I have increased my obsession with CNBC’s American Greed in the past couple months. I think the increase has been due to the fact that since we moved I went to a different cable company than the one I had for the previous five years, so it takes a good 35 mins to get through the 200+ channels I have, so I just give up and turn on CNBC at 10pm which is the time The Wife usually heads up to bed. If you aren’t familiar with the show,
American Greed is an American, weekly, “true crime” television documentary series aired on CNBC. The program is produced by Kurtis Productions. The program focuses on the stories behind some of the biggest corporate and white collar crimes in recent U.S. history (e.g., WorldCom, HealthSouth and Tyco). In addition, stories about common financial crimes that affect scores of everyday citizens (Ponzi schemes; real estate and other investment frauds; bank robbery; identity theft; medical fraud; embezzlement; insurance fraud; murder-for-hire; art theft; credit card fraud; and, money laundering) are also featured. Other topics have included the story behind Nevada’s infamous Mustang Ranch, and rise-and-fall pieces on highly successful, high-profile business people (e.g., boy band impresario Lou Pearlman, and Mark Dreier. The series has also produced specials on subjects like Bernie Madoff’s life behind bars, and how organized crime groups (including the U.S. mafia) earn money. In season four, the show covered stories including high-profile cases such as Raffaello Follieri, Marcus Schrenker, and Sholam Weiss.
It is a highly addicting show if you follow business news at all. Each episode is the same much like an episode of SVU would be (except replace a very real fraud/crime with a fake character dying). Someone who is usually very smart or charismatic runs an okay business/investment, gets greedy, can’t stop the greed either because they love the toys or the fame (usually both), gets caught and ends up in jail. Throughout the episode will be people who were screwed by the perpetrator of the crime. I think it is addicting because the focus of the story may have been someone you have heard about in the news either before or after the arrest. Every time I watch an episode (which we have established as often) I often wonder the same thing for at least a few minutes after..
How Many of Those With The Toys Are Just Faking It?
With the Hamptons, The Gold Coast, wine country, Montauk, housing prices, and median incomes I live in a very affluent part of the Country…Long Island. Just drive through the South Fork and you’ll see mansion after mansion worth WELL north of ten million dollars. Hell, even on my buddy’s boat we would see houses with property taxes more than double the median income. Well, watching these shows makes me wonder (even if it is for a fleeting second) how many of these assets are “owned” by those just faking it? For example, a subject of a few episodes was Marc Drier, an ex-attorney whose story is literally unbelievable (he pretended to be one of his real estate clients so obtain money from a hedge fund manager lol), despite being deep deep deep into a quasi-fraud/ponzi scheme, owned a
…house in West Hampton. He bought a place in Quogue, then he bought the house next door. He purchased the $18 million 121-foot (37 m) yacht Seascape, which included a crew of 10 and a Jacuzzi, and docked it in New York and St. Martin. Dreier owned a waterfront home in the Hamptons, a Manhattan triplex, and a penthouse on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, California, which he leased out. He drove a Mercedes 500 in New York and an Aston Martin in California. He was considered a “bon vivant” because he dated beautiful women, was a member of the Harmonie Club, and maintained a high profile at charity events
Obviously, I still believe most of the wealth is true but just leaves me to wondering even if it is for a fleeting second, who is faking it? and who is ripping people off to obtain the kind of wealth that is out there? Notwithstanding the distrust in this post, I think that since it is the fact that the feeling is just for a fleeting second makes my financial goals still in tact as you don’t need to be a dirt bag to obtain wealth.