'Serious' punishment urged for Milken

September 27, 1990|By Thomas Easton | Thomas Easton,New York Bureau of The Sun

NEW YORK -- Prosecutors accused former "junk" bond king Michael R. Milken yesterday of committing "a range of serious white-collar crimes unmatched in the 1980s."

They asked the court when it sentences Milken Monday "to demonstrate that persons who possess great wealth and prominence cannot expect their privilege or their money will insulate them from certain and serious punishment."

The request was part of a 200-page sentencing memorandum released in response to requests by news organizations. The document describes Milken, who has confessed

to six securities-related crimes, as a man with simple objectives: "power and wealth."

It labeled arguments by Milken that his crimes were mere technicalities or misguided attempts to help clients as "extreme self-delusion or deliberate deception."

The memorandum confirms rumors that Ivan F. Boesky wore a wire during a meeting with Milken as part of his cooperation pact with the government stemming from Boesky's own crimes.

Whether U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood will consider the new information in her sentencing has become the center of a bitter battle between prosecutors and Milken.

Defense attorneys argue that any consideration of crimes beyond those specifically confessed to is "factually and legally without merit."

"We strongly urge that your honor recognize that Milken should be punished as the unreconstructed and unapologetic man that he is," the memorandum said. "It would not be sound judicial policy to reward Milken for his evasiveness and intransigence.

"In light of [the April] understanding," it added, referring to Milken's plea agreement, "the government fully expected that Milken's cooperation would bear certain fruit. Unfortunately, our confidence in Milken's intention to be truthful and forthcoming has waned."

The memorandum asserts that criminal manipulation of companies and the securities market was fundamental to the operations of Milken at his Beverly Hills, Calif., office of Drexel Burnham Lambert Inc.

"Milken's criminal conduct was calculated and systematic, rather than gratuitous and aberrational, and Milken's criminal activity was a significant and necessary component of the growth of his power," thememorandum said.

"With utter disregard for the law, Milken cheated many of his own customers and clients and the investing public and thereby corrupted the capital markets. Put simply, Milken's crimes were of greed, arrogance and betrayal."

"Milken's proposal that he be sentenced to a probationary term and community service is absurd," the government argued. "Such a sentence would eviscerate law enforcement's efforts to police and deter financial crime."

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