1968 Wharton graduate and President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that he would pardon 1979 Wharton MBA graduate and former Wall Street Executive Michael Milken, CNN reported.
Milken pled guilty in 1990 to six felony charges, including conspiracy, securities fraud, and tax violations. A judge sentenced him to 10 years in prison, and he served 22 months, CNN reported. Milken was also fined $600 million at the time, The Washington Post reported.
As a Wharton MBA student, Milken conducted research on “junk bonds,” or debt with high interest yields. At the investment bank Drexel Burnham Lambert, Milken provided these bonds to finance companies that would not otherwise be able to receive funding, and reaped the benefits from interest rates. Milken was once the highest-paid man in Wall Street history, the Post reported, with a $550 million salary in 1987.
CNBC reported that, despite the pardon, Milken is still banned from working in the securities industry.
Wharton removed Milken’s portrait from the Wharton Hall of Fame in 1989.
A donation from the Milken Family Foundation funds the Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition, which award $1.4 million in cash prizes. Milken also donated $2 million to West Philadelphia community service projects.
After leaving prison, Milken founded the Milken Institute, an economic policy think tank, and has contributed millions to cancer research, the Post reported.
Trump said on Tuesday that Milken has “gone around and done an incredible job for the world, with all of his research on cancer,” the Post reported.
Milken wrote in a statement that he and his family are “very grateful to the President,” Business Wire reported.
In the 1980s, Trump benefited from the use of the junk bonds to finance construction on the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, The New York Times reported.
Trump also commuted the sentence of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich and pardoned former NYPD commissioner Bernard Kerik on Tuesday, CNN reported.
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