Monday, March 12, 2012

Murder and Betrayal of the Rich and Famous

According to a study by the Scripps Howard News Service, the percentage of unsolved homicides nationwide has risen sharply. Nearly 185,000 killings from 1980 to 2009 are unsolved. Every year in America 6,000 killers get away with murder.

Despite dramatic improvements in DNA analysis and forensic science, police fail to make an arrest in more than one-third of all homicides.

If the top 1% is going to lie, cheat, steal, and kill each other for their money, shouldn't we at least properly tax them first? Especially on generation-skipping inheritances.

  • Dana Ewell ordered the killing of his multi-millionaire father, mother and sister, just so that he could access the family fortune. He was convicted and sentenced to three life sentences.
  • Steven Benson murdered his mother, tobacco heiress Margaret Benson of the Lancaster Leaf Tobacco Co. and his brother, tennis player Scott Benson. Steven's sister, Carol Lynn Benson Kendall, (a former Miss Florida runner-up) survived the car bomb. Steven was sentenced to life in prison.
  • Ricky Kyle was filled with hate for his millionaire father and greed for his fortune, a prosecutor told jurors during final arguments in Kyle's patricide retrial. His father headed a $100-million empire that included apartments, restaurants, dairy farms, a bank and Four Star Productions, a television production company.
  • T. Cullen Davis is an oil heir who was arrested for, and later acquitted of, the murders of his stepdaughter and his estranged wife's boyfriend, then hiring a hitman to kill his estranged wife and a judge. The children later sued Davis for wrongful death and were awarded $250,000 in a settlement.
  • Andrew Luster is the great-grandson of cosmetics giant Max Factor and an heir to the Max Factor cosmetics fortune. He grew up in Malibu, California and had been supported by a $3.1 million trust fund as he traveled and surfed at various beaches. After forfeiting bail and disappearing from justice for a series of rapes, Luster was eventually found by bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman and was later convicted in 2003.
  • Patrizia Reggiani is the ex-wife of Maurizio Gucci, son of Rodolfo Gucci, the former head of the famous Gucci fashion house who sold his stock in Gucci in 1993 for $170 million to the Bahrain-based investment group, Investcorp. In 1995, a year and a half after the sale of Gucci, he was gunned down by a hired hit man. His wife was later convicted of arranging the killing.
  • Joel Sandler is a multi-millionaire who hired a hitman to kill his wife to keep from paying alimony. Sandler received up to 25 years in prison and lost as much as 75% of the multi-million fortune he had tried to withhold from his wife in the consequent divorce settlement
  • Generosa Rand LeGaye was the widow of multi-millionaire New York businessman Ted Ammon, who was murdered during their bitter divorce battle. Ammon-Pelosi and her lover Daniel Pelosi were both suspects in Ammon's bludgeoning death.
  • Candace "Candy" Mossler was a socialite at the center of a sensational, highly-publicized murder trial in the 1960s. Candace Mossler and her nephew Melvin Lane Powers, with whom she was having an incestuous affair, were charged with the killing of Candy's millionaire husband, Jacques Mossler.
  • Peter Bergna is wealthy art appraiser from Lake Tahoe who was sentenced to life in prison for murdering his wife by staging a car crash off a cliff 14 years ago. He has again appealed his conviction.
  • Kristi Koslow arranged the assassinations of her father, Texan millionaire Jack Koslow and his socialite wife Caren Courtney. Evidently, police said, Kristi killed for money alone.
  • Joyce Cohen got a life sentence for the murder of her millionaire husband.
  • William Rouse was sentenced to 80 years in prison for the brutal murders of his parents, Bruce and Darlene Rouse, who were both self-made millionaires.
  • Brandi Lynn Hungerford was the exotic stripper who was dating Rick Chance, the millionaire owner of Empire Auto Glass. She pled guilty to Rick Chance's murder in exchange for second-degree murder, armed robbery and conspiracy charges.
  • Debra Hartmann was married to multi-millionaire Werner Hartmann, a German immigrant who had made a fortune in the car stereo business, married a striptease artist whom he had met at a local nightclub where she was performing. She was much younger than he. The marriage was soon on the rocks. In 1981 Debra Hartmann moved out of the marital abode and in with her lover, a tennis pro--and gun-store clerk--named Korabik. They decided to murder Werner before he could divorce her.
  • Joseph Gamsky aka Joe Hunt and his investment club (the Billionaire Boys Club) was an organization run as a Ponzi scheme, and the money contributed by investors was spent on supporting lavish lifestyles for young members of the club. When funds ran short, Hunt and other club members turned to murder, and at least two people were killed.
  • Claudine Georgette Longet (pictured below and the only one on this list that might be innocent) was a singer, recording artist, actress and dancer. She arrested and charged with fatally shooting her boyfriend, Olympic skier Vladimir "Spider" Sabich at his Aspen, Colorado home in 1976. At trial, Longet said the gun discharged accidentally. The jury convicted her of a lesser charge, a misdemeanor criminal negligence, and sentenced her to pay a small fine and spend 30 days in jail. Longet has not performed publicly since the trial.

