Joe Hunt: White Collar Psychopath
Con vs. Con
While his ultimate dream was to house all his boys together in a huge condominium as a single social and business unit, Joe knew that would take a lot of money. He looked around for investments and decided to get the BBC into the energy arena, so he persuaded Gene Browning, a bio-scientist, to sell him rights to an attrition machine he called a Cyclotron. They would give him a salary, a house, and a car in return for the rights to develop and market the machine. Browning agreed.
Now they needed even more money, so they looked around for people interested in investing in the development of more prototypes of this machine, under the auspices of a company called Microgenesis.
To make a better impression, Joe rented an expensive office suite, told investors he was making money hand over fist, and built the BBC into a company that looked prosperous and busy. In reality, the boys didn't have a lot to do. Nor was Joe investing money. Instead, he was using whatever he brought in to pay the rent, throw lavish parties, and build up his fleet of cars.
He needed big money and he needed it fast. Enter, Ron Levin.
Levin had a reputation for running a lot of sideline businesses at once, but he was also a con man who'd served time in prison. Joe figured that he and Levin would have a meeting of the minds and that he, Joe, would emerge the winner. Levin agreed to meet him and hear him out, but failed to offer him any money. Joe kept badgering him, and eventually told him that he'd gotten a large investment from someone else. He even showed him the check. Levin just laughed at the other investor's gullibility.
However, he agreed to let Joe prove himself. He set up a credit line of five million dollars with a certain investment firm, and Joe could use that to show his mettle. While Joe initially lost four million, he got a few tips from another commodities broker and within seven weeks, he had driven Levin's five million up to 14 million. Then Levin closed the account. Joe had been promised half the profit for the BBC, so they fully expected a check to be sent to them for over four million dollars.
They started the celebration early by leasing condos in a ritzy neighborhood overlooking Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. Joe described his vision of them all living and working together in the same place, one big family. He was ebullient that night as he talked about the luxury cars they would buy to share.
However, even in the midst of all this revelry, one of the members, Dave May, began to have reservations. He didn't just buy into Joe's ideas, although his twin brother, Tom, obviously did. He decided to wait and watch.
It wasn't long before Joe began to wonder why the check wasn't arriving. Levin avoided his calls, so he called the broker and learned that the entire operation had been on paper only. There never had been any money. It was all a game.
In fact, in the days to come, Joe discovered it was even worse than that: Levin had used him to con someone else. He'd taken the statements from Joe's paper trading to show to another investment firm as a way to get a sizable loan. The con had conned the con.
Then Levin said he'd used the money to buy a shopping center in Chicago, and he would give the BBC a share. They thought they were again on the rise, but soon discovered there was no shopping center.
Yet Joe wasn't about to just accept defeat. Now he was in deep financial trouble, as well as having a bruised ego. He had to face his boys and tell them the truth, but according to statements some of them later made, he added that one day he would kill Ron Levin.