|Deadline New York Photo: Danny DeVito|
In an exclusive interview with Mike Fleming from Deadline New York, Producer and Director Danny DeVito whines about how problems in obtaining Eddie Antar's life rights essentially sunk his Crazy Eddie movie project. However, Danny DeVito does not tell the whole story to Mike Fleming.
Apparently, Danny DeVito wanted to do a story that glamorized Eddie Antar and portray him as some sort of misguided hero. As the other "main character" in our frauds, I will have no part of any production that is sympathetic to any character, including myself, for our heinous cold-blooded crimes.
In addition, DeVito has made a series of troubling comments to the press about how he apparently tried to side step defrauded thousands of investors who are owed hundreds of millions of dollars in civil judgments, while clearly showing his sympathy to Eddie Antar.
We deserve to rot in hell for our unforgivable crimes
Over the last twenty years, I have said publicly that as the criminal CFO of Crazy Eddie my crimes were pure evil and I deserve to fry in hell for my unforgivable sins. I've made no excuses for my criminal conduct. At Crazy Eddie, we committed our crimes for both fun and profit. We arrogantly committed our crimes simply because we could and we had no empathy whatsoever for any of our victims.
|Crazy Eddie Antar|
Danny Devito's slobbering love affair with Eddie Antar
Meanwhile, Danny DeVito seems to have a slobbering love affair with Eddie Antar, as he has tried to paint of sympathetic picture of my former boss and mentor.
In an April 2009 Variety article published when DeVito was still bullish about his Crazy Eddie movie project, he was quoted by Michael Fleming as saying:
He started as a guy who loved making deals more than money.
He lived an outrageously spectacular life and suffered an outrageously spectacular fall.
However, during the July 1993 Crazy Eddie criminal trial, former US Attorney Michael Chertoff accurately told jurors:
They say that blood is thicker than water. In this family money is thicker than blood.
|Eddie Antar Wanted Poster|
For Eddie Antar, money was in fact "thicker than blood." As the cover-up of our crimes unraveled, Eddie Antar skipped town with over a dozen phony passports and shipped his stolen loot overseas in multiple secret foreign bank accounts and safe deposit boxes. He cowardly left his family, including five young daughters behind.
When Eddie Antar was captured in Israel, he took the low road by still trying to escape responsibility for his crimes. Eddie tried to avoid extradition by citing Israel's "law of return" which is meant help Jews immigrate to Israel as a result of oppression and anti-Semitism in their native home countries and not to protect criminals like him. Ultimately, Eddie Antar was brought back to justice to face trial in the United States, kicking and scheming, as he was handcuffed and accompanied by US Marshals.
During the ensuing criminal and SEC civil trials, Eddie Antar and other members of his immediate family tried to lay the entire blame for the fraud on me and others who worked for them, despite the fact that they skimmed tens of millions of dollars from Crazy Eddie as private company and later made over $90 million selling stock at inflated prices to unsuspecting investors.
|Securities litigator Howard Sirota|
In the recent Deadline New York article, Danny Devito continued to paint a sympathetic portrait of Eddie Antar:
DeVito said Antar was “hurt” by that news; he's got little else going on. “He’s gone through tough times, and he’s not the aggressive tough guy they paint him to be,” De Vito said.
...there is a family dynamic that isn't common knowledge and somewhat explains Antar's fall.
Danny Devito is clearly enamored by my con man cousin Eddie Antar. During a joint appearance with me on CNBC that was moderated by Herb Greenberg in July 2007, I confronted Eddie Antar about his flight from justice to escape responsibility to both his family and investors, who were defrauded by our crimes. See the exchange below:
Sam Antar: I fought for you like Crazy. Doing it for myself I fought. I stayed here and took the heat. You ran. You ran like a coward.
Eddie Antar: I am not a coward Sam.
Sam Antar: Yes, you left me out there hanging.
Eddie Antar: I didn't, I didn't leave.
Sam Antar: You know something, you're not even a friend. You're just a thug. Just like me. A two bit thug.
