Kimba Wood, who trained as a bunny in London's Playboy Club but who gave up her career as a roulette croupier, along with her rabbit ears and her cotton tail, to become a federal judge, previously sentenced Milken to ten years in prison, even though she obviously did not know what Milken had done or why whatever he had done was illegal.
Milken got out after only 22 months by agreeing to pay to the federal government some of the money he had made doing whatever it was that he did.
By then, Milken had discovered he was suffering from prostrate cancer, so he decided to devote his fortune to finding a cure for the disease which he had.
In order to finance his cancer research, Milken sold his services as a financial adviser and was paid $47 million for his advice, even though he did not engage in any financial transactions himself.
The federal government has since decided that even giving financial advice constitutes doing securities business and therefore decided that the $47 million should go to the federal government rather than to cancer research.
What has never been made clear and to what nobody seems to have the answer is what was it that Michael Milken did which caused the government to seek such a serious penalty. All authorities agree that Milken never would have been convicted in a jury trail, because the transactions in which Milken had engaged were so complex and convoluted that neither the prosecutors nor the judge understood them. This would have made it impossible for any jury to have convicted him. Fortunately, from the point of view of the government, Milken pled guilty rather than face a trial.
What is known is that Milken specialized in a certain type of tender offer securities swap that was pioneered by Sam Sloan in the early 1970s.