Bonus "Family Feud" Murder

Frank Marquis received 24 years in prison for manslaughter and burglary. He had murdered Dr. Sam Shoen's beautiful Norwegian wife, Eva. She had been shot to death in their ski chalet in Telluride, Colorado, in August 1990. Her death was linked to the battle over a family business.

In 1994 the lawyers representing Dr. Sam Shoen won a judgment of $1.4 billion against Joe and Mark Shoen in the lawsuit Shoen v. Shoen. They were the heirs of Leonard Shoen, founder of U-Haul.

What has come to be known as the U-Haul Case is really a long and festering family feud that pitted family patriarch L.S. Shoen and his oldest son, Sam, against two other sons, Joe and Mark, who had usurped control of the billion-dollar international company.

Typical Wall Street Greed and Betrayal

  • Bernie Madoff holds the world-record for biggest Ponzi scheme in history. Madoff stole billions while chairing the Nasdaq and maintaining cushy relationships at the SEC. He received the maximum sentence of 150 years in prison.
  • Jon Corzine, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs and of MF Global, a financial services firm specializing in futures brokerage. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in October 2011, and he can't account for over $1 billion that's missing.
  • Joseph P. Nacchio - The CEO of Qwest Communications International. He was convicted of 19 counts of insider trading in Qwest stock and was sentenced to six years in federal prison
  • Kenneth Lay and Jeffery Skilling -- Enron!!!
  • Thomas Joseph Petters - The former CEO and chairman of Petters Group Worldwide and convicted for turning his company into a $3.65 billion Ponzi scheme. He received a 50 year federal prison sentence.
  • Eugene Plotkin and David Pajcin, both formerly of Goldman Sachs, were the masterminds behind a complex Wall Street con and a scam using strippers to solicit information from Wall Street bankers.
  • Richard Scrushy - He was once the superstar CEO of HealthSouth, a huge provider of outpatient rehab services until federal prosecutors accused him of masterminding a $2.7 billion fraud.
  • Samuel Israel III turns his wall street hedge fund Bayou Investments into a Ponzi scheme after poor management, then attempts a fake suicide to flee prosecution.
  • Dennis Kozlowski - He was once described as "The Most Aggressive CEO in America," now sits behind bars. A poster boy of excess, the former CEO of Tyco stole millions from his company, using the money for a lavish party, a gilded shower curtain and expensive art.
  • Anthony Elgindy - "The Mad Max of Wall Street" - The founder of Pacific Equity Investigations was a short seller who made millions in a trading scam using government secrets.
  • Lou Pearlman - The manager of bands like *NSYNC and The Backstreet Boys and masterminded scams of $500 million from investors in the longest running Ponzi scheme.
  • Al Parish - An economics professor and a trusted financial advisor was sentenced to federal prison after pleading guilty to financial fraud. Nearly 600 people lost up to $90 million invested in Parish Economic's private investment pools.
  • Sholam Weiss - He helps fix the National Heritage Life Insurance's gaping $35 million accounting hole, and ends up partnering up with them - and bilking customers out of $500 million. He was sentenced to 845 years in prison.
  • Robert W. McLean - An investment manager and arts patron who traveled by limousine and ran a Ponzi scheme that had siphoned tens of millions of dollars from close friends and business associates. He eventually killed himself.
  • Stephen Trantel was once a Wall Street insider, a broker making hundreds of thousands of dollars in the Manhattan trading pits. After becoming unemployed, he started robbing banks.
  • Nancy Kissel murders her husband Robert Kissel, who had been a vice president in Goldman Sachs' Asian special situations group. His brother, Andrew Kissel, who had been accused of defrauding a New York co-op board of millions of dollars, was found murdered at his rented Greenwich, Connecticut estate.
