Ex-Worldcom CEO Ebbers granted early release from jail due to ill health

Disgraced former Worldcom Chief Executive Bernard Ebbers will be released early from prison because of health reasons (AFP Photo/STAN HONDA)

New York (AFP) - Disgraced former Worldcom chief executive Bernard Ebbers will be released from prison early due to his poor health, a US prosecutor in Manhattan said Wednesday.

Ebbers, 78, has served about 13 years of his original 25-year sentence following his 2005 conviction as the mastermind of one of the biggest accounting frauds in history.

Worldcom went under in 2002 following an $11 billion fraud scheme that was part of a wave of scandals in the early 2000s that spurred new anti-corruption laws in the US Congress.

Ebbers' family had sought a compassionate early release, saying he suffered severe mental and physical deterioration and experienced drastic loss of weight this year.

Prosecutors argued that Ebbers, who has been imprisoned in Fort Worth, Texas, had exaggerated his mental deterioration.