25 Jun

Fascinating look into the mind of a white collar criminal

Sam Antar says the following about his crimes: “What I did was pure evil. I am going to probably fry in hell for many years before I get upstairs. We were nothing but cold hearted and soulless criminals. We were two bit thugs.”

Sam and his cousin Crazy Eddie Antar were partners in crime for many years with the Crazy Eddie company. Eddie was once the darling of Wall Street. Then the false financial statements got in the way. The Antar family cashed out almost $100 million in stock…

Maybe the craziest part about the fraud was that at one point, Eddie was seen as a hero to consumers. He was seen as someone will to buck the system and ignore fair trade laws to give consumers lower prices. The truth was that those low, low prices were merely part of Eddie’s bait and switch. Get the customer in with an advertised price, and switch them to a different products with a higher margin (they called them house brands) and sell an inflated warranty. Then if the customer paid cash for an item, the sale was not reported and the sales tax was kept by the Antars.

Sam and Eddie recently confronted each other, and the heated exchange will be shown on CNBC Business Nation with Herb Greenberg on Wednesday, June 27, 2007 at 10:00 PM and 1:00 AM (ET).

Sam says he was shocked to see Eddie. He hadn’t seen him since 1993 and hadn’t spoken to him since 1989, and was amazed at how old and weak he looked. He says Eddie tried to order him around during the interview, just like old days. He tried to control the discussion and Sam had this reply: “Don’t try to control the topic of conversation. You’re not a big (expletive) anymore, Eddie. You’re a two bit thug just like I am. So stop playing games.”

Eddie ran from the law when the Crazy Eddie fraud was uncovered. And Sam called him on it: “I stayed here and took the heat. You ran. You ran like a coward.” Eddie acused Same of doing things he still hasn’t confessed to, and Sam replied: “Then why didn’t he bring it up at trial?”

Herb Greenberg writes:

This rare interview with Antar was one of several I conducted in recent weeks. He originally contacted me several months ago after reading my column on his cousin, Sam. E. Antar, Crazy Eddie’s former chief financial officer. Sam’s testimony put Eddie in jail and kept him out. Sam has since become an expert on white-collar crime through his Web site, whitecollarfraud.com. Eddie felt there were things Sam hasn’t confessed – things even the government doesn’t know. Sam, who denies the allegations, retorts: “Then why didn’t he bring it up at trial? I had no interest in going back in history for a he-said/she-said story, but as this evolved into a TV project Eddie agreed to meet Sam face-to-face; they hadn’t spoken in 20 years.

Eddie Antar and his father and brothers blame the Crazy Eddief raud on Sam. Sam says that Eddie , his father, his brothers, his brother-in-law, and both ex-wives stashed millions of dollars in secret bank accounts overseas. The government found millions of dollars hidden by Eddie in safe deposit boxes. Sam says that he had no secret bank accounts and no hidden cash, and accounted for all of his money to the feds.

Read more about the Antar family’s divide on Sam’s blog, and view the promotional video for the CNBC program here:

One thought on “Fascinating look into the mind of a white collar criminal

  1. Thinking back 11 years ago, I would never have considered that I, a competent, well educated man, would be sitting in prison. That was a life educational experience where I learned, really for the first time, that there are consequences to every unethical choice we make. Though one might think that we can avoid the consequences, the reality is that they are unavoidable and certain. We just don’t know how or when we will face the inevitable.

    As a former CPA, through a series of bad choices or serious ethics lapses, I became a white-collar criminal. Now, I am an executive in a publicly held company and an international speaker. I now take the time to review my lessons from prison and write about those experiences so that others may gain benefit and perhaps learn from the experience of others. Some of us learn lessons the hard way. Yet, through sharing the experience of my incarceration and return to productivity, others have stated that they’ve been able to look at their choices in a different and more productive way.

    Sam considers himself a “two bit thug.” I, on the other hand, know from personal experience, that we have the capability of being more than our past actions. I am more than the choices I made in the mid 80’s. Today I am defined by the choices I make today and understand that every choice has a consequence.

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