Not that we’re CNBC here on SSC, but it’s hard not to notice some of the recent fraud related headlines hitting the Bay Area. Most of these have been festering many years with their perpetrators now receiving their comeuppance in the form of jail time, fines, and, unfortunately for family members, often public humility.
What really strikes me is the outlandish nature of the scams. It seems the more crazy, over the top and preposterous the idea, the more likely it is to bilk others. Classic snake oil… tell people what they want to hear. Sell the dream!
So here’s the fraud scorecard for 2009 so far (ps – income tax evasion is so passé).
‘Boots’ Del Biaggio
Who: Co-founder of Heritage Bank, part owner of the Nashville Predators hockey team
Crime: Using phony documents to borrow $48M and mismanaging (i.e. spending it on cars, houses, gambling) another $20M
Fines and Time: $67.5M restitution, 8 years
He said: “I’m losing sleep, and I’m scared and I truly understand what the victims are going through,” Del Biaggio told the judge at one point. “There were so many investments, and I was under a lot of pressure. I thought somehow I could pull it all together.”
Who: A supposed “three-time Oscar winning” sound designer from Pleasanton
Crime: Investment fraud scheme; used a fake Oscar statuette and exotic cars (Lamborghini Murcielago, Hummer H2, Mercedes SL 500R) to lure investors
Fines and Time: $4.2M restitution, 4 years
We say: His “cricket noise” and “flamethrower” sound effects should have been the first red flag that this guy is not exactly Oscar-calibre! Listen here: www.bricecarrington.com
Unnamed purchasing agent at Wilson Sonsini
Who: Purchasing specialist at marquee law firm Wilson Sonsini
Crime: Conspired with supplier, bought $1M fictitious orders of index tab dividers, skimmed the money
Fines and Time: TBD (up to $250,000 and 20 years), Oct 8 court appearance, money laundering, wire fraud
San Jose Mercury News reported: “Dominguez then billed Wilson Sonsini for the fake orders as if they had been filled, and Tashiro approved those invoices and forwarded them to the firm’s accounting department in batches along with real ones, the indictment said.”
I even found a fraud timeline that highlights the major fraud events of the 21st century in the Bay Area: mapreport.com.