What kind of cases are you working on right now?
There’s a large pension-fraud case that I mention at the end of my book that I’m still working on. And this is an industrywide practice that all the custody banks engage in, the fraud scheme, that tens of millions of pension account holders, including firemen, police, municipal workers and workers at private companies and public corporations have been victimized by. And foreign pension accounts have also been looted using the same foreign exchange trading scheme. So this case is certainly going to be the tip of the iceberg and it’s certainly going to be a case that’s going to run into the tens of billions of dollars. It’s a larger case then it appears, but it’s industrywide. I expect as pension funds start checking their foreign currency trading records, they’ll spot the fraud.
You’ve said you could see Nicolas Cage, Matt Damon or Tom Hanks playing you in the movie. Would you play yourself? Your own trailer … pretty tempting.
Oh, hell no. I was on a movie set one time, and watching Sean Penn go through the same breakfast scene was the most boring experience of my life. Also, I know what my capabilities are and I cannot operate at that speed. We do have a documentary coming out called Fox Hounds in the fall. It’s going to be very emotional. You’re going to see how traumatic this case was to work on.
I’m picturing your office looking like something out of A Beautiful Mind. Tell me if I’m off base there.
It does in the documentary because they wanted to do that for cinematic effect. But my office is actually very neat.
Ponzi schemes are so last season. What’s the next trend in financial fraud?
Off-balance-sheet transactions are always going to be in. We have not eliminated that threat to the American economy. It was supposed to be ended by the new accounting rules, post-Enron, post-WorldCom, but we still saw it in the financial collapse of 2008, where all the money in our banks have hidden offshore liabilities, and I’m sure they still do. Banks are still not reporting everything accurately on their balance sheets. That needs to end. We need a tough set of laws. I personally would like to see an automatic 40 years in prison for the CEO, the CFO and the general counsel of any publicly held American corporation that has anything off balance sheet, that’s not consolidated onto a balance sheet. That should be the sentence for any unconsolidated, off-balance-sheet liability. This has to end, this year, here. It can’t continue.
It’s not unusual for men who attain a certain level of fame to be approached by Playgirl. Have they asked you to pose yet, will you say yes and will there be a bearskin rug involved?
Oh my God. [laughs] Ummm … probably not … Actually, what my entire team and I are holding out for is an interview at the Playboy Mansion. Make sure you say that I say that half in jest. But as for the posing … we do have one member of the team, Neil Chelo, who’s single, his wife recently left him, and I think he would be the one to do it. I don’t think the rest of us see ourselves as sex objects. I can guarantee our wives don’t! But we are going to have to tell them now that women see us as sex objects. Hopefully, that’ll boost our status in their eyes. We are going to play this to the max.
Bess Levin is editor of DealBreaker.com