A federal appeals court on Friday upheld the conviction of former WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers, the Associated Press reported. The ruling by the three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals could clear the way for Ebbers to begin serving a 25-year prison sentence, AP reports. Ebbers was convicted last July for overseeing a multibillion dollar accounting fraud at the broken telco. After WorldCom filed for bankruptcy protection in the summer of 2002, it reorganized as MCI and was acquired in January by Verizon ( VZ). Ebbers had argued on appeal that he had been denied a fair trial and that his lengthy prison sentence was unreasonable. But the court ruled Friday that Ebbers' actions to hide WorldCom's financial problems were substantial and had cost investors dearly.