Having started with a modest capital of less than 100,000 USD in 1983, WorldCom reached great heights by 2000 and became America’s second-largest telecom company. By 2002, they reported more than USD 39 billion in revenue and USD 150 million MCAP (The WorldCom Accounting Scandal, 2002), reaching 42nd place on the Fortune 500 list.
WorldCom was the first company to introduce nationwide long-distance service in the USA at reasonable rates and quickly captured a huge share of the US long-distance market.
Under the dynamic and visionary leadership of Bernard J. Ebbers, WorldCom expanded rapidly through a series of more than 50 acquisitions between 1986 and 1998 (The WorldCom Accounting Scandal, 2002). These included major purchases such as MCI Communications in 1998 (The WorldCom Accounting Scandal, 2002).
The WorldCom scandal is among the most significant corporate accounting scandals in American history. In 2002, it was revealed that telecommunications company WorldCom had engaged in fraudulent accounting practices for five quarters spanning 2001 and early 2002.
WorldCom, a large telecommunications company, and Arthur Andersen LLP, an accounting firm, were at the heart of this major accounting fraud. The scandal that unfolded at WorldCom ultimately led the company to file for bankruptcy in 2002—the largest corporate bankruptcy in American history.
The fraud was of a very big scale and the company had to suffer a lot because of it. The company was not able to cope up with the challenges and had to file for bankruptcy in July 2002.
The WorldCom scandal is considered as one of the biggest business scandals in American history. It led to the fall of one of the biggest telecommunications company of that time. The company had to suffer greatly because of the fraud and ultimately filed for bankruptcy. The people who were involved in the scandal were also punished according to the law. Thus, the WorldCom scandal is an important event in American corporate history.
The company then let go of the top executive, including Scott Sullivan (the Chief Financial Officer) and David Myers (the Senior Vice President and Controller). Myers was fully aware that the accounting entries being made had no supporting documentation, went against GAAP standards, were not disclosed to investors, and were only done so WorldCom would appear to be meeting quarterly earnings estimates by Wall Street analysts.
Myers also knew that the true purpose of the entries was to increase WorldCom’s reported earnings, and he knew that this was done without proper documentation or justification. Myers admitted that he was aware of the false and misleading nature of the entries, and that he did not believe they were properly recorded.
Myers pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. He was sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to pay a $30 million fine. As a result of his offense, Myers forfeited all rights to his pension and other benefits from WorldCom.
Myers made false statements or omissions to WorldCom’s independent auditors during audits and the preparation of filings with the Commission which violated the anti-fraud, books and records, and internal control provisions of the federal securities laws. Not only did Myers break these law provisions, but he also helped Violate reporting, bookkeeping, and internal control portion existence of securities act via his actions.
Myers also caused WorldCom to file materially false and misleading statements with the Commission in violation of the reporting and books and records provisions of the federal securities laws.
As a result of Myers’s conduct, WorldCom made false and misleading filings with the Commission, which included overstated assets and earnings, and failed to make required disclosures regarding certain significant business transactions and other matters.
The company’s share price dropped precipitously when these problems came to light, causing substantial losses for investors.
WorldCom emerged from bankruptcy in 2004 as MCI Inc., and in 2005, MCI was acquired by Verizon Communications.
Myers agreed to settle these charges by paying a $500,000 penalty and consenting to the entry of a final judgment that permanently bars him from serving as an officer or director of a public company.
David Myers was the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of WorldCom Inc. from 1998 to 2000, during which time he oversaw the accounting practices that led to the largest financial restatement in U.S. history.
In March 2005, Myers reached a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), under which he agreed to pay a $500,000 fine and be barred from serving as an officer or director of a public company.
Myers’ role in the WorldCom scandal came to light in 2002, when it was revealed that he had directed the company’s accounting department to falsify WorldCom’s books in order to hide the company’s true financial condition.
The SEC filed suit against Myers in June 2003, alleging that he had violated federal securities laws by engaging in a “massive financial fraud.”
According to the SEC, from 1999 to 2001, Myers oversaw the creation of false entries in WorldCom’s books and records, which resulted in the overstatement of WorldCom’s earnings by $3.8 billion.
Myers also allegedly made false and misleading statements to WorldCom’s auditors, which led to the filing of false and misleading financial statements with the SEC.
If the WorldCom Company CFO and Director had followed good organizational behavior theories, they could have saved the organization from failure. Organizational theories help companies survive in global environments by providing guidance on best practices.
The WorldCom Company was one of the largest telecommunications companies in the United States. The company provided long-distance phone services and operated a large Internet backbone. It all started when the chief financial officer, Scott Sullivan, and the director of general accounting, David Myers, began disguising line costs as capital expenses.
By doing this they were able to make it look like WorldCom was meeting its earnings targets when it was actually not. This created a domino effect throughout the organization as other employees followed suit in an effort to keep up with unrealistic expectations.
As a result of this fraudulent activity, WorldCom filed for bankruptcy in 2002. Many people lost their jobs and retirement savings as a result of the scandal. The company was fined $2.25 billion and CEO Bernard Ebbers was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
While the WorldCom scandal is a clear example of what can happen when organizational theories are not followed, it is also important to note that there are many different theories out there and no one theory is perfect. Different organizations will find different theories more or less applicable to their own unique situations. However, the WorldCom scandal does serve as a reminder of the importance of adhering to good organizational theories in order to avoid disaster.