Nation: Steam Cleaning

Billie Sol Estes strikes again

In 1971 Billie Sol Estes was paroled from a federal prison after serving six years for amassing a $ 150 million business empire through fraudulent land deals and nonexistent fertilizer tanks. He went to work in fundamentalist Abilene, Texas, as an overseer on his brother's cattle ranch and as a truck dispatcher for a petroleum company. Estes regularly assured his parole officer that, as required by the terms of his release, he was abstaining from business deals. He was happily working as a manual laborer, he said, and had "even washed trucks and fixed flats."

But the simple...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!