Renee and Allen Antar still in denial
As I detailed above, Eddie Antar is plainly still in denial about his cowardice towards his own family and investors.
There actually is a "family dynamic" that "explains Antar's fall" as DeVito claims. However, Eddie Antar and other members of his immediate family are simply unwilling to give a truthful account of what really happened at Crazy Eddie, while Danny Devito is willing to accept Eddie Antar's bullshit excuses for his vile behavior.
As recently as a couple of days ago, I received certain unsolicited and disparaging Facebook messages from Renee Antar, wife and cousin of Eddie Antar's brother Allen, and a long time friend of Eddie's still blaming me for all the Antar family crimes.
Danny Devito seems more sympathetic to Eddie Antar, rather than defrauded investors
As quoted above, Danny Devito claims that Eddie Antar's "....got little else going on." Perhaps, Eddie Antar should start by giving a full account of all of his stolen loot?
While federal investigators were able to recover over $90 million from Eddie Antar and other family members, several million dollars remain unaccounted for. For example, in November 2006, Eddie Antar claimed that he "donated" $6 million to an Israeli hospital. However, he received a kickback of $5.4 million in cash.
By spending a net sum of $600,000, Eddie Antar was able to save about $2 million in taxes and also place $5.4 million out of the reach of potential creditors, including defrauded investors.
While government investigators recovered a few million dollars cash from Eddie Antar's safe deposit boxes, the hospital kickback money was never fully accounted for. The government does not know whether the money found in those safe deposit boxes originated from skimming before Crazy Eddie's initial public offering in 1984 or money from that hospital kickback scheme.
To make matters far worse, Eddie Antar and other investors of questionable character tried to privately peddle his life rights to a gullible Danny Devito when he has not fully accounted for his stolen loot and owes investors millions of dollar in judgments.
According to Deadline New York:
Pulling together life rights deals to make fact-based feature films can be insaaaaaaaaaaane. In fact, rights problems have essentially killed a feature film about the ex-consumer electronics king who coined that phrase in manic commercials that fueled the 70s rise of Eddie Antar's Crazy Eddie store chain across the East Coast. Danny DeVito planned to direct and produce Crazy Eddie, but he said the project could not be made because of a life rights deal he made with Antar.
DeVito hopes to pick up the pieces of Crazy Eddie, a drama that was to be written by 21 scribe Peter Steinfeld, with both producing. Right now the project is in shambles, all because they included the subject in a rights deal so he'd tell his story.
“It was all going well until we got a call from some big-time lawyer who represented a lot of people who were hurt by Eddie,” DeVito said. “He painted him as the Bernie Madoff of his generation and said that if Eddie is involved in any way, we’re going to put liens on the movie. I didn’t like the sound of that at all. This put a big, wet blanket over the picture. What it boiled down to is, if Eddie is involved at all, then we’re in trouble.”
That "big-time lawyer" is Howard Sirota, lead counsel in the class action litigation who represented the defrauded victims of our crimes. While Bernie Madoff stole far more money and was more evil than Eddie Antar, at least Madoff thought about his family and did run away to escape justice. And if Devito did indeed paint Eddie in a remotely sympathetic light, it would be like sitting through a movie that glamorizes Bernie Madoff. You’d throw your popcorn at the screen!
DeVito seemed far more concerned with paying Eddie Antar for his life rights, rather than being concerned about recovering money for defrauded investors. In May 2009, Danny Devito told Fox Business Channel in referring to Eddie Antar's life rights:
There was a deal and that deal was terminated. Any script that is written, or movie produced, will be based on public domain events and information.
However, in April 2010, Devito backed away from his comments to Fox Business Channel in is exclusive interview with Deadline New York, saying:
I’m not sure there were papers signed, it was more, we’ll do this together and we won’t burn you.
As quoted above, first Danny Devito tells Fox Business Channel, "There was a deal and that deal was terminated" and now he claims that "I'm not sure there were papers signed...." Are DeVito and his investors still trying to bypass defrauded investors? Shouldn't they have known about Eddie Antar's unpaid judgments to investors? Danny DeVito showed that he is clearly more sympathetic to Eddie Antar, rather than thousands of defrauded investors by telling Eddie that "...we'll do this together and we won't burn you." Nice guy?
