So, you know the most expensive bail ever set was for some Wall Street fat cat in the ’80’s?
Yeah, did you know he paid it?
Ah, the good ol’ days of the negligent 1980’s. Let’s pine for that good, good nostalgia and blind overactive extravagancy. Big weird interior design, lavish consumer goods spending, and heavy stock market indulgence. The economy was up, Americans were making money, and people were essentially competing with one another to find new ways to display their wealth.
So what does extravagant consumerism have to do with the most massive bail ever set in American history? Well, everything filters through Wall St., right?
In 1989, a federal district judge set bail for Michael Milken, a former head of a “high-yield junk bond” dept. at a major Wall St. investment banking firm, at the staggering sum of $250 million. According to a 1989 article published in the New York Times, the Government “arrived at the $250 million figure by taking Mr. Milken’s average annual compensation over the last five years”.
Staggeringlier and staggeringlier, the total sum of the deal was a whopping $700 million to be forfeited by Milken on… count ’em… 98 charges of “racketeering, securities fraud and insider trading”. Up to this point in the trading institution’s 172 year history, this was the largest criminal investigation to date.
Junk bonds, dear reader are also the catalyst for the recent housing market crash, and incidentally – they’ve recently resurfaced! Yay, junk bonds ruining America! Thanks Wall St.!
Unfortunately, none of this stuff even really matters to these guys. While ¾ of a billion dollars is a fortune most couldn’t spend in two lifetimes, dear Milken’s still living large on an additional $2.5 billion. I mean, the guy owned Clark Gables’ home at the time! Cronies dubbed him the “epitome of Wall St. greed”. His nickname was the “Junk Bond King”. But, he did serve a two year prison sentence (out of ten for cooperating), so that’s nice.