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Martha Pal Checks Into Big House

ImClone Systems founder Samuel Waksal arrives at Manahattan Federal court to be sentenced for his role in the ImClone insider trading scheme, Tuesday, June 10, 2003, in New York.
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ImClone Systems Inc. founder Sam Waksal arrived Wednesday at a minimum-security prison about 75 miles from Philadelphia to begin serving a prison sentence of more than seven years.

"I deeply regret the mistakes I've made that have brought me here today," Waksal said after arriving at the Schuylkill Federal Correctional Institution in style — a Range Rover — but dressed comfortably in blue jeans, white sneakers and a blazer.

Waksal is the first chief executive to do time in the wave of corporate scandals that accompanied the recession.

CBS News Correspondent Dan Raviv reports Waksal said he was ready to start paying for his mistakes, adding that he hopes he can go on and do something useful "after this."

The 55-year-old scientist admitted last fall to tipping his daughter to dump ImClone stock in December 2001 because he had received word the government was about to issue a negative report on the ImClone cancer drug Erbitux.

He was sentenced June 10 to seven years and three months in prison and ordered to pay about $4.3 million. A federal judge scolded him at the time for "lawlessness and arrogance."

Among his friends is Martha Stewart, who was indicted June 4 in the scandal. Prosecutors said she sold her own shares after she was tipped that the Waksals were moving to sell theirs, then lied about it to investigators.

At Schuylkill Federal Correctional Institution in Minersville, Pa., Waksal will be one of about 300 federal inmates.

They do menial work — scrubbing floors, cutting grass, kitchen duty, cleaning inmate quarters — for pay ranging from 16 cents to 40 cents per hour. Inmates work 7½ hours each day, five days a week.

Prisoners at Schuylkill can attend evening education programs, but must return by 8:30 p.m. to their quarters — inside open, dormitory-style houses with rows of bunk beds and small lockers for the inmates.

"It's basically like a military barracks," said Dan Dunne, a spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.

Waksal asked to be sent to a prison at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. — a white-collar facility Forbes magazine once called the best place to be incarcerated in America.

Dunne would not discuss why prison officials sent Waksal to Pennsylvania instead. He said prison assignments are made based on a variety of factors, including escape risk, medical considerations and the residence of the criminal.

Waksal's attorney, Mark Pomerantz, did not return a call Tuesday seeking comment.

Waksal pleaded guilty last year to charges including securities fraud and perjury. He later admitted to dodging more than $1 million in sales tax on nine paintings he bought from a Manhattan art gallery.

Stewart, a longtime friend of Waksal's, was indicted on charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, securities fraud making and false statements to federal officials.

She has pleaded innocent on all counts and mounted a public defense, including a Web site that is updated daily with new support letters from the fans she built as a cultural maven of domestic style and graceful living.

Stewart's ex-stockbroker, Peter Bacanovic, was also indicted and has pleaded innocent.