  • Alberto Vilar - An investor who was known as "a patron of opera". He was tried and convicted in November 2008 on charges of money laundering, investment advisor fraud, securities fraud, wire fraud and mail fraud, and was sentenced in February 2010 to nine years in prison.
  • Danny Pang - He was the CEO of Private Equity Management Group who ran a Ponzi scheme and made millions betting on when people will die. His wife, ex-stripper Janie Louise Pang, was murdered in the Villa Park house, possibly by a contract killer, after she took steps toward a divorce. He has also since died. Wall Street Journal
  • Marc Harris promised financial freedom to people with off-shore bank accounts as a way to keep assets out of the reach of government. But the "guru" was running a Ponzi scheme and bilking clients out of millions of dollars.
  • Robert Allen Stanford - He was the chairman of the now defunct Stanford Financial Group and was a sponsor of professional sports - - now accused of a massive Ponzi scheme.
  • William “Boots” Del Biaggio III - A venture capitalist and former co-owner of the hockey team San Jose Sharks. He was sentenced to eight years in prison and more than $67.4 million in restitution for misappropriating funds from individual investors he advised.
  • Martin Frankel - A financier and con-man who vanished with $200 million dollars. A story of money laundering, prostitution, bizarre sex and drug abuse.
  • Bernard Ebbers - The CEO of WorldCom becomes the poster child for everything that went wrong on Wall Street in the 1990s. WorldCom's eventual downfall shakes the financial community and the lives of thousands of investors.
  • Stefan Wilson - Operated a fraudulent investment fund. His Ponzi scheme took almost $13 million from over 50 investors and landed him 20 years in prison.
  • Marc Dreier is a high-powered lawyer with celebrity clients. But Dreier is a conman and steals more than $700 million from hedge funds.
  • Arthur Nadel - Manages the hedge fund Scoop Management Co, a $350 million fund. In the blink of an eye, he disappears and leaves clients without their life savings.
  • Kenneth Starr - An accountant to stars like Sylvester Stallone, Diane Sawyer, and Wesley Snipes, but mismanages his clients’ money, pockets millions, and then he marries an exotic dancer. But then later he gets more than seven years behind bars for a multimillion-dollar investment scheme.

Most Recent CEO Arrests

  • Michael Gilliland, the CEO for large grocery store chain in Austin Texas has resigned following an arrest in a child prostitution sting.
  • Don Vaccaro, the CEO of TicketNetwork Inc. was arrested for hurling a racial insult at a bouncer who said Vaccaro had been making unwanted advances to a woman.
  • David Jelenik, the CEO and manager of Jelenik Construction surrendered to State Police at Malta barracks after being charged with nine felonies for tax fraud.
  • Gary Butler, former CEO of Automatic Data Processing, Inc. was arrested on a criminal domestic violence charge a few days before the payroll processor announced his retirement.
  • Gerard Jay Tollett, the former president and CEO of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau has been charged with driving while intoxicated for the second time within a five-year period.
  • Bob Bartosiewicz, the CEO of CGI Communications got into a scuffle with officers and charged with resisting arrest, harassment and trespassing.
  • Carlton DeWayne Dunko, the CEO of the American Shingle Roofing Company was accused of bilking hundreds of people in 10 states out of their money and was charged with "theft by conversion".
  • Roger Berkowitz, the CEO of Legal Sea Foods has been charged with drug possession and trafficking.
  • More here

My Related Posts:

* American Psycho is a story told in the first person by Patrick Bateman, a serial killer and Manhattan businessman. Watch CNBC's series American Greed for more - - and Dominick Dunne's Power, Privilege and Justice on TruTV.

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