Probably the best known former inmate is Martha Stewart. She has been one of the most successful business executives in the world and always met a challenge head-on. She built a billion dollar empire from scratch. In 2003, she was confronted with her greatest challenge, an investigation of her personal stock trading by the Justice Department and the Securities Exchange Commission. Although she maintained her innocence of all charges, she was brought to trial in early 2004. The court dismissed the original accusation of insider trading from which the other charges stemmed, but in 2004 a jury found Martha Stewart guilty of misleading federal investigators and obstructing an investigation. Although she appealed her conviction, she served a five-month prison sentence in a federal prison camp for women and five months of home confinement. The company she founded continues to thrive, and after her release she resumed her business career. Whatever she may yet accomplish, Martha Stewart continues to have more influence on how Americans eat, entertain, and decorate their homes and gardens than any one person in our history.
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