Herb Greenbergs thinks the former CEO of Comverse Technology, Jacob “Kobi” Alexander can learn a thing or two from Eddie Antar. Alexandar fled the United States with his family, going to Namibia, allegedly with over $57 million transferred out of the country before he left. He is currently awaiting an extradition trial, and faces U.S. charges of conspiracy to commit mail, wire and securities fraud.
Eddie was the founder and CEO of Crazy Eddie, a chain of electronics stores that was discovered to be in the midst of a $100 million fraud in the 1980s. The store was famous for its slogan “Our prices are INSANE,” and the case against Eddie and his cousin Sam Antar was equally as crazy. The fraud included document shredding, inflated inventory, inflated earning, skimming, and money laundering.
He went on the run for over two years before he was arrested in Israel in 1992. Eddie dodged the law by running through United Kingdom, France, Canada, Switzerland and Israel with fake passports. He was in an Israeli prison for 8 months before being extradited to the United States. Here, he spent over seven years in federal prison after his guilty plea to conspiracy charges, and was released in 1999.
Now, Eddie Antar says people don’t want to have anything to do with him. He spends a quiet life as a grandfather in New York, and says that he deserved the punishment. The company had a 22 year run, so at least some of the operations were legitimate. Herb quotes Eddie:
Mr. Antar’s advice to others: “All the money in the world is not worth a day in prison — ain’t worth one day.” If he hadn’t broken the law, he says, “I’d be a Best Buy today, or I would have been sought to be bought out by many companies. I’d be a billionaire today. I had around $100 million that [the government] took from me. That was cash in the bank. It was everything I had. Can you imagine what that would be worth today? I blew it big time.”
Mr. Alexander, are you listening?
More on Eddie Antar and his cousin Sam on CNBC on Wednesday night at 10pm EDT.