Hedge Fund Manager Never Paid For Murder Victim's Funeral

Jan 31 2012 | 12:49pm ET

Six weeks after the horrific killing of a Brooklyn, N.Y., woman, a self-proclaimed hedge fund manager and businessman has failed to make good on a promise to pay for her funeral.

Darren Weingrow pledged up to $10,000 to cover the costs of Deloris Gillespie's funeral, as well as travel and accommodations for her family. But, despite repeated and varying promises to pony up, Gillespie's family hasn't seen a dime.

Weingrow has claimed that he has made multiple attempts to deposit the money into an account set up by a Brooklyn city councilwoman. He told The New York Times that he had twice tried to wire the money, but the account number given was incorrect. Councilman Letitia James denied that allegation, and said that Weingrow had refused her offer to send someone to pick up a check.

Since then, Weingrow's behavior towards the press has been erratic, to say the least. Following repeated and unanswered requests for clarification from the Times, he called a reporter at 2:30 a.m. and demanded to meet later that day. But he then cancelled both that appointment and another, and "abruptly ended a phone interview."

Gillespie, 73, was burned to death in the elevator of her Brooklyn apartment building in last month. The crime was capture on two security cameras, allegedly showing Jerome Isaac, a homeless handyman occasionally employed by Gillespie, dousing her with gasoline and setting her on fire with a Molotov cocktail.

"The only logical thing is that he wanted publicity," Gillespie's daughter, Sheila Gillespie-Hillsman told the paper. "If he didn't, it just doesn't make sense."

If so, it worked: When he failed to make good on his promised philanthropy, the Times took a deeper look into Weingrow, finding that in 2009 he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute marijuana and was sentenced to three years of supervised release. The Times also called his business bonafides into question, noting that it was unable to contact his BullBear Capital Partners and that his web site, OTCUpdates.com, led to a flurry of broken links and error messages.

Where Weingrow failed, however, others have stepped up. The funeral home agreed to waive its charges and the hotel that put Gillespie's family up agreed to do so at its employee rate. In addition, Gillespie's landlord agreed to clean out her cluttered apartment for free—a job that was quoted at $8,000. Other expenses were covered by smaller donations than that promised by Weingrow.

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