Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Martin Frankel: Sex, Greed and $200 Million Fraud

Panic in the Palace

It was inevitable and Marty knew it. Eventually, some state insurance regulator would start poking around and the game would be up. The beginning of the end was in Mississippi. Wire transfers in and out of insurance company reserve accounts were central to deceiving state regulators about the safety of the reserves.

Insurance commissioner George Dale started asking questions about where the money would be going before he would authorize the wire transfer. When he found that Liberty National Securities was going to handling the funds, he made some phone calls and was shocked to hear that Liberty was just a mailbox in New York. Then he started asking penetrating questions about the St. Francis of Assisi Foundation. Each answer Dale received from Marty's lieutenants caused him even more concern. Finally, he placed Marty's three Mississippi-based insurance companies under state supervision.

It all came tumbling down around Marty in early May, 1999. With his astrological guide pressed to his chest, Marty suddenly had to make plans. He started delegating the key tasks to his colleagues: false passports and identities; several million in diamonds; cash to travel and hide out; a private jet for his flight out of the U.S.

Rumors flew through in the two Greenwich mansions as Marty became a basket case, new luggage appeared and computers and furniture was being carried out of the house. This sudden series of events was devastating to the more than 30 people Marty had on the payroll.

A few days after state regulators took over his insurance companies, Marty fled on a leased plane to Europe with two of his girlfriends. When those two women tired of life on the run, they were replaced by Cynthia Allison, an employee and companion who was with him when he was captured in Germany.

He left behind a cache of shredded and burning papers in his mansion in Greenwich. Among the papers that the police rescued were, according to the Wall St. Journal, "a handwritten to-do list topped by the task 'Launder money,' followed by 'get $ to Israel get it back in.' Among Mr. Frankel's records, the affidavit says, were personalized astrological charts designed to help answer the following questions: (1)'Will I go to prison?' (2)'Will Tom turn me in?' (3) 'Should I leave?' (4) 'Should I wire money back from overseas?' and (5) 'Will I be safe?' 

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