prison

I’m trying to remember the last time a member of society’s elite or one of industry’s captains was convicted and sentenced to prison and actually did the time. I mean a lot of people, some elected and many who finance elections always seem to manage to stay out of jail and keep their stuff while most Americans have to sell everything they own just to defend their innocence. Candidly, it seems that our government and industry are one big racketeering enterprise and Americans are expected to accept victimization as a way of life from economic boom to bust.

In the 80’s insider trading got Ivan Boesky and junk bonds took out Michael Milken. The 2001 Enron scandal provided convictions for CFO Andrew Fastow, CEO Jeff Skilling and the founder and now rumored to be dead Enron founder Ken Lay. Oh, but his conviction was vacated because he died before sentencing. Oh, brother. And WorldCom’s destruction took down a few more.

A few years ago Bernie Madoff the former non-executive chairman of the NASDAQ stock market and lion of Wall Street who was allowed to operate for close to 40 years with impunity received a hefty prison sentence. You remember Bernie, the guy who stole $65 billion on paper that turned out to be $18 billion of rich people’s money.