MCI-WorldCom Timeline, 1983-Present

Bernard Ebbers (search), the former chief executive of WorldCom Inc., Tuesday was found guilty of fraud, conspiracy and filing false documents related to the $11 billion accounting scandal at the telecommunications company.

The following is a chronology of key events in the history of WorldCom, which changed its name to MCI when it emerged from bankruptcy:

1983 - Businessmen Murray Waldron and William Rector plan to create a discount long-distance provider called LDDS (Long Distance Discount Service). Early investor Bernard Ebbers becomes chief executive officer of LDDS two years later.

1995 - LDDS acquires voice and data transmission company Williams Telecommunications Group Inc. (WilTel) for $2.5 billion cash and changes its name to WorldCom Inc.

1998 - WorldCom completes three mergers: MCI Communications Corp. (search) ($40 billion) — the largest in corporate history at the time — Brooks Fiber Properties Inc. ($1.2 billion) and CompuServe Corp. ($1.3 billion).

1999 - WorldCom and Sprint Corp. (FON) agree to merge. WorldCom shares peak at more than $64.

2000 - U.S. and European regulators block the proposed merger with Sprint; deal is terminated.


March 11 - WorldCom receives a request for information from the Securities and Exchange Commission relating to accounting procedures and loans to officers.

April 30 - WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers resigns amid SEC probe of the company's support of more than $400 million in personal loans. Vice Chairman John Sidgmore takes reins.

June 25 - WorldCom fires Chief Financial Officer Scott Sullivan (search).

June 26 - SEC files fraud charges against the company.

July 8 - Former WorldCom CEO Ebbers tells the U.S. Congress he did nothing wrong and refuses to answer questions. Ex-CFO Sullivan also refuses to testify. Former Salomon Smith Barney analyst Jack Grubman says he attended WorldCom board meetings, but denied having inside information about the company's woes.

July 21 - WorldCom files for Chapter 11, the largest bankruptcy in corporate history.

Aug. 1 - Ex-CFO Sullivan and former Controller David Myers are arrested and charged in a seven-count complaint accusing them of securities fraud and filing false statements with the SEC.

Aug. 28 - A New York grand jury indicts former CFO Sullivan and former director of general accounting, Buford Yates. Prosecutors file notices that they plan to file information against WorldCom's former controller, David Myers and two other WorldCom directors.

Nov. 15 - WorldCom names former Compaq Computer chief Michael Capellas (search) chairman and CEO.


March 13 - WorldCom says it would record almost $80 billion in charges to write off the value of goodwill, property, equipment and other intangible assets.

April 14 - WorldCom plans to change its name to MCI upon emerging from bankruptcy and it also appoints Robert Blakely as chief financial officer.

May 19 - WorldCom settles SEC charges stemming from its accounting irregularities.

Aug. 27 - Oklahoma Attorney General files charges against MCI, its former CEO Ebbers and others for violating state securities laws by giving false information to investors. The charges mark the first criminal charges against Ebbers.

Oct. 31 - Bankruptcy court judge approves MCI's reorganization plan, clearing the way for the company to emerge from bankruptcy.


Jan. 26 - Richard Thornburgh, a former U.S. attorney general appointed by the bankruptcy court as an independent examiner, issues report that says MCI is entitled to sue Ebbers, Citigroup and Andersen for their roles in the scandal. KPMG also faces potential claims, it says.

March 2 - Sullivan pleads guilty to criminal charges of conspiracy, fraud and making false statements about WorldCom's financial health to regulators.

Sullivan also resolved charges filed against him by the SEC and agreed to a lifetime ban of being an officer of a publicly traded company.

Sullivan agrees to cooperate in the government's probe against former Chief Executive Bernard Ebbers.

March 3 - Ebbers pleaded innocent to criminal charges related to MCI's $11 billion fraud. Charges against him included fraud, conspiracy and making false statements in connection with the accounting scandal.

March 12 - MCI settles state charges of securities fraud with Oklahoma attorney general in return for a promise to create new jobs in the state and help with the prosecution of former executives including Ebbers.

April 2 - The company agrees to pay $27 million to settle charges that it overbilled the U.S. government for telephone services.

April 20 - MCI exits bankruptcy, minus the infamous WorldCom name, and with about $5.7 billion in debt and $6 billion in cash.

July 9 - MCI files a lawsuit against its former chief executive Bernard Ebbers to recover more than $400 million in loans and interest.


Jan 25 - Fraud trial of former WorldCom Inc. Chief Executive Bernard Ebbers opens.

Feb 28 - Ebbers takes witness stand in his criminal trial and denies playing any role in the $11 billion accounting fraud at the telecommunications company.

March 15 - Ebbers found guilty by a federal jury of fraud, conspiracy and filing false documents with regulators. He faces up to 85 years in prison. Sentencing is slated for June 13.