DURING THE financial boom of the 1990s, Bernard J. Ebbers, a former basketball coach, bought up a number of telecommunications companies under the WorldCom umbrella. From 1999 to 2000, World Com engaged in the largest accounting fraud in history. The company systematically billed billions of dollars of routine business costs as capital expenditures to make it appear that the company was making enormous profits while it was actually losing millions of dollars a year. Investors who bought stocks according to the inflated prices discovered that their stocks were virtually worthless. Overall, WorldCom's accounting fraud amounted to approximately $11 billion.

Discovery of WorldCom's fraud led to investigations by the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), several states, Canada, and Mexico. Investigators also investigated a ...

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