The Marc Dreier story – hedge fund lawyer turns crook – disappeared from the headlines fast late last year. A few days later some guy named Madoff made the papers, and that was it for Dreier. It is, however, an important, sad, nutty and overlooked story, one deserving of the kind of attention Bryan Burroughs bring it in the current Vanity Fair.
His name is Marc Dreier, he is 59 years old, and his life is over. A smallish, tightly wound man with red, stubbled cheeks and a silvery pompadour, Dreier was once a hotshot New York litigator with multi-millionaire clients. Then he stole $380 million from a bunch of hedge funds, got caught, and was arrested in Toronto under bizarre circumstances, having attempted to impersonate a Canadian pension-fund lawyer as part of a scheme to sell bogus securities to the big American hedge fund Fortress Investment Group. Now, as he wanders into the living room rubbing sleep from his eyes, Dreier is waiting for the judge to tell him just how many years he will spend in prison.
…It happened one day when he found himself staring at a palatial beachfront home. His own house was inland. He had always wanted one right on the beach. It was at that moment, Dreier says, that he came to two conclusions. He would buy himself a big house on the beach. And he would get the money by dramatically expanding his firm, now renamed Dreier L.L.P. Dreier knows how ridiculous this sounds, that his criminal behavior can be traced to his yearning for a better beach house.
“I wanted to just, well, appease myself,” he says. “Well, not appease myself. Gratify myself … I was very, very caught up in seeing the criteria of success in terms of professional and financial achievement, which I think was a big part of the problem. But I thought it would make me happy. And I wanted to be happy again.”
Read on, and be sure to hang for the part late in the story where Dreier, in an attempt to avoid being caught for his fraud, impersonates a Canadian lawyer in front of said lawyer in Toronto. Really.