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Corporate crime wave edition

July 26, 2002 | Page 4

White-collar prisons

WITH WAVE after wave of shady business deals, accounting scandals and outright frauds coming to light, it's just possible that one or two of the biggest corporate crooks might spend a day or two in jail. But never fear. Even if they happen to be convicted, the high-and-mighty can--for the right price--hire a "post-conviction specialist."

For up to $400 an hour, the post-conviction specialist will scope out a prison best suited to a convict's hobbies and "special needs"--and organize glowing reference letters to be reviewed by the sentencing judge.

And if a jail term is handed down to any of the corporate crooks, they might be fortunate enough to serve part of it in the luxury of their own mansions or condos. Like Diana Brooks, the former CEO of Sotheby's auction house, who was sentenced in April for fixing art auctions. Brooks is serving six months of "home confinement" in her 12-room, $5 million co-op on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

--Chicago Tribune, July 14, 2002

Save Martha! Free the housewares!

When actress Winona Ryder was busted for shoplifting, some hipsters began sporting "Free Winona" shirts. Now, trendsetters can checkout, a Web site dedicated to supporting the queen of fine living, Martha Stewart.

Stewart has been largely silent about her legal woes stemming from alleged insider trading. But SaveMartha editor John Small says, "A group of Martha Stewart fans got together and decided the kind of negative coverage in the media of top female executives that we've seen recently deserves a response. is a place to address this concern...Fans of Martha need a place to come and voice their opinions and concerns."

And, of course, the site also offers merchandise--including T-shirts, mugs and coolers--all with the phrase "Save Martha!" As Small said, "What would a site about Martha Stewart be without quality merchandise?"

Heard it through the grapevine

"IT ISN'T that humans have become any more greedy than in generations past. It's that the avenues to express greed have grown so enormously."
--Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan

"THERE IS no capitalism without conscience; there is no wealth without character."
--George W. Bush

"I BELIEVE people have taken a step back and asked, 'What's important in life?' You know, the bottom line and this corporate America stuff, is that important? Or is serving your neighbor, loving your neighbor like you'd like to be loved yourself?"
--Bush, on the hot seat

"I'M A Christian, and I've been taught to love my fellow man, but I have no love for [former WorldCom CEO] Bernie Ebbers. I wish the man was dead."
--Anonymous laid-off WorldCom employee

"I'M AN optimist about the future of this economy."
--Bush, the day after the stock market dropped below 8,500

"IN THE corporate world, sometimes things aren't exactly black and white when it comes to accounting practices."
--Bush, responding to questions about his involvement with accounting improprieties at Harken Energy

"SURE, IT may at times have seemed like a casino, but at least it was an honest casino. Now many people are questioning that basic assumption. Are they players in a loser's game?"
--Morgan Stanley strategist Barton Biggs

"WHAT IS lacking in the U.S. is a culture of shame. No CEO in the U.S. is considered a thief if he does something wrong. It is a kind of moral cancer."
--Guido Rossi, former chair of Telecom Italia

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