NEW YORK (AP) – The former chief financial officer who helped perpetrate an $11 billion accounting fraud at WorldCom won’t have to pay a dime to the Securities and Exchange Commission because his fortune has already been given up, regulators announced Thursday.

Disgraced WorldCom CFO Scott Sullivan, serving a five-year prison term, had agreed in a settlement that he owed nearly $13.6 million in penalties for his role in the scandal at the telecommunications company.

But the SEC said in legal papers filed in a federal court in Manhattan that Sullivan wouldn’t be forced to pay because he is out of money.

The once high-flying executive previously surrendered his $11 million mansion in Boca Raton, Fla., to settle a class action lawsuit filed by disgruntled WorldCom investors. He also gave up his depleted WorldCom retirement account, leaving him with nothing for regulatory fines.

In a related case, the SEC also announced Thursday that a former WorldCom accountant has agreed to pay $128,806 to settle charges related to the company’s bookkeeping fraud.

Mark P. Abide, WorldCom’s former director of property accounting, agreed to a five-year suspension as part of the deal, which doesn’t require him to acknowledge any wrongdoing.

According to an SEC complaint filed Thursday, Abide made improper accounting entries in WorldCom’s books to conceal improperly capitalized expenses.

In 2005, while testifying at the trial of the company’s former chief executive officer, Bernard Ebbers, Abide said he was repeatedly instructed to record billions of dollars in baseless accounting entries for assets he had never heard of.

Regulators charged that Abide also improperly sold nearly all of his WorldCom stock early in 2002 as the company’s financial collapse loomed, thereby avoiding $58,000 in losses.

The settlement must be approved by a judge.

The SEC said it has reached settlements with seven WorldCom accountants and executives, including Sullivan and Abide.

Lawyers for Sullivan and Abide did not immediately return telephone messages left at their offices Thursday evening.

In other court paperwork filed Thursday, the SEC said three other WorldCom accountants, Buford Yates, Betty Vinson and Troy Normand, also wouldn’t be subjected to penalties because they hadn’t received ill-gotten gains or had no money left to pay.

WorldCom, formerly based in Mississippi, was one of the nation’s largest long-distance telephone companies. It filed for bankruptcy in 2002 and later changed its name to MCI, which has since been sold to Verizon Communications Inc.

Ebbers was convicted of orchestrating the fraud and sentenced to 25 years in prison but is free while awaiting the outcome of his appeal.

AP-ES-07-27-06 1856EDT


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