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'Crazy Eddie' mastermind helps prosecution with criminal charges

When you think of white collar crime, your first thought may go to the infamous Bernie Madoff, an investment broker and stock trader who was convicted back in 2001 for what is considered the largest Ponzi scheme in United States history. Madoff reportedly bilked billions of dollars from his clients in an elaborate financial con and was eventually sentenced to 150 years in prison after he was convicted.

If you were around in the 1980's, however, you might also remember another white collar criminal who made headlines back in the day. Sam E. Antar, a self-confessed criminal mastermind of what became known as the Crazy Eddie fraud.

Crazy Eddie, an electronics retailer that was widely known for producing loud commercials offering customers "INSAAANE" prices, was run by Antar and his cousin, who started the chain. During their years in business, the company intentionally understated their income in an attempt to avoid paying taxes and also turned to securities fraud once the company planned to go public.

Antar, who basically "rolled" on his cousin, would later serve six months of house arrest and perform community service along with paying thousands of dollars for civil penalties. His cousin, meanwhile, would serve six years in prison.

Today, Antar is on the other side of the law assisting private companies and the government with advice about white collar crime. He feels prosecutors are working more as tax collectors and the government isn't getting as many convictions. Since prosecutors may not actually have a lot of experience in prosecuting these types of crimes, an experienced criminal defense attorney could become a huge asset.

Source: CNN Money, "Crazy Eddie CFO: 'We are in the golden era of white-collar crime'" Matt Egan, Nov. 17, 2014

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