In 2009, about the time Bernie Madoff was exposed, Marc Dreier’s world came crashing down. Dreier was a lawyer in New York City who founded a major law firm. He was the sole partner and his 250 plus lawyers and staff were well paid, but did not participate in the firm’s profits.
Dreier was successful, but he wanted to be a billionaire, not just a millionaire.
One of his most audacious acts was to borrow $100 million from a hedge fund on behalf of a wealthy client. Dreier impressed the hedge fund manager and after the manager reviewed Dreier’s forged documents, the hedge fund loaned the money, without ever speaking to Dreier’s client. Dreier used the funds to prop up his over-extended law firm and to indulge in the finer things of life, including a large beach house in the Hamptons and an opulent yacht.
One day Dreier got a call from the hedge fund manager. Dreier’s client had defaulted on a payment. Dreier assured the manager that all his client needed was a short extension of time and all would be well.
Dreier suggested that the hedge fund manager come to his client’s lavish Wall Street office, to meet with him and his client and sort things out.
Here’s where the chutzpah comes in! Dreier called his client and asked if he could use a boardroom at his office. Not a problem.
Dreier showed up with an actor hired to impersonate his wealthy client and convinced the hedge fund manager that everything was under control. Dreier bought himself a little more time before his Ponzi scheme collapsed in ruins. He was arrested in Toronto, in the midst of another scam.
Dreier escaped the media scrutiny that Madoff couldn’t avoid, mainly because Dreier’s fraud only amounted to $400 million, while Madoff’s was $65 billion. As well, Dreier turned himself in two days before Madoff was arrested and thereafter, Madoff took centre stage.
Dreier is where he belongs, serving 20 years. He gets my vote today for legal chutzpah!
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang