Crazy Eddie v. Sam E. Antar

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Decades after their crimes, Crazy Eddie and Sam E. Antar meet face to face. The two were a the helm of a huge fraud called Crazy Eddie’s. The story will be on Business Nation on June 27. Here’s the promo piece.

The promo write-up:

For people in the Northeast in the ’70s and ’80s, it was hard to escape television and radio ads for Crazy Eddie, the discount electronics chain, whose prices were “insaaaaane.” But founder Eddie Antar was convicted of running an $80 million stock fraud that ultimately led to the business’s collapse. The chief witness against him and the person responsible for sending Eddie to federal prison for seven-and-a-half years: his cousin Sam Antar, who committed tax fraud and embezzlement in his capacity as the company’s chief financial officer.

The cousins, who haven’t spoken in 20 years, reunite for the first time on the next edition of CNBC’s “Business Nation,” CNBC’s monthly primetime business news magazine, scheduled to air Wednesday, June 27 at 10 PM and 1AM ET.

CNBC contributor Herb Greenberg tells the incredible tale of a family business that began as a single store on Kings Highway in Brooklyn, N.Y. The business eventually grew to one of the biggest retail electronic chains in the Northeast with 43 stores and annual sales exceeding $350 million.

Crazy Eddie was the place where people went to buy everything from toasters to stereos. During the chain’s glory days, Sam Antar tells Greenberg, “There was so much money everywhere; in the ceilings, under the mattresses, in the closets. There was so much cash skimmed that we didn’t know where to put it.”

The Antar family committed a laundry list of scams making it look like business was booming. When the Crazy Eddie chain was bought in 1987, the ruse was up and the SEC, FBI, US Postal Service and the Justice Department came crashing in. Eddie skipped town and Sam, all alone, was forced to testify against his own family to avoid prison. Eddie was convicted of conspiracy, racketeering and securities and mail fraud and ultimately Sam’s testimony sent him to prison.

In an unprecedented event, the cousins, who together masterminded one of the broadest and largest running white-collar crime operations, confront the past and each other with the help of CNBC’s “Business Nation.”

The story leads up to the dramatic moment when Sam is brought into a room where Eddie is being interviewed by CNBC. Greenberg reports that a large part of Sam’s struggle appears to be about the loss of control and the manipulation he said he experienced at the hands of Eddie.

On CNBC’s “Business Nation,” Sam tells Eddie, “You brought us up to be crooks, Eddie. Everything I became came from you, Eddie. Now I don’t blame myself, but everything I became I learned from you. 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.”

Although Sam realizes nothing can make up for past sins, he is now a dedicated forensic accountant used by accounting firms, universities, the FBI and even the Securities and Exchange Commission to rid the world of white collar crime. After serving his prison sentence, Eddie leads the life of a mellow grandfather.

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