Insider trading was at its peak in the 1980s, when a series of mergers and takeovers meant that execs were privy to plenty of market-moving information. The king of insider trading was Ivan Boesky, who became an icon of the era. He ran with some other big financial players, including Michael Milken, who ultimately pleaded guilty to several other felonies, and managed to sidestep insider trading charges.
In 1986, Boesky advised an audience of UC Berkeley students, "You can be greedy and still feel good about yourself." He made the cover of Time Magazine the same year, which is when the SEC ultimately accused him of trading information from a Drexel Burnham Lambert banker. Boesky settled out of court with a payment of $100 million dollars, then served 22 months in prison.
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