Billie Sol Estes

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Billie Sol Estes (January 10, 1925 — May 24,2013) was an American businessman; a former financier[1] who served time in jail for multiple fraud charges. Prior to his conviction, he had a strong friendship with future U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson.[2]

Estes claimed to have ammonia fertilizer inventory in storage tanks that were in fact empty. He used the fake assets to obtain financing from banks. He was also involved in illegal trading of cotton allotments. These transactions resulted in his conviction for fraud. He was sentenced to 24 years in prison. His state conviction was later overturned by the United States Supreme Court in Estes v. Texas, 381 U.S. 532 (1965). His appeal hinged upon the alleged impossibility of a fair trial due to the presence of television cameras and broadcast journalists in the courtroom. He prevailed by a 5-4 vote. Estes was paroled in 1971. Eight years later, he was convicted of other fraud charges and served four more years.[2]

See also


  1. Staff (May 25, 1962) "Investigations: Decline & Fall" Time Magazine
  2. 2.0 2.1 Douglas Martin, Griffin Jr., 78, Pulitzer Prize Winner Who Brought Down Scheming Texas Tycoon, Dies, The New York Times, December 10, 2011.