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Why Did Jane Bam Margera Go to Prison?

Jane Bam Margera is the mother of famous professional skateboarder and TV personality Bam Margera. She appeared alongside her son on his popular MTV shows Viva La Bam and Jackass in the 2000s. However, in 2007, Margera made headlines for her conviction on felony theft charges – a dramatic departure from her comedic TV persona that revealed her struggles with substance abuse.

Background on Jane Margera

Born in 1951, Jane Margera (née Giovanna Marie Lombardi) married Phil Margera in 1974. The couple had two children – Bam and his older brother Jess. The Margeras lived in West Chester, Pennsylvania where Jane worked various jobs over the years including as a school bus driver.

As her son Bam rose to fame, Jane began making cameo appearances on his shows starting in the early 2000s. She played the typical wacky sitcom mom, endearing herself to fans in the process. But behind the scenes, deeper issues plagued her.

2005 Arrest in Ohio

In June 2005, Jane Margera was arrested in Ohio for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Police pulled her over after observing erratic driving and she failed subsequent field sobriety tests.

Margera pleaded no contest to the charges and received a suspended 180-day jail sentence along with probation and license restrictions. This incident foreshadowed Margera’s later legal troubles.

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The 2007 Theft & Forgery Charges

In 2007, Jane Margera found herself in serious legal jeopardy when she was charged with felony theft, forgery and identity theft back in Pennsylvania.

Police alleged that Margera had opened credit cards by using the personal information of her friend and former landlord without their consent. She racked up $13,000 in purchases with the fraudulent credit cards.

When the charges came to light, Margera quickly admitted wrongdoing and took responsibility. Nonetheless, the crimes were severe enough to warrant a prison sentence.

Trial, Conviction and Incarceration

Given the irrefutable evidence against her, Jane Margera opted for an open guilty plea on the charges of felony theft and forgery. In exchange, the identify theft charges were dropped.

In June 2007, Margera was sentenced to 10-23 months in county jail – a relatively short but sobering stint for the suburban housewife-turned-reality TV fixture.

Life at Chester County Prison

During her nearly one year of incarceration, Jane Margera occupied herself by doing administrative work for the prison system. Sources suggest she did not receive any preferential treatment despite her minor fame.

Margera completed mandatory substance abuse and behavioral counseling programs during her sentence. Her son Bam also pulled strings to get her work release in order to receive treatment.

Reasons Behind Margera’s Downfall

Those close to Jane Margera point to a few key factors that contributed to her sudden downward spiral into substance abuse and crime:

Mental health issues

Margera suffered from severe anxiety and depression which she attempted to self-medicate through alcohol and drugs.

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Loss of identity and purpose

The end of her marriage and empty nest syndrome after her sons moved out left Margera feeling aimless and lonely.

Stress from fame

Becoming a pseudo-celebrity on MTV put unexpected stress and scrutiny on the previously low-key Margera.

Unhealthy family dynamics

Margera’s dysfunctional relationship with her son Bam, which often involved heavy partying, fueled her disorders.

Lack of accountability

Enablers allowed Margera’s problematic behaviors to go on unchecked for too long.


While brief, Jane Margera’s 10-month jail stay marked a dramatic fall from grace and long overdue reckoning for the wayward reality TV mom. Her crimes underscored the hidden troubles concealed by the facade she presented on her son’s shows. Ultimately though, Margera’s incarceration provided the wake-up call and treatment she badly needed to turn her life around.

Key Points:

  • In 2007, Bam Margera’s mom Jane served 10 months for theft after opening fraudulent credit cards
  • Mental illness, loss of purpose, fame stress, dysfunctional family, and lack of accountability fueled her crimes
  • She received substance abuse treatment and counseling while incarcerated
  • Margera’s jail time provided a sobering reckoning for the once comedic reality TV fixture
  • Her downward spiral exposed the pitfalls of pseudo-celebrity and untreated disorders

Imran Khan

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Welcome to ‘Prison Inside,’ a blog dedicated to shedding light on the often hidden and misunderstood world within correctional facilities. Through firsthand accounts, personal narratives, and insightful reflections, we delve into the lives of those who find themselves behind bars, offering a unique perspective on the challenges, triumphs, and transformations that unfold within the confines of these walls.

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