Why Bernie Before Kenny-Boy?

Here are some of the reasons WorldCom's Ebbers is in the dock while Enron's Lay remains on deck

In the public mind, former WorldCom (WCOEQ ) CEO Bernard J. Ebbers and ex-Enron CEO Kenneth L. Lay are closely linked. Both rose from humble roots to build dynamic New Economy powerhouses that turned out to be financial shams. And both distanced themselves from the disasters by blaming ambitious underlings. Claiming to be ignorant of the day-to-day operations of their companies, they pointed to the lack of any direct evidence linking them to the alleged frauds. That, in turn, made them a focal point for critics who complained that the long arm of the law doesn't reach into the corner office.

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