Michael Robert Milken, born to a Jewish family in California, is a financier known as the "Junk Bond King" of 1980’s Wall Street. He was highly influential in developing the market for junk bonds ("high-yield debt") during the 1970’s and 1980’s, which in turn fueled the 1980s boom in corporate raids and hostile corporate takeovers. He has been called both a financial innovator and the epitome of 1980’s Wall Street greed.
In 1989 Milken was indicted on 98 counts of racketeering and fraud as the result of an insider trading investigation. After a plea bargain, Milken was charged with six securities and reporting violations. He was sentenced to ten years in prison, but was released after less than two years. He then launched a public relations campaign to highlight his role as a financial innovator, particularly with regard to popularizing higher-risk alternative investments. He also devoted much time and money to charity over the past three decades. With an estimated net worth of around $2.1 billion as of 2007, he is ranked as the 458th richest person in the world.