Back in February, Josiah Boatswain, a 26-year-old from Flatbush, Brooklyn, and a few friends were pampering themselves at Fontainbleau: a $600-per-night resort that bills itself as the most luxurious hotel on the strip, promising high-end shopping, celebrities at every table, “24-7 glamour,” and an “expansive poolscape” on the stretch of Miami Beach known as Millionaire’s Row. Mr. Boatswain spent his vacation sipping Champagne, nibbling tiny chocolate cakes, and buying armfuls of couture, which he arranged in tableaux in his hotel room and photographed for his Facebook page.
In one picture, a silver wristwatch served as the understated centerpiece before a wall of Gucci and Salvatore Ferragamo boxes; another is simply a lineup of 11 shopping bags, like a Real Housewife’s walk-in closet. “My bro always want to do it big!” a friend commented approvingly.
According to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, Mr. Boatswain, “Siah” or “Pepsi” to his friends, was financing his taste for Gucci and Moët with other people’s money, and not just any other people’s money, but that of billionaire investor Ira Rennert, former AIG chief Hank Greenberg’s Starr Foundation, and the Wasserman family trust, among other high-profile philanthropists, financiers and New York personalities. No fewer than 55 people were indicted and arraigned two weeks ago in a case the city and the police have dubbed “INSIDERS,” so named because low-level employees allegedly stole financial account information from patrons of four institutions, including about 150 donors to the United Jewish Appeal-Federation and about 900 customers of an Audi dealership in Coney Island. The case has not been tried and the proceedings will likely take more than a year. But according to the DA, the final victim list included Eric Zinterhofer, son-in-law to cosmetics heir Ron Lauder; Paula Sarnoff Oreck, the niece of former RCA head David Sarnoff and ex-wife of Oreck vacuum-cleaner big David Oreck; and, according to the New York Post, NBA commissioner David Stern.
Billionaires. Cyber crime. Insiders. Did the investigators realize they had a very sexy case right away? “Oh, yeah,” said Assistant District Attorney David Szuchman. “Very early on, when we realized there was an insider at UJA; we realized that the amount of information that was being compromised was large,” he said. “Then we realized that the group had to be working with others and it was a very, very large group to investigate. The fraud was so prolific.” Read More