26 June 2007

Crazy Eddie

They weren't really insane. If they had been, they would have pleaded it as a defense.

Anybody of a certain age remembers the ads. The television actor who hopped about as if on speed and shouted "Our prices are innnn-sane" was Jerry Carroll. Since everything can be found somewhere in cyberspace, it probably won't surprise you to know that there's a tribute page for thos ads, at this address:

http://pocketcalculatorshow.com/crazyeddie/

When I moved to Bridgeport in 1984, to open a law office, there was a downtown cheapskate electronics store calling itself "Crazy Freddy." I doubt there was any intellectual-property litigation as a result, the knock-off store seems to have failed quickly simply because the whole downtown area was depressed.

Anyway, the founder of the chain was Eddie Antar. By the middle of 1990, the SEC was investigating him and his associates (including his cousin Sam Antar) on suspicion that they were manipulating their books.

Eddie fled, and showed up in time in Israel. He was extradited to the US in 1992, and after four years of legal manuveuring he pled guilty to conspiracy and racketeering and spent seven years in prison.

Why do I bring all this up now? Because Antar has started showing his face in public again. To some degree, at least, he seems to want to rehabilitate his image. This weekend the Wall Street Journal ran an interview with Reformed Eddie, in which he said that although what he did was wrong, the business wasn't entirely a criminal enterprise. Real products were sold, real money was deposited in bank accounts, etc.

He also said that he sometimes runs into a satisfied customer who'll say something like "I bought my first stereo from you!"

One of the cable TV shows will run a piece on Eddie Antar tomorrow evening, I understand.

In the meantime, if you're interested, you can read an entertaining account of the Antar rise and fall here: http://www.acfe.com/documents/antarsample.pdf

1 comment:

Sam E. Antar said...

You wrote:

"This weekend the Wall Street Journal ran an interview with Reformed Eddie, in which he said that although what he did was wrong, the business wasn't entirely a criminal enterprise. Real products were sold, real money was deposited in bank accounts, etc."

My response:
It was a criminal enterprise.

Link here to my blog:
http://whitecollarfraud.blogspot.com/2007/06/crazy-eddie-speaks-cousin-sam-e-antar.html

Respectfully,

Sam E. Antar (former Crazy Eddie CFO & convicted felon)

Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.