Finance Wizard Paid His Debt to Society

Michael Milken, 50, who still lives in Encino, earned his fame, fortune and prison sentence by his work in creating the modern junk-bond industry.

Milken, who was a cheerleader at Birmingham High School in Van Nuys, earned a staggering $550 million in salary and bonuses in 1986, when he was the junk-bond king at Drexel Burnham Lambert, and became a symbol of greed during the empty ‘80s.

But Milken pleaded guilty to six felony counts and spent 22 months in prison, along with paying a $900-million settlement to the government and various creditors.

When he got out of prison, Milken was found to have prostate cancer, and has since galvanized a nationwide research network devoted to beating the disease.


Milken is also battling a lawsuit by a former business partner over profits from a Las Vegas land deal.

He has been busy trying to rebuild his reputation--he plans an autobiography--and he’s done consulting work for Ted Turner, Rupert Murdoch and other corporate chieftains. But the SEC is investigating whether the consulting projects violated Milken’s probation and lifetime ban from the securities industry.

According to Forbes magazine, Milken and his family are still worth $600 million.