New Charges For WorldCom Big

Federal prosecutors brought new charges Monday against former WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers, accusing him of making false filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

A new indictment returned by a federal grand jury includes six new counts against Ebbers — one count for each quarterly or annual report that WorldCom Inc. filed from late 2000 through early 2002.

Ebbers was already facing federal fraud and conspiracy charges related to the collapse of the former telecommunications titan, the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history.

Ebbers' lawyer did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

The 62-year-old former chief executive is scheduled to go to trial in November on charges that he cooked the books at WorldCom, presiding over an $11 billion accounting fraud.

Federal prosecutors indicted Ebbers in March after the former No. 2 official at WorldCom, chief financial officer Scott Sullivan, agreed to plead guilty and testify against him.

A hearing in the case — scheduled before prosecutors announced the new charges — was set for Tuesday.

Ebbers resigned from WorldCom in April 2002, well after the company's stock price had begun a steady decline but only soon after questions began to swirl about the company's finances.

Two months later, WorldCom announced it had uncovered nearly $4 billion in hidden expenses — the beginning of a spiral that would become the largest corporate fraud in U.S. history. The fraud is now estimated at $11 billion.

WorldCom filed for bankruptcy on July 21, 2002.

A WorldCom report released in June 2003 said Ebbers fostered a poisonous corporate culture and said he was "aware, at a minimum, that WorldCom was meeting revenue expectations through financial gimmickry."