There is this story that I love that dates back the philosophy of ancient Chinese philosopher Chuang-Zhu that is retold in one of my favorite picture books, Zen Shorts by Jon Muth. It goes roughly like this, a farmer’s horse escapes and his neighbors say, “Bad luck!” But then the horse returns with a wild horse. “Good luck!”, the neighbors cry out. The farmer’s son tries to tame the horse and breaks his leg. “Bad luck, the neighbors say. But then the army comes through recruiting and skips the boy because of his broken leg. “Good luck!,” they say. And so it goes.
Your child gets into Harvard and it’s a dream come true. Well… not for these parents, particularly of the Vietnamese American girl who was murdered by her psychotic Harvard room mate who went on to kill herself. These folks all distinguish themselves by getting themselves into Harvard and then into jail. This list was harder to pull together than one would think. It’s not like Harvard goes around bragging about its distinguished prison inmate alums!
Oded Aboodi, Insider Trading
He didn’t go to jail but “Oded Aboodi agrees to $931,000 penalty in insider trading case. He was an architect of the firm’s 1990 merger.”
Thank you to Karen Bergreen for this one. We are all the same class of ’87.
10. Ester Reed, fraud and identity theft
9. Eugene N. Plotkin, Insider Trading
8. Andre Shliefer, International Insider Trading
6. Adam Wheeler, faked way into Harvard including winning $45,000 in grants, scholarships, financial aid and other funds that he didn’t deserve
5. Britney Smith, accessory to murder at Kirkland House ( Harvard Dorm)
4. Alexander Pring-Wilson, involuntary manslaughter for stabbing to death a teenager who made fun of him
3. Jose Luis Razo, multi-tasked baseball team away games with robbing convenience stores
* I actually met Jose when I was at Harvard. My roommate set up our other roommate with his roommate for a formal dance (confused?) and he came over with two of his friends to meet our roommate. He seemed like a nice guy and he had attended Servite (a Catholic school that was the brother school to the roommate we were setting up). His family later said they gave him spending money. It turns out that being a dark skinned Latino made him uncomfortable at Harvard … it was as if everyone expected him to be a criminal. It was never about the money. Tragic story!
2. Sinedu Tadesse, murdered her Harvard roommate then killed herself
1. Theodore Kaczynski, Unabomber
Richard Whitney, Embezzler from Great Depression Era
And, if they are lucky, they can spend time with fellow Harvard alum, Avi Steinberg, who is a prison librarian.
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