Ivan Frederick Boesky
March 6, 1937
|Occupation||Former stock trader|
|Known for||Insider trading scandal|
(m. 1962; div. 1991)
Ivan Frederick Boesky (born March 6, 1937) is a former American stock trader who became infamous for his prominent role in an insider trading scandal that occurred in the United States during the mid-1980s. He was charged and pled guilty to insider trading, was fined a record $100 million, and became an informant.
Early life and education
Boesky was born to a Jewish family in Detroit, Michigan. His family owned several delicatessens and taverns in the city. He attended the Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills before graduating from Detroit's Mumford High School. He then attended courses at Wayne State University, Eastern Michigan University and the University of Michigan. Despite lacking an undergraduate degree, he was admitted to Detroit College of Law (now Michigan State University College of Law) and graduated during 1965. In the 1980s, he served as an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University's Graduate School of Business and at New York University's Graduate School of Business.
During 1962, he married Seema Silberstein, the daughter of a Detroit real estate magnate whose holdings included The Beverly Hills Hotel in California. After his father-in-law’s death, Boesky and Seema won a court battle with her sister and brother-in-law over the hotel’s ownership.
In 1966, Boesky and his wife relocated to New York where he worked for several stock brokerage companies. During 1975, he initiated his own stock brokerage company, Ivan F. Boesky & Company, with $700,000 (equivalent to $3.3 million in 2019) worth of start money from his wife’s family with a business plan that speculated on corporate takeovers. Boesky's company grew from profits as well as buy-in investments from new partnerships. By 1986, Boesky had become an arbitrageur who had amassed a fortune of more than US$200 million by betting on corporate takeovers and the $136 million in proceeds from the sale of The Beverly Hills Hotel. Boesky was on the cover of Time magazine December 1, 1986.
During 1987, a group of partners sued Boesky over what they claimed were misleading partnership documents. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigated him for making investments based on information received from corporate officers. These stock acquisitions were sometimes brazen, with massive purchases occurring only a few days before a corporation announced a takeover.
Although insider trading of this kind was illegal, laws prohibiting it were rarely enforced until Boesky was prosecuted. Boesky cooperated with the SEC and informed on others, including the case against financier Michael Milken. As a result of a plea bargain, Boesky received a prison sentence of 3 1⁄2 years and was fined US$100 million. Although he was released after two years, he was permanently prohibited from working with securities. He served his sentence at Lompoc Federal Prison Camp near Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Boesky, unable to rehabilitate his reputation after being released from prison, paid hundreds of millions of dollars as fines and compensation for his Guinness share-trading fraud role and a number of separate insider-dealing scams. Later, Boesky began practicing Judaism and attended classes at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America where he had been a major donor; however, during 1987, after the fallout from his financial scandal, The New York Times reported that "after Ivan F. Boesky had been fined $100 million in the insider-trading scandal, the Jewish Theological Seminary, acting at his request, took his name off its $20 million library."
In popular culture
The character of Gordon Gekko in the movie Wall Street (1987) is based at least in part on Boesky, especially regarding a famous speech he delivered on the positive aspects of greed at the University of California, Berkeley School of Business commencement ceremony during May 1986, where he said in part "I think greed is healthy. You can be greedy and still feel good about yourself".
- Meserve, Myles. "Meet Ivan Boesky, The Infamous Wall Streeter Who Inspired Gordon Gekko". Business Insider. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
- The New York Jewish Week: "Is Greed Godly?" by David E. Y. Sarna December 3, 2010
- Haaratz: "This Day in Jewish History / A masterful Wall Street con man is arrested - Ivan Boesky elevated insider trading to an art form. The police didn't see it that way, though." by David B. Green November 14, 2013
- Boesky, Ivan F., Merger Mania, Holt Rinehart Winston, 1985.
- Westchester Magazine: "Seema Boesky’s Rich Afterlife - Juggling philanthropy, business, family, and love" By Nicholas Spangler with Esther Davidowitz November 2010
- Ivan Boesky at the TIME archive
- "A group of partners filed suit against Boesky". Los Angeles Times. March 24, 1987.
- Article on Boesky at New York
- Goldman, Ari L. (July 23, 1987). "Boesky Studying Hebrew and Talmud at Seminary". The New York Times.
- Vivian Marino (September 4, 2012). "THE 30-MINUTE INTERVIEW - Stuart J. Boesky" The New York Times
- Battling Boeskys Time.
- "Million Idea: Use Greed For Good". tribunedigital-chicagotribune. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
- "Commencement Speakers". berkeley.edu. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
- Taking America: How We Got from the First Hostile Takeover to Megamergers, Corporate Raiding, and Scandal, by Jeff Madrick, Beard Books, 2003. Retrieved March 10, 2019. ISBN 978-1587982170
- Quotations related to Ivan Boesky at Wikiquote