Danny DeVito clearly loves my con man cousin and I am a con man, too. However, I know plenty about white-collar crime. At least I have done something to educate others about white-collar crime, and most of my work is pro bono, while Eddie Antar has sat around doing nothing since leaving prison.
From 1998 to the middle of June 2009, I traveled across the entire country taking no fees and I spent several hundred thousand dollars paying all travel expenses out of pocket. I've done several hundred lectures on white-collar crime for the government, law enforcement, educational institutions, businesses, and professional organizations.
For example, I've lectured at the Department of Justice, FBI, IRS, Secret Service, Department of Defense, and other federal and state law enforcement agencies. I've taught at universities such as Stanford Business and Law Schools, major corporations, major accounting firms, and major professional organizations. I still do plenty of pro bono work for the federal government and others (Details here).
|Corporate miscreant Patrick Byrne|
As an independent whistleblower, I correctly identified GAAP violations and SEC disclosure violations by a scam company called Overstock.com (NASDAQ: OSTK) and lies to investors by its CEO Patrick Byrne (See: October 5, 2009: Crain's New York Business - Crazy Like a Fox by Aaron Elstein (Download). After I alerted the Securities and Exchange Commission, Overstock.com was forced to restate its financial reports to correct those GAAP violations and SEC disclosure violations that I correctly identified and reported on my blog (Details here).
Note: For additional information about my three year battle to make Overstock.com comply with GAAP and SEC disclosure rules, please read "Selling America Short: The SEC and Market Contrarians in the Age of Absurdity" by Richard Sauer (Wiley 2010).
I am working very closely with the FBI, IRS, SEC, Justice Department, and other law enforcement agencies in both training them to identify and catch white-collar criminals and assisting them in various investigations pro bono.
|Crain's New York Business article about Sam E. Antar|
From 1987 to 1989, I lied under oath to protect myself and other Antar family members involved in our crimes. Afterwards, I learned that a bitter Sam M. Antar, Eddie's own father, who was purged from the company due to a family dispute, paid off two witnesses to place the entire blame for the fraud on his son, me, and others allied with him. When I told Eddie Antar, my lifelong mentor and boss, that his own father set us up to take the fall, he distanced himself from me and started making plans to flee the country.
At that point, based on the advice of my criminal attorney Anthony R. Mautone and civil attorney Jonathan D. Warner, I decided to "cooperate" with the US Attorney's office, the FBI, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and lawyers representing each and every victim of our crimes in their respective investigations for two years without the benefit of any plea bargain agreement limiting criminal and civil exposure for my crimes. My civil attorney Jonathan Warner's work helped the US Attorney's office obtain a guilty plea from Abe Grinberg, one of Sam M. Antar cronies who lied to the government.
Despite my previous false testimony, I was the key witness in both the Crazy Eddie criminal trial in 1993 and the Securities and Exchange Commission's civil trial that was prosecuted in 1998. In the criminal trial, Eddie Antar and his brother Mitchell Antar were convicted of numerous crimes, while his brother Allen Antar was acquitted. However, in the 1998 civil trial, Allen Antar, Sam M. Antar, and brother-in-law Ben Kuszer were convicted of civil fraud charges. Other Antar family members settled civil claims against them, rather than risk trials, and gave up most of their ill gotten gains.
Over a fifteen year period, the government and victim's lawyers recovered from the Antars more money than they made by selling Crazy Eddie stock to duped investors at inflated prices. The Antar family engaged in massive skimming before Crazy Eddie's became a public company and a substantial amount of those funds were recovered from secret foreign bank accounts, safe deposit boxes, and even money hidden in Sam M. Antar's ceiling.
As a result of my extensive cooperation with the government and victims of my crimes and taking into account that I "cooperated" with them for almost two years before obtaining a plea bargain agreement, the sentencing Judge rejected US Attorney Michael Chertoff's recommendation for jail time and instead sentenced me to only six-months of house arrest, 1,200 hours of community service, and nominal fines. All attorneys representing the victims of my crimes agreed to give me a complete walk from any civil liabilities.
