Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Joel Sandler's Murder for Hire

Miserly Ways

Sandler didn't make any attempt to hide the fact that he had one main drive in life: money. The reality was that he was downright obsessed with the attainment and the preservation of it. He was a miser extraordinaire and went to great length to save every single penny. Sandler's stinginess was so severe that he would on occasion drive off from gas stations without paying, refused to turn on the heat in his home during winter and he even "urinated into a cup and flung it out the window to save on the water bill," Dunne reported. His need to control had appeared to have simply gotten out of control.

In the early 1990's, Sandler was faced with a potential nightmare. His business of brokering investment deals for wealthy families and corporations had come to an end due to changes in tax laws. He was forced to come up with a new way to earn an income and started his own brokerage company. Yet, his brusque nature prevented him from expanding his limited existing client base and his earnings were minimal compared to what he had been making on previous business ventures. It was then that Sandler turned to investing in the stock market and real estate, a move that not only affected his wallet but also his mood.

Interestingly, the financial markets served as Sandler's emotional thermometer. As it fluctuated, so did his mood and his behavior towards his wife. When the markets dipped and Sandler suffered a loss, he would take out his anger on his wife physically and when he profited, his wife was spared. Sandler's behavior became increasingly erratic: he was arrested on four occasions for shoplifting, refusing to pay for trivial items that he could easily afford. He also evaded paying income taxes, which would later come back to haunt him.

Sandler feared losing what he valued most in life. His bad behavior and several business deals gone bad became a vicious cycle that would eventually lead to his financial downfall. This in turn led to the breakdown of his marriage. After years of abuse, Sandler's wife Linda decided she couldn't take it anymore and filed for divorce in 1998.

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