HIGHTOWER: Corporate Criminals Speak Out

And now we go again [space music] into the Far, Far, Far-out Frontiers of Free Enterprise.Today, Spaceship Hightower takes you on a way out trip to the fringes of career opportunities . . . to a place you might not want to go. Webster Hubbell is one of the stars out there, as is Mark Morse, Nicholas Wallace, and a few other--how shall I put this--"finaglers." These are all former executives who ended up in the pokey because of assorted white-collar crimes. Hubbell is the former top official at the U.S. Justice Department who had to step down because of publicity about improprieties at his law firm--improprieties that led him to prison for mail fraud and tax evasion. Morse did four years in jail for his role in a carpet-cleaning company that bilked investors for some $100 million. Wallace did seven years for a $350 million fraud with a Florida brokerage house.The Wall Street Journal reports that these fine fellows, having been pros in the field of high finance, then having been cons in various prisons, have now made another career move to go on the lecture circuit with a speakers bureau called "The Pros & The Cons." Headed by former CPA and non-criminal Gary Zeune, Pros & Cons specializes in providing speakers to conventions of accountants, giving talks on how they stole from clients. Hubbell says, "It's kind of like an alcoholic talking about what happened to them when they started drinking." "There's something about confession."Zeune, who has five former convicts in his troupe, says that they're great for the staid and usually boring CPA meetings, because the charm and other qualities that helped these guys hoodwink bankers also help make them good speakers. And, of course, they are experts at fraud, which CPA s are hired to detect--as one said, "you might as well learn from the best."This is Jim Hightower saying . . . In the strange world of corporate criminals, they do the crime, do the time, then collect dimes for talking about it.Sources: "The Con goes on." blurb in "Newspeak stories of the week #114. June 9, 1999. "Ex-cons find peace and a paycheck on lecture circuit" by Joshua Harris Prager. Wall Street Journal: May 25, 1999.

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