Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, center, is mobbed by media as he gets into a car with his son, Bobby, right, after he and his wife were convicted on multiple counts of corruption at Federal Court in Richmond, Virginia on September 4, 2014.
Photograph by Steve Helber — AP
By Daniel Bukszpan
January 9, 2015

In “My Lost City,” F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote that “there are no second acts in American lives.” Virginia’s former governor Bob McDonnell is about to find out if this axiom applies to him. On Jan. 6, he was sentenced to two years in prison after being found guilty of “trading favors in return for $177,000 in loans, vacations and gifts,” according to The New York Times.

It would seem that a prison sentence for this type of crime would disqualify him from re-entering polite society. However, recent history suggests that this is not always the case.

For decades, public figures have committed financial improprieties, been sent up the river and then emerged full of beans and ready for act two. Many choose to live low-profile versions of their former lives, but their stories are far from over. In fact, a lucky few have even picked up where they left off, like nothing had happened.

Fortune presents a list of 9 famous and infamous ex-cons who McDonnell may want to take notes on. They may be models for him to follow in 2017.


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