Israel’s RV, Scooter Head For The Auction Block

Jul 31 2008 | 2:39am ET

The apparatus of convicted hedge fund swindler Samuel Israel’s flight from justice are now the means toward making his investors whole.

U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon signed a preliminary order this week requiring Israel to forfeit the recreational vehicle and motorscooter with which he fled on June 2, the day he was scheduled to report to prison to begin a 20 year sentence for defrauding Bayou Group investors of $450 million.

Israel turned himself in to authorities in Southwick, Mass., on July 2. He had been living at a campground in the RV since ditching his car on a bridge north of New York City with the words, “suicide is painless,” scrawled on the hood.

In addition to the RV and scooter, McMahon ordered the Tiffany & Co. watch Israel was wearing sold, and the proceeds put towards the $150 million in restitution he was ordered to pay. The $932 in cash Israel had on him will also go towards paying the restitution down.

The assets ordered sold by McMahon may get Israel’s victims several thousand dollars, but the U.S. Marshals Service has recovered some $115 million by liquidating Bayou’s portfolio. The Bayou sale is part of the evolution of the Marshals Service’s role overseeing forfeiture sales, which it has done since 1984. Previously focused on more mundane items such as jewelry and cars, the Marshals are now running a portfolio worth some $1.7 billion, including 30 businesses—grocery stores, a Puerto Rico banana plantation and a Connecticut trash company among them.

“As the criminals become more sophisticated, we’ve had to become more sophisticated,” Eben Morales, head of asset-forfeiture with the Marshals, told Bloomberg News.

Of course, some of the white collar fraudsters are less sophisticated than others, such as the felons behind Bayou.

“You can’t believe some of the stupid investments these people made,” Leonard Briskman, the Marshals’ deputy chief for business management, told Bloomberg. Briskman is overseeing the Bayou portfolio.

“The Bayou guys lost money during the late ‘90s when almost everybody was making money in the market without even trying.”


In Depth

Exotic Assets: Investing In Rare Violins

Jan 17 2017 | 4:43pm ET

By definition, alternative investments include exotic assets far beyond your typical...

Lifestyle

'Tis the Season: Wall Street Holiday Parties Back In Fashion

Dec 22 2016 | 9:23pm ET

Spending on Wall Street holiday parties has largely returned to pre-2008 levels...

Guest Contributor

The Trump Administration: What It Could Mean for Carried Interest

Jan 19 2017 | 5:25pm ET

The arrival of the Trump administration brings the potential for a repeal of the...

 

From the current issue of

The healthcare sector went on a tear beginning in 2011, thanks in large part to the passage of the Affordable Care Act and its impending implementat