Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fascinating 60 Minutes and Vanity Fair Interview with Marc Dreier

60 Minutes ran a fascinating interview with Marc Dreier this week, which included significant discussion of the forces that led Dreier to commit fraud and the chain of events that led to the unraveling of his scheme.

The 60 Minutes interview was done in conjunction with Vanity Fair, which published an article regarding the interview with Dreier in this week's issue.

The sun-drenched apartment, perched high in a Midtown Manhattan building looking down on the famed restaurant Le Cirque, is as luxurious as one would expect for space that cost $10.4 million. Lined with floor-to-ceiling glass, the living room features low divans wrapped in rich golden fabric. On the vast outdoor deck, as big as many apartments, the views stretch north and east, all the way across Long Island Sound toward Connecticut.

Yet even a casual visitor would notice that something is amiss. Dozens of bare hooks line the white walls; all the paintings are gone. Boxes of paperwork litter the floors. In the kitchen, the knives are missing. Bags of trash overflow. The dining-room table is strewn with containers of half-eaten Chinese food. In an adjacent nook, an older man slumps on a sofa watching CNN on a wall-mounted flat-screen television. Unpaid bills are piling up. As nice as this apartment once was, it now feels like a $10 million dorm room.

That’s because it’s a jail. Sort of. On the orders of a federal judge, its owner is living here under house arrest. That man watching CNN? He’s a retired F.B.I. agent, one of several who rotate through all week long. One morning I arrive after 11. The owner, the man the security guards are watching, is just getting out of bed.

His name is Marc Dreier, he is 59 years old, and his life is over. A smallish, tightly wound man with red, stubbled cheeks and a silvery pompadour, Dreier was once a hotshot New York litigator with multi-millionaire clients. Then he stole $380 million from a bunch of hedge funds, got caught, and was arrested in Toronto under bizarre circumstances, having attempted to impersonate a Canadian pension-fund lawyer as part of a scheme to sell bogus securities to the big American hedge fund Fortress Investment Group. Now, as he wanders into the living room rubbing sleep from his eyes, Dreier is waiting for the judge to tell him just how many years he will spend in prison.

As he takes a seat across from me, he is wearing a loose-fitting black sweater and black jeans. And then, in the lifeless monotone of a death-row inmate, Marc Dreier begins to tell his story.


The Wall Street Journal Law Blog also has discussion of the interview.

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