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Issue: "What is art?," March 20, 2004

Bernard Ebbers, founder and former CEO of WorldCom, pleaded not guilty on March 3 to charges that he misled investors in the formerly high-flying telecom giant. He was released on $10 million bail and ordered not to leave the country pending his trial on Nov. 9.

Mr. Ebbers, a professing Christian and prominent supporter of Promise Keepers, resigned from WorldCom in 2002 after it was discovered that he borrowed hundreds of millions from the company to cover his losses in the stock market. Weeks later, WorldCom was rocked by an $11 billion accounting scandal, and the company has been in bankruptcy ever since. Mr. Ebbers faces up to 25 years in prison.

Jeffrey Skilling, former CEO of Enron, was hit on Feb. 19 with a federal indictment listing 35 counts of fraud and insider trading. More than 4,000 employees lost their jobs and much of their savings when the Houston-based energy company collapsed in December 2001.

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The government's star witness in the case is Andrew Fastow, Enron's former chief financial officer. In exchange for cooperating with the Justice Department, he'll go to prison for about 10 years, while Mr. Skilling could serve more than twice that, if convicted. Mr. Skilling's trial will be scheduled in mid-March.

Dennis Kozlowski, former CEO of Tyco International, is in the sixth month of a marathon trial in which he stands accused of grand larceny, falsifying business records, and violating state business laws. The Justice Department alleges that Mr. Kozlowski, along with Mark Swartz, his former CFO, looted the company of some $170 million. The pair is also charged with making $430 million by lying about the company's financial health in order to boost its stock price. Both could face more than 25 years in prison when the trial concludes later this year.


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