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Crimes and the Federal Prison Comparison

Martha Helen Stewart (born 1941) is an American successful businessperson and media mogul. Having been sentenced to serve five months’ jail term, West Virginia federal prison camp was where she was put on counts of securities fraud. In 2001, she sold all her shares to avoid a loss after receiving secret information from her broker (Straney, 2011). Share price dropped significantly after she sold he shares. She went on trial for corporate fraud and in 2004 found guilty of obstruction of an agency proceeding, conspiracy and lying to the federal investigators. She was sentenced to five months’ jail term. In 2005, she began a comeback campaign, which saw her company gaining profits the following year. Many had written her of and thought the case against her was the end of her career.

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Frederick Ivan Boesky who was born in 1937 was once a reputed inside trader. In the mid 1980s, he was the main culprit in a scandal of Wall Street insider trading. He was investigated for making investments after being given crucial leading information by corporate insiders. He would acquire stock few days before a takeover was announced raising eyebrows about his knowledge of such takeovers. Both Martha and Boesky were involved in illegal stock trading as they acquired unauthorized information to aid them in the sell and purchase. Unlike Martha, Boesky cooperated with investigators and was crucial in informing them about the involvement of Michael Milken A financier. After a plea bargain, he was sentenced to three and half years in jail although he actually served two years. He was also fined 100 million US dollars. He was sentenced and sent to Lompoc Federal Prison Camp in California, and never recovered his image after spending time in jail.

Michael Robert Milken (born in 1946) is an American financier and philanthropist who have been very successful as a bond trader. He was convicted of securities fraud and tax evasion in the 1970s 1980s. Indicted on 98 counts of securities fraud and racketeering in 1989. Consequently, he was sentenced to a jail term of ten-years in a minimum-security prison and barred for life, from being involved in any activities in the securities industry. Three of his guilty counts involved Ivan Boesky with whom they had jointly conspired in hiding the real owner of stock, however due to good behaviour and cooperating information in prosecuting his other involved colleagues, he was released after less than two years. He has seen re-established himself like Martha Stewart and amassed a lot of wealth. He is estimated to be worth two billion US dollars placing him among the five hundred rich persons in the world.

Manuel Noriega.He is a political figure and soldier from Panama. He was the leader of Panama from 1983 to 1989 a period which he exercised dictatorship. He had worked for the American Government before becoming a top official n Panama army. He was involved in narcotics and even associated with the Colombian drug Lord Escobar. He was also involved in money laundering and one example is the case he used the Bank of Credit and Commerce in laundering money. When the US invaded Panama, he was captured and tried in the US for his involvement in racketeering, money laundering and drug trafficking. He was behind bars until 2007. Before being assigned and taken to a permanent prison, he had spent most of the time in the Miami’s Detention Center (Clear, 2009). He later resided in the Federal Correctional Institute still in Miami. He is still considered a prisoner of war.

Timothy James McVeigh (1968 – 2001) professionally he served in the U.S. Army and a soldier by profession just like Noriega. He is infamously remembered for the terrorist attack in Oklahoma City 1995. He was against the Federal Government which he considered tyrannical and was seeking his own justice for the handling of Waco Siege. His malicious actions led to a death penalty consequently executed in 2001 by lethal injection. He was never remorseful of his actions.

Terry Lynn Nichols (1995) had previously worked in a variety of short term jobs like farming. He together with Mc Veigh masterminded the Oklahoma City bombing. He was sentenced for life imprisonment without parole. Initially he was taken to federal prison of Colorado, but has since been transferred to a super maximum-security prison. He was friends with Mc Veigh and they both held anti government views. However, he was very remorseful during his trial and even apologized to the victims unlike McVeigh.

Alphonse Gabriel “Al” Capone (1899-1947) was an Italian-American, New Yorker who led an illegal criminal gang. His gang conducted smuggling, illicit liquor, racketeering, and prostitution from 1920s to 1931. Born in New York, he grew to become an influential gang lord. He was arrested and charged with tax evasion, murder, racketeering, and smuggling. He was sent to Alcatraz federal prison and died of cardiac arrest in 1947. During his life, he lived a flamboyant lifestyle and was fond of the media. He was also vocal and was liked by the public for his charitable organizations-the money was from criminal activities.

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John Gotti born in 1940 and died in 2002 was an wanted mobster who latter became an influential gang leader of a major crime family in New York. In 1992, he was convicted of hijacking, loan sharking, gambling, extortion, racketeering, and other criminal activities. He was sentenced to life in prison and was taken to a United States Penitentiary; He died in 2002 of throat cancer in a medical center, while still serving his sentence. One of his sons has taken after him and has been on trial for similar counts as his father.

Difference in Federal Prisons

The people who had no past criminal records and not perceived as dangerous, these are Martha Stewart, Ivan Boesky, and Michael Milken were put in minimum-security federal prisons or low security Federal Correctional Institution. However, Noriega was also put in a low security facility yet he was considered a dangerous criminal. This is because according to the Geneva Convention, he was not regarded as a criminal but a prisoner of war. The low security federal prisons like Alderson federal prisons have no barbed wire on the fence surrounding the camp. Inmates are give time to roam and play volleyball. The prisons are in most case for people convicted of non-violent (Bosworth, 2002).

The other persons, these are Al Capone, John Gotti and Terry Nichols and Timothy Mc Veigh (executed later) were put in super maximum-security prison like ADX Florence. These are tight security prisons for prisoners deemed too dangerous or in addition, high profile. There is no communication with the outside world, the furniture is made of pure concrete material, and prisoners are kept in confinement for long hours. The windows are small and are designed to prevent the prisoners from knowing their whereabouts (Lee, 1987). There are also high razor wire fences, laser beams and attack dogs are common. One warder of such prisons described them as a cleaner version of Hell.

Similarities and Differences of the Crimes

The first three individuals have been convicted of similar a charge that is securities fraud. In securities fraud, they were involved in the purchase or sale of shares based on leaked unauthorized information consequently amassing hefty profits but in the process violating the securities laws. Boesky and Milken admitted to the charges and sought guilty plea favour while Martha was defensive of not having committed any crime. They all ended up in low security maximum prisons. All of them have been released from prison.

The rest of the persons have mainly engaged in criminal activities ranging from murder, hijacking, narcotics, dealing in firearms and two have been charged with terrorism. Racketeering is the most common crime by the majority. Most have been sentenced to life in prison without parole, one a death penalty and Noriega being the only non American and only the war prisoner has served a long prison sentence and although freed he has been handed over to France for further charges. None of these has been released and some like Capone and Gotti have died in prison. All except Noriega have been put in super maximum-security prisons. All of these people have amassed great wealth from the illegal activities.

Reference List

Bosworth, M. (2002). The US Federal Prison System. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, Inc.

Clear, T, Cole, F, & Reisig, D. (2009). American Corrections. Belmont: Thomson Corporation.

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Lee, W (1987). Federal Prisons: Fact and Fiction. Arkansas: Legal Publication.

Straney, L. (2011). Securities Fraud: Detection, Prevention and Control. New Jersey: Wiley& Sons Inc.

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