Unlike Eddie Antar and other members of his immediate family, I make no excuses for my criminal conduct. Nor should I receive any praise for my cooperation with the government and defrauded investors. I cooperated with the government and victims simply to save my own rear end, avoid prison, and avoid civil penalties for my crimes.
Neither morality nor any sense of sympathy for my victims played any role in my decision to cooperate and take responsibility for my crimes. If the government did not investigate and prosecute me, I would still be the criminal CFO of Crazy Eddie today. If Sam M. Antar did not set up me and Eddie to take the fall for everyone's crimes and Eddie did not later abandon me, I would have never cooperated with the government or victims in investigating and prosecuting our crimes.
Will there be a Crazy Eddie movie?
The short answer is yes. Recently, I signed a contract with producer Robert Green and his east coast partner from New York for a planned Crazy Eddie motion picture production. I'm in talks with what is known in the film industry as an A-List screenwriter and will be taking the story out to studios.
They are dealing with me because they know that I have told the truth about my crimes even though it portrays me as a cruel, heartless, and cold-blooded crook, just like Eddie Antar and other family members. They don't want to talk to a scumbag in denial like my cousin and former lifelong mentor Eddie Antar.
In addition, we have documentation about the Crazy Eddie frauds that is not available in the public domain. Simply put, I know where all the bodies are buried. I constructed and ran the scam 24/7 for 18 years. It was in my blood and a major part of my life.
My life rights are essential to any motion picture project because I was deeply involved in the Crazy Eddie fraud, I worked side-by-side with Eddie Antar in committing those frauds, I don't seek to glamorize any of our crimes, and I have already told the entire truth about what really happened at Crazy Eddie in every sordid detail.
|Crain's New York Business Photo by Buck Ennis: Sam Antar|
A message for Danny DeVito
I have a message for Danny DeVito about his love affair with my sociopath cousin Eddie Antar. To borrow a line from Groucho Marx, "I love my cigars, too, but I take them out of my mouth once in a while." Don't get conned by Eddie's charm like others including his own family who have learned the hard way.
If I can give any compliment to my cousin Eddie Antar, his embittered father Sam M. Antar was much worse than he is, for setting both of us up to take the fall for everyone's crimes. At least, I do not pretend to be anything other than a cold-blooded criminal who enjoyed committing his crimes and had no empathy whatsoever for his victims. As I said, "The consequences of lies are far worse than the consequences of telling the truth, no matter how evil that truth is."
I will have much more to say about the new Crazy Eddie movie, soon.
Sam E. Antar
For additional information on Crazy Eddie, please visit my White Collar Fraud website and watch video clip of Howard Sirota and me on Fox Business Channel.
Other blog reaction:
Jewish Week: A KO for Kelso by Adam Dickter
Pragmatism Refreshed: The Crazy Eddie's Movie by Chistopher Faille
Going Concern: The Crazy Eddie Movie Hits a Snag by Caleb Newquist
Please read my important disclosure below:
I am a convicted felon and a former CPA. As the criminal CFO of Crazy Eddie, I helped Eddie Antar and other members of his family mastermind one of the largest securities frauds uncovered during the 1980's. I committed my crimes, simply because I could.
If it weren't for the efforts of the FBI, SEC, Postal Inspector's Office, US Attorney's Office, and class action plaintiff's lawyers who investigated, prosecuted, and sued me, I would still be the criminal CFO of Crazy Eddie today.
I do not own Overstock.com securities short or long. My research on Overstock.com and in particular its lying CEO Patrick Byrne is a freebie for securities regulators and the public in order to help me get into heaven, though I doubt that I will ever get there anyway. I plan on meeting corporate miscreants, such as fifth rate crooks like Patrick Byrne, in hell. In addition, I plan on meeting Eddie Antar, his father, and his brothers in hell, too.
I plan on frying in hell with all of them for a very long time.