Marc Stuart Dreier presently (2010) sits in a jail cell in Chicago, Illinois, where he completes his 20-year sentence for fraud. In his wake are losses of about $400-million and 800 victims, including celebrities such as Bill Cosby, Tim Burton, Justin Timberlake, Harry Connick, Jr., Elvis Costello, Jon Bon Jovi, Diana Krall, Andy Pettitte, Sammy Sosa and tennis star Maria Sharapova.

Dreier had a promising childhood, presiding over his student council in high school and obtaining a law degree from Harvard University in 1975.

Marc DreierHe then joined and was by 1985, made partner in the New York firm Rosenman & Colin, Freund, Lewis & Cohen. He married and had two children.

Starting in 1989, he bounced around from firm to firm finally starting a firm with a partner, called Dreier & Baritz. That floundered in a partnership lawsuit.

At the same time, his personal wealth seemed to grow wildly, as he went from a modest house to a mansion; and then a 121-foot yacht. An original Picasso hung in his office. He separated from his wife and began to date much younger women. He partnered with Larry Stein whose client list included the Olsen twins and Hilary Duff.

Starting in at least 2002, Dreier began stealing money from his clients, at first monies from settlement proceeds.

But starting in 2004, Dreier entered the big leagues of commercial fraud, and began secretly stealing millions from his clients and others, most in the form of fake IOUs, promissory notes, purportedly issued by companies in the United States and Canada and that he would then con Wall Street financiers to buy. If any note needing vetting, Dreier made sure he was somewhere along the line and he'd then vouch for the promissory note, with his word being passed up the line and standing as reference. He had fake email accounts and cellphone and land lines all leading back to him. He even prepared false financial statements. All details, he kept in secret black notebooks so that he could, as required, breath life into the bogus IOUs, sometimes paying off older ones to add credibility to newer, more valuable notes.

He came to the attention of the United States Securities Commission in 2005 when he was ordered by a bankruptcy judge to pay a $300,000 fine.

In 2008, some of the creditors decided to effect some due diligence and sought to meet real people behind the promissory notes. Dreier convinced associates to act out the required role.

Dreier was finally brought down when he went to Toronto, Canada and he himself tried to impersonate Michael Padfield, a lawyer with the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan (OTPP). The investor was suspicious, called the OTPP and was told that whoever he met could not have been the lawyer in question. The OTPP called Dreier on his fraud but Dreier felt he could beat the rap and returned to the United States. He was promptly arrested upon landing at La Guardia Airport.

His 270-lawyer law firm, known simply as Dreier, literally imploded.

As the facts emerged, law suit upon law suit has emerged in the midst of which, on July 13, 2009, Dreier was sentenced to 20 years. Judge Rakoff added:

"... he has disgraced the honorable profession of law (and) is to be ranked with those who have committed some of the most egregious frauds in history."

In October, the Supreme Court of New York disbarred him.

Lawyers are quick to suggest that Dreier cracked under the pressure of running a law firm; that he suffered from mental illness. American Lawyer Magazine gave this title to an article it published: Anatomny of a Crack-Up: The Marc Dreier Case.

But that's a self-serving excuse.

He did not steal from the rich to give to the poor. He stole from the rich to give to Marc Dreier.

The fact is that Dreier was a callous crook, a thief, likely from the day he was born.

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