A License to Steal: The Untold Story of Michael Milken and the Conspiracy to Bilk the Nation

Benjamin Stein, Author
Benjamin Stein, Author Simon & Schuster $22.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-74272-0
Reviewed on: 11/02/1992
Release date: 11/01/1992
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By revealing the full scope of the damage that Michael Milken's junk-bond empire inflicted on the U.S. economy, Stein ( Financial Passages ) forcefully refutes the notion that Milken's scam increased national productivity. This concise, punchy expose is the best and clearest guide yet to the workings of Milken's money machine. Stein, an economist and lawyer who reported on Milken for Barron's, shows that insider trading was merely a lucrative sideshow for the Milken team at Drexel Burnham Lambert. Milken, he states, also earned millions by churning (trading clients' accounts to increase commissions), by ``sucking the blood of captive S & Ls like a vampire'' and by taking a hefty cut of the greenmail paid by besieged companies to Drexel-backed corporate raiders. The Securities and Exchange Commission knew in the early 1980s of Milken's stupendous price fixing but did nothing, a lapse Stein blames on Reagan-appointed SEC officials. He also shows how the Milken claque rallied moguls, accountants, the Harvard Business School and the New York Times to its cause. (Nov.)
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