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Bernard Ebbers, former CEO of WorldCom Inc.— now doing business as MCI— was indicted today for conspiracy and securities fraud for his alleged role in inflating the value of the company’s stock in light of its weakening financial condition. The charges came shortly after the company’s former chief financial officer, Scott Sullivan, pleaded guilty to related criminal charges.

In a filing with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft announced at a press conference in Manhattan this afternoon that the U.S. government has charged that Ebbers, Sullivan and other WorldCom officials knew about the company’s poor finances, but that Ebbers insisted that false results be reported publicly. Ebbers and Sullivan agreed that fraudulent entries would be made in the company’s books, including revenue, income, line cost expenses, earnings per share and EBITDA, the government charged.

Ebbers and Sullivan were also charged with making false statements and misleading omissions in conference calls with securities analysts. In February, 2000, for example, Ebbers is reported to have said in an interview that WorldCom was a “sound financial company.”

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