Five Years of Hard Putting

Did Boyd Jefferies’s piddling sentence match the crime he committed?
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  1. Mr. Liman: Isn’t it true that you are so confident that you’ll never serve a day in prison that your idea of community service is running a golf clinic for children in Aspen? Yes or no? Mr. Jefferies: Yes.

    It was 7:00 in the morning when Boyd L. Jefferies, former Wall Street legend, now convicted felon, showed up for another day of community service. Part of the legend of Jefferies had always been his extraordinary work habits: up at 2:30 a.m., into the Los Angeles office of Jefferies & Co. by 4:00, home at 6:00 or 7:00 p.m. Today, stripped of his company, he still looked like a man who’d been up for hours—which he had been. As he got out of his car—a Jeep Wagoneer, as opposed to the Ferraris he used to drive—he glanced anxiously at the sky. I could see his jaw clenching furiously.

    It had rained the night before in Aspen, a soggy August rain, and dark clouds still hovered over the city. Jefferies was standing in the parking lot of Aspen’s lone golf course. The manicured putting greens were still soaked, which was unfortunate, because this was the final day of this season’s Aspen Junior Golf Program. This was the program Jefferies had started nearly three years ago, practically moments after he agreed to plead guilty to two felonies and lead the government to other Wall Streeters in return for the prospect of a lenient sentence. Arthur Liman had openly mocked the golf clinic during one of the trials in which Jefferies had testified, humiliating Jefferies and helping to chip ...

Originally published in Esquire, December 1989