From insider trading to getting ready for life "on the inside" -- The Wall Street Journal reports that convicted white-collar criminals are increasingly paying for prison prep from former inmates.
Lessons include avoiding physical altercations (instead of raising your fists to a truculent fellow prisoner, curl your body into a ball on the floor) and deciphering jailhouse lingo: '"A 'cheese eater' is an informant. A 'blanket party' is throwing a blanket over an inmate, then beating him. 'Diesel therapy' is when trouble-making inmates are shackled and driven around in the back of a prison bus."
Among the "the panicky white-collar criminals" said to be using this service is Garrett Bauer, who "made tens of millions of dollars illegally trading on stock tips." Bauer used a distinctly modest financial metaphor to describe his plans for surviving the federal hoosegow: "I'm going to be new, so you don't want to stick your two cents in."
Bauer's new-found timidity should serve him well in a setting where a man is expected to say "excuse me" when he bumps into someone, whether or not it's his fault. Other rules of prison etiquette include never sitting on another man's bunk, never watching TV in another man's chair, never reaching across someone else's plate at mealtime ("That could be immediately answered with a fork in your arm," says Mr. [Patrick] Boyce, a former stockbroker who completed 11 months in the pen in 2004"), and never removing another man's laundry from the machine.
Boyce hired a convicted fraudster and prison consultant to assist him when he was facing the start of his sentence. Now, he works in the same field, promoting himself as a "federal mitigation specialist."
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Shortly after her album Secrets went platinum with No. 1 hits "You're Makin' Me High" and "Un-Break My Heart," Braxton declared bankruptcy thanks to free-spending ways beyond her success. So much for learning her lesson, though - by 2010, the R&B singer was bust a second time. If that's not enough public embarrassment for you, tune into the sordid affairs and finances of Toni and her kin in the Braxton Family Values reality show on WE.
Despite the massive success of comic book heroes like Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk and The X-Men, Stan Lee was a dot-com disaster. His web-based comic book venture of the era, the eponymous Stan Lee Media, quickly burned through its capital like so many other firms inflated by the tech bubble. Adding insult to injury was that Lee's partner, Peter Paul, was accused of securities fraud, too.
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OK, OK, The Donald loves to split hairs over the fact that he personally hasn't gone bust. But the fact that Trump's Atlantic City hotel and resort company filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy twice this decade to reorganize debts related to construction still speaks a great deal.
Baseball star and (absurdly) investment guru Dykstra recently filed for Chapter 11 thanks to an ill-advised business venture -- a glossy magazine for millionaire athletes called The Players Club. Not only was Chapter 11 necessary, but the business resulted in 20 lawsuits. Another interesting rub is that from 2005-09, he was an investing columnist for TheStreet.com and endorsed by Mad Money star Jim Cramer ... except he was pumping up stocks for personal gain and got into trouble with the SEC. (Read more about "Nails" and others famous bonehead investors in an older column about investment failures of the stars.)
The youngest in the famous acting family, Stephen Baldwin has never quite made the same amount of money as his brothers. Unfortunately, that didn't stop his free-spending ways -- and reality show appearances weren't enough to offset his mortgage and other debts. Baldwin and his wife filed bankruptcy in New York in early 2009 and suffered foreclosure. At the time, he owed more than $2.3 million -- and his New York property was valued at only $1.1 million. Talk about underwater mortgages ...
Football star Michael Vick saw financial problems as a direct result of legal problems. The infamous dog-fighting ring cost Vick his endorsements and his NFL paycheck -- including a 2007 clawback by the Atlanta Falcons, where the team demanded that he reimburse them for $20 million of his $37 million bonus. As a result, Vick filed bankruptcy from behind bars in 2008.
The family-friendly comedian and '90s mainstay had his share of hits, but apparently didn't pay his share of the taxes. Thanks to disputes over income from Jingle All The Way and other movies, the state of California filed a lien for more than $2.5 million in unpaid taxes in 2008. Sinbad filed bankruptcy in December 2009. Ho ho ho!