When the Hamburg police broke into a local hotel, looking for the world-famous swindler, then their attention fell on the red-haired Cindy Alison, while 44-year-old Martin Frankel, a skinny and unattractive subject somewhat reminiscent of Woody Allen, did not at all interested.
Meanwhile, it was this man who was the author and executor of one of the largest and most sophisticated scams in US history. In his suitcase found cash for 250 thousand and another 2 million diamonds. But what is this compared to the 200 million people whose embezzlement he was accused of?
Martin was born in 1954 in the town of Toledo, Illinois. His father was a respected judge. The child himself showed his talents at school already, only he had a real phobia for control, which prevented him from completing college. After graduation, Frankel decided to become a financier, and he learned business on stock markets from publications in the business press. On the surrounding, Martin produced the impression of an experienced analyst, for whom there were no secrets in the market fluctuations.
Only here the uncertainty did not allow him to make the most any deal. Perhaps, the treatment with hypnosis, soon yielded its fruit, because it is difficult to consider hesitant swindler, who turned swindle for two hundred million dollars. Curious detail – Martin admired Robert Vesco, the legendary swindler, instead of saving the investment fund pumped out of his latest juice, and then for a long time hiding.
In 1986, Frankel organized his own investment fund, which attracted about a million. The swindler easily entered into the trust, people saw in him not a fraud, but rather an awkward financial genius, a shy intellectual. In 1991, the fund burst, thanks to the activities of Martin’s partner, and Frankel was forever banned from conducting operations in the stock market.
However, in 1989, a scam was organized by another fund on someone else’s name – Creative Partners Fund. Attracted to the fund money allowed to create in 1991 his trust Thunor Trust, which was engaged in buying up troubled insurance companies.
The first of them invested about $ 4 million, it ceased to be problematic, and Frankel got access to liquid securities that any organization of this kind had to provide future payments to customers. So, the company “Franklin”, which turned out to be the first in the list of victims of the swindler of such reserves, there were 20 million dollars.
These funds went to payments to investors of the investment firm Creative Partners and the cessation of its activities, and the remaining funds were purchased by new insurance companies. Seven years of successful activity led to the fact that in 1998 for 48 million was acquired by a prosperous company First National Life Insurance with assets of 100 million. As a result, the total of all assets of the Frankel Trust at that time reached 434 million.
But this was not enough for Martin, he decided to expand his empire by attracting the Catholic Church as patrons. The scammer believed that no one would suspect a fraudulent charity fund under the auspices of the Vatican. Frankel reduced his acquaintance with prominent religious figures, who also announced his desire to donate to the needs of the church 50 million.
As a result, the Virgin Islands created a charity fund named after Francis of Assisi, through which the swindler laundered money. In 1999, the supervisory authorities became interested in the activities of insurance companies, from the account to which the money was constantly transferred, a suspicious picture of what was happening was soon revealed. Immediately became aware of the unseemly role of the fund with a religious sign.
While the government was restoring the full picture of fraud and destroyed papers, Frankel and two girlfriends fled to Europe, where he was arrested in 1999.There he received three years in prison and a fine for a fake passport and smuggling of diamonds and fully agreed with the sentence, fearing extradition to his homeland. All seven insurance companies, acquired by Frankel, were, of course, bankrupt.
The swindler was extradited to the United States, where he pleaded guilty to 24 counts. Also arrested was Monsignor Coladjovanni, the former head of the Francis Foundation, he and the Vatican were charged with financial crimes. A civil suit was filed against the Swiss bank SCS Alliance, which spent money on Frankel’s offshore accounts.
A special investigation by the House of Commons of the US Congress placed the main responsibility for the incident on the organs of individual states that were supposed to regulate insurance activities, and in front of whom Frankel worked openly for several years. The scam, according to the inspectors, went so far not only because of Frankel’s talents, but also because of the indecisiveness and inaction of the relevant state bodies.