Both men has faced 15 years or more in prison and fines over $1 million. But like others who assisted in the case against former chief executive Bernard Ebbers, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison last month, the men received a lighter sentence from U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Jones.
Yates has said he was pressured by superiors to falsify the telecommunications company's books to help met profit expectations. Myers has admitted working closely with Ebbers and former chief financial officer Scott Sullivan to boost WorldCom's profits by booking questionable revenue. The accounting fraud allowed WorldCom to report higher earnings in its quarterly and annual financial statements, ballooning its actual earnings by a false $5 billion.
On Thursday, Sullivan, the prosecution's star witness against Ebbers and the last WorldCom official remaining to be sentenced, will appear before Jones to receive his punishment.
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