Report: WorldCom Suspends Three in Probe

WorldCom Inc. suspended three employees and froze the commissions of at least 12 salespeople as part of a broad investigation of an order-booking scandal that boosted sales commissions in three branch offices, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

WorldCom officials believe the employees may have booked as much as $4 million in illegitimate sales commissions, by taking credit for sales that were already accounted for by other divisions, but the company said the investigation should have no effect on its earnings, the Journal reported.

The three suspended employees will either be fired or asked to resign, the Journal reported. They include one of WorldCom's top revenue producers last year and another of the company's highest-ranked salespeople, the Journal said.

The investigation found that two managers improperly boosted their sales teams' commissions, which were used to calculate their own pay, while one sales representative knowingly boosted her own commission, the Journal said, citing WorldCom General Counsel Michael Salsbury.

The investigation centers around the company's Pentagon City office in Arlington, Va., but has spread to the company's Baltimore and Chicago offices, and further suspensions, terminations or resignations are possible, the Journal said.