Michael Robert Milken (born July 4, 1946) is a prominent American financier and philanthropist who almost single-handedly created the market for high-yield bonds (also called junk bonds) during the 1970s and 1980s.
After he was sent to prison on finance-related charges, his detractors cited him as the epitome of Wall Street greed during the 1980s, and nicknamed him the Junk Bond King. Admirers, like George Gilder in his book, Telecosm, note that "Milken was a key source of the organizational changes that have impelled economic growth over the last twenty years. Most striking was the productivity surge in capital, as Milken … and others took the vast sums trapped in old-line businesses and put them back into the markets."
Milken was indicted on 98 counts of racketeering and securities fraud in 1989 as the result of an insider trading investigation. After a plea bargain, Milken pled guilty to six securities and reporting violations; he was never convicted of racketeering or insider trading. He was sentenced to ten years in prison, but was released after less than two years.