Subscribe to Breaking News emails

You have successfully subscribed to the Breaking News email.

Subscribe today to be the first to to know about breaking news and special reports.

Charles Keating, Center of Savings and Loan Scandal, Dies at 90

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

Charles H. Keating Jr. — the infamous banker who built and lost a financial empire and played a leading role in the costliest savings and loan debacle of the 1980s — has died, his lawyer confirmed to NBC News. He was 90.

"I had the honor to represent him over many years, and I got to see a side of him many others did not. Though his controversies were many, he faced adversity with great dignity, wit and courage," Keating's lawyer, Stephen C. Neal, said in a statement late Tuesday.

Keating's Phoenix-based home construction company, American Continental Corp., bought Lincoln Savings & Loan in 1984. The multimillionaire boosted its worth from $1.1 billion to $5.5 billion in just a four-year period.

But Keating's business crashed amid state and federal convictions for defrauding investors. Keating allegedly fleeced Lincoln customers by selling them $200 million of unsecured "junk" bonds. They became useless when Keating's company went bankrupt.

The failure of the bank cost taxpayers $3.4 billion, according to the New York Times — and Keating's name soon became synonymous with an era of corporate greed and excess.

Keating's convictions on federal racketeering charges were eventually thrown out, and he agreed to a federal plea deal that freed him after nearly five years in prison, according to the Associated Press.

— Daniel Arkin

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
MORE FROM news