Michael Milken, the 1979 Wharton graduate who pled guilty to six felony charges, including conspiracy, securities fraud and tax violations, will be sentenced Monday by federal judge in New York. Milken, who received his MBA from Wharton, faces up to 28 years in prison for the offenses. He was indicted by a grand jury on 98 securities violations in the spring of 1989 but reached a plea bargain in April convicting him of only six of the crimes. Prosecutors seeking a stiff prison term for the convicted financier yesterday urged the sentencing judge to concentrate on his ''sweeping and serious crimes.'' The defense has opposed the prosecution's effort to portray Milken as a conniving criminal mastermind who committed more crimes than he had admitted. In their recommendation to the judge, attorneys asked that Milken's transgressions be viewed as an aberration in an otherwise exemplary life. The former "junk bond king" of Drexel Burnham Lambert has donated millions of dollars to the University since his graduation, including a $2 million grant to help West Philadelphia community service projects. Milken's portrait, which hung in the Wharton "Hall of Fame," was removed last May, one month after Milken reached the plea bargain with prosecutors. Wharton officials declined to comment on the case yesterday. Milken abandoned his claims of innocence and agreed to a plea bargain that spared him from a much wider indictment and assumes his cooperation with prosecutors in other probes. In a 200-page memorandum to U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood, prosecutors asked her to pay scant attention to Milken's good deeds and consider evidence that he was a systematic crook. ''The court's sentence must demonstrate that persons who possess great wealth and prominence cannot expect that their privilege or their money will insulate them from certain and serious punishment,'' said the document, signed by acting U.S. Attorney Roger Hayes. ''His good works, however commendable, should not shield him from incarceration,'' the prosecution memorandum said. ''Milken is guilty of sweeping and serious crimes. He should be sentenced to a substantial term of imprisonment.'' The prosecution cannot recommend a specific prison term, and Wood has wide discretion in passing sentence. But many legal experts expect Milken to serve time. Hayes was unavailable for comment yesterday afternoon. The prosecution's report was released a day after Milken's high-powered legal team released their own recommendations to the judge. The defense lawyers have urged the judge to weigh Milken's generosity and philanthropy and spare him from prison. They suggest alternatively that Milken be ordered to work full-time with youths in the drug-plagued ghettos of Los Angeles. Lead defense attorney Arthur Liman wrote that hundreds of letters from Milken's relatives, friends and clients portrayed him as a benevolent capitalist, a hardworking family man, and a ''person of great conscience, compassion and charity who has always been generous with his time, money and spirit.'' Liman also asserted Milken already has been punished severely by relentless public scrutiny, payment of a record $600 million in fines and penalties, and a bleak future fighting civil lawsuits. ''Michael Milken is a changed person. He will be tormented for the remainder of his life by the realization that his family was devastated, his reputation destroyed and his life's work tainted by virtue of his having committed these acts,'' Liman wrote. Liman was unavailable for comment yesterday afternoon. Wood ordered the release of sentencing memorandums earlier this week because of the enormous public interest in the Milken case. But she instructed the two sides to edit the documents to delete incriminating references to Milken associates. The Associated Press contributed to this story.Comments powered by Disqus
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