Okay. Iâ€™ve hesitated to post this blog entry simply because I hate to mess up with life and death situations. Itâ€™s too intense and I donâ€™t want to be rude or wrong. But since the world is almost sure that Samuel Israel, the former founder of Bayou Group LLC is fooling everyone with his phony suicide , why not speculating about the conditions of his very unlikely death?
Iâ€™m hoping that he did not kill himself, no matter how painless death is when granted by the act of jumping off a bridge. I would feel lousy to poke fun at a suicide victim, if he was one and to have hurt his family. After all, the crook is a human being. But since everyone is convinced that the suicide is fake â€“and I mean everyone: Not just my colleagues but also the market, the investors, the U.S. authorities, the New York State Police, the FBIâ€¦I suspect Fed chairman Ben Bernanke will have a speech about that too—then let me free myself from any guilt. Since the thief is probably on the lam , letâ€™s talk about suicide frauds and unfound corpses.
I only have two points remotely related to the key issue which is: Where is he?
First point is a digression on the past. Dan Marino, Mr. Israelâ€™s ex-partner in crime also had suicidal fantasies. The man should be in the picture too. When the scandal unfolded in 2005, Mr. Marino also left a suicide note saying: â€œIf there is a hell, I will be there for all eternity.”
Dan, I donâ€™t mean to be rude, but where did you get the idea that hell was temporary anyway?
My second point is about how to get a rich and smart person in jail. Please note: I have nothing against rich people, at the contrary. Really I donâ€™t. Iâ€™ve always thought Iâ€™d be rich one day too so I cut rich people a lot of slack, because I know that one day, when I am a superstar, journalists will be nice to me too. Itâ€™s good karma. But Iâ€™m talking about the bad rich guys here. The crooks, the criminals. Iâ€™m not talking about hedge fund managers. This blog is not the New York Times. When bad and rich people convicted of crimes can afford to pay for their bail, watch out! Those birds have wings.
So let’s say you rip off investors and steal $400 million from them. With that money you can surely afford a bail. You get sentenced. The FBI gives you an appointment at 2 p.m. on a Monday afternoon, months after your trial. Donâ€™t forget the date: Itâ€™s important. On Monday at 2 p.m. youâ€™re about to start your 20-year prison term. You’re not too happy about it. You spoke to your shrink several time about that. Then Monday comes.
You say goodbye to your spouse. He or she notices you are upset. Who wouldn’t be? Tick tockâ€¦.The plot thickens. Youâ€™re supposed to drive there and meet your fate.
AND THE FBI EXPECTS YOU TO SHOW UP????
This is the part I don’t get. I repeat. Iâ€™m a little slow. They tell you: Please show up at 2 p.m. to serve a 20-year sentence. We look forward to locking you up for 20-years. And you go?
I already have a hard time pushing myself to show up for jury duty. How can we expect anyone in generalâ€”and Mr. Israel, the mastermind of the Bayou fraud in particular–to show up on time at a meeting with prison guards? How can anyone ask Mr. Israel to report to the Federal prison in Ayers, Massachusetts to spend the rest of his life behind bars? It’s unfair. It’s a violation of human rights…putting anyone under such pressure!
I mean, here is how I picture what most people would do. Relax, I’m just making that stuff up.
The judge gives you 20 years. You go home, have a beer. You watch TV. Maybe the news. Or a baseball game. Personally, I love soccer or the Discovery Channel. Then you reach for the yellow pages under “plastic surgery.” Couple of hours and a six-pack later, you leave your house at dawn. You hit a pedestrian with a plastic baseball bat at night and steal his ID. You go on the Internet and get yourself a new passport.
I’m not saying that I would do that. I don’t know what I would do. But wouldn’t most people with money and a brain do that?
Jumping from a bridge? That’s for the middle class.