Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Martin Frankel: Sex, Greed and $200 Million Fraud


Marty Frankel in junior high school
Marty Frankel in junior
high school

"Marty," began life in Toledo on November 21, 1954 as the second of three children born to the much-respected Lucas County Judge Leon Frankel and his wife Tillie. Whatever relationship really existed between Marty and his parents, he always characterized it as unhappy and abusive. However, this may not have been true as Frankel invented information about himself whenever the need arose.

Always very bright, he distinguished himself in school academically, but he did not fit in socially. His view of himself as smarter than the students around him did nothing to endear him to his classmates. Even though Marty's grades were excellent up until the last years of high school, his study habits were not existent. Like many very intelligent kids, he had been able to get good grades with a minimum of effort. In retrospect, this concept of reward without work the essence of the con artist into which he evolved emerged early in his teen years. It was not that the teenage Marty preferred sports or hanging around with friends instead of doing homework, he just lost interest in completing the things that he started.

Another problem that surfaced early in his school years and plagued him into adulthood was a phobia about taking tests. At the University of Toledo, his character flaws and neuroses were his undoing. J.A. Johnson Jr. says Marty's college career was a "dismal failure. His test anxiety had grown worse than ever, and before dropping out after two years, Frankel had racked up nearly two hundred hours of uncompleted course work."

After dropping out of college, Marty toyed with selling real estate, but he was unsuccessful. Then he began to take an interest in the securities markets. Viewing the financial markets as a way of becoming wealthy very quickly, he became obsessed with learning everything he could about the brokerage business. The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Business Week, etc. were his textbooks. Still living off his parents, he had the luxury of spending his days hanging around brokerage houses, learning about how the traders made decisions and how to use the specialized equipment they had at their disposal. In an era of Wall Street luminaries like Michael Miliken and Ivan Boesky, Marty decided that the world of finance would be his ticket to riches.

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