Worldcom CEO Ebbers Indicted
Bernard Ebbers, the Worldcom CEO who allegedly cooked the corporate books to conceal the company’s financial woes from investors, has been indicted. The indictment adds Ebbers to what the Associated Press terms the “swelling ranks of corporate chieftains facing criminal prosecution and possible jail time for financial misdeeds.”
The “swelling” of the federal prison population to date has been the product of the war on drugs (pdf), not a war on corporate fraud. Will those who puff profits now be prosecuted with the vigor once directed at those who puff roaches? Apparently they will, if you believe John Ashcroft (and who wouldn’t?), who wants the indictment to send a message: “No one,” Ashcroft said, “stands above the law.” Reassuring words from that bastion of respect for the rule of law.
But why hasn’t the Attorney General protected investors by hauling Ebbers to a detention camp, denying him access to lawyers or courts? If Ashcroft truly believes that the law applies equally to all, shouldn't he be giving Ebbers the Jose Padilla treatment?
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