Head Exam, More Delays For Jail-Bound Hedgie:
After faking his suicide and going on the lam for 23 days to avoid a 20-year jail sentence for swindling investors out of $350 million, former Bayou hedge fund manager, Samuel Israel III, is dodging jail again. This time, the 49-year-old Israel has the backing of Federal Judge Kenneth Karas, who was scheduled to hear Israel's plea regarding his jail dodge in late October. Instead, Judge Karas deemed Israel unfit to represent himself, and ordered he be shipped to a medical prison facility in North Carolina for 90 days. Israel pled guilty to fraud in 2005, was sentenced to 20 years in April 2008 and was due to report to prison on June 9 but didn't show. His car was found parked on the Hudson River Bridge with the message “Suicide is Painless” scrawled in dust on the hood. Twenty-three days later, with investigators closing in, his mother convinced Israel — who had been hiding out at a $40-per-night Massachusetts campground — to turn himself in. In a pre-sentencing letter to the judge, Israel, the grandson of Samuel Israel, founder of ACLI International, a commodity trading powerhouse that Donaldson Lufkin and Jenrette bought in 1981 for $42 million, said the burden of his family's legacy had been too much.“I cheated my investors because I was afraid to admit my failure. I did not want the world to think I was not good enough and I did not want my family to see me as a failure,” he wrote. (Sniff. Sniff.)
17 Years of Theft
J.V. Huffman Jr., owner of Biltmore Financial Group, raised more than $25 million from more than 500 investors — including childhood friends and neighbors in North Carolina — primarily to fund his lavish lifestyle, according to the SEC. Huffman told investors his firm, Biltmore, operated like a mutual fund, but generated profits by pooling investor money to buy and sell mortgages. The SEC charges that investors were promised profits at “market rates,” that they wouldn't lose money and that the funds were “insured and secured” by the FDIC and SIPC. The SEC says Huffman has been at this con for 17 years. A request by the North Carolina Secretary of State's Securities Division to see his records put an end to the scam. Huffman confessed that he never invested the funds as represented to investors and carried out a classic Ponzi scheme, using new investor money to pay older investors. He also bought an Aston Martin convertible and a $1 million RV, had a home theater installed in his house, and purchased vacation and rental properties.