This post is the last in a multi-part series on Joel’s sentencing brief which was filed on the criminal case docket back in September 2015. I’ll tag the posts with “Joel’s Sentencing Brief” so if you miss a part, you’ll be able to find it easily.
As usual, all page numbers listed are the PDF’s page number, not the page number listed at the bottom of the printed page. It’s easier for you to jump to the appropriate page this way.
Part 4 – Saint Joel aka Saint Dickwad
Attached to the sentencing brief was a long list of letters from people who love and support Joel. Being perfectly honest here, I read them but will not be commenting on every little thing in them. They’re highly repetitive and I… feel bad for most of them.
Joel was vouched for by lawyers, long-time friends, business owners and family members. There are a number of positive adjectives used to describe Joel, including loving, caring, dedicated, trustworthy and honorable. They really have nothing but good things to say about him.
They tell stories of how Joel supported them through tough times, like the illness or passing of a loved one. Actually, there’s a ton of those stories.
Some other things did stand out. In the first letter, the last line was “He was quiet, sullen and fearful, but what seemed to have motivated the meeting the most was his desire for me to help his family however I could.” What meeting, you ask? Why, the one he and Joel had before writing that letter.
In the second letter, the person points out that he and Joel contributed to charities and events for those charities. Joel would even buy extra tickets to those events and give them away to others so they could attend. I can’t help but think there was an ulterior motive behind these purchases. Were they given to people who could not afford to attend or potential/existing investors? Ain’t no reference like an entire event’s worth of attendees who sing your praises.
Now, let’s hear from his therapist! Joel started therapy in January 2015. For gambling. That’s right, folks! Joel has a gambling addiction!
The primary therapeutic goal has been to figure out & work through “why do I continually sabotage my life through gambling” and to make amends with the individuals he has hurt, especially his wife Carol.
At least one of the letters said that Joel has always struggled with a gambling addiction. “He went to Gamblers Anonymous, and lectured for them.” Another letter pointed out that his addiction caused a “great deal of suffering for him and his family.” Then maybe he should have sought more serious measures before he ran a $125 million dollar Ponzi scheme. Even during the scam. Why does he only consider his problem serious enough for a therapist after he’s been arrested and wants a shorter prison sentence? Oh, I guess his rock bottom is destroying 1300-ish lives. Most people just destroy the lives of friends and family, but he doubled-down and took down a population over two times the size of Congress, not to mention the collateral damage.
Many of Joel’s decisions were driven by the unconscious drive to be finally seen as a valuable good guy and a hero.
That actually fits the narrative. He helps people for the hero-worship. It’s pathological and gross. I guess it’s good that I avoid people like that. They apparently run a risk of operating Ponzi schemes.
However, in 2001 with the Starwood contract being cancelled, Joel was in a complex dilemma that he could not resolve.
With the Starwood contract, Joel ultimately was in a classic double bind; damned if he kept the $11 million from the Starwood contract and damned if he alerted the investors that the contract had fallen through. There seemed to be no solution. Joel was “absolutely convinced” that he would get the Starwood contract, so he raised money ahead of time, before the contract was finalized.
That’s not what a “classic double bind” is. For crying out loud, I learned this in high school. ::sigh:: A double bind is where a person receives two conflicting messages and there’s no correct response. You know, pretty much every single day I worked retail for about four years. The planner would say one thing, co-workers would say another and at least 60% of the time, the third, unspoken and invisible option was the correct one. Hahahaha, never work retail.
What Joel had was a situation which only a sitcom character sees as a dilemma. Keeping the money wasn’t an option. If you solicit investors for a specific contract and it falls through, just give the money back. People may be pissed and they may hate you, but you have integrity and you’re the only person who can take that away. Fuck up, fess up, fix it. It’s a simple lesson he failed to learn in 70-something years, despite being practically recommended for sainthood by friends and family.
I should also point out that in 2001, when Joel allegedly made his “one mistake,” a $76 million dollar ATM leaseback scam was busted. Considering that Saint Dickwad was in the ATM industry, he should have heard about it. Also being in the ATM industry, he should have already known that leasebacks are pretty much always a scam.
In a typical pay telephone or ATM scheme, a company, through a middleman, sells payphones or ATMs to investors for between $3,500 and $10,000. As part of the sale, the company agrees to lease back and service the phones or ATMs for a fee. Investors are promised annual returns of up to 15 percent. But state regulators say interest payments, if they are made at all, are often just enough to keep previous investors on board.
Joel was practically handed how-to directions. The only part they missed was the part about focusing on the elderly…oh wait, right in the second paragraph it said that most of the victims were elderly. The thing is, he likely didn’t need them to tell him how to do it. He was a registered investment representative until 1986 (don’t know when he started). I’m sure that whatever required education for that covered Charles Ponzi since he went down about 20 years before Joel was even born.
But in the end, <sarcasm>Joel had a difficult decision to make:</sarcasm> Give back $11 million with a heartfelt apology or start scamming people. He chose the latter.
According to the therapist, Joel attempted to replace the Starwood contract through other means. Okay, we’re not quite into scammer territory here. Yet. None of the other avenues panned out. And then “it was too late. He couldn’t find any other opportunities and kept the money & all of his anxiety.”
<sarcasm>Oh shucks, he missed the boat and now he has to keep the money.</sarcasm>What does she mean “too late?” As long as the money was there it wasn’t too late. Even if some it was gone, it wasn’t too late: he could have apologized and then worked to make the investors whole with payment arrangements and such. If he was reported to the authorities for his shady investments, then he was simply being held accountable for his actions and facing the music then is far better than facing it now. Duh.
Also, what’s this about “all of his anxiety.” <sarcasm>Poor Joel. Stealing $11 million made him anxious. Don’t we all just feel really bad for him?</sarcasm> Shut up, Joel. You gave people anxiety problems. No one here feels bad for you.
To his credit, his therapist points out that he’s remorseful for what he did to his investors. Very few letters from his friends and family support that narrative. I think he conned his therapist. I’m told that people with personality disorders are very good at that. It’s not like she was his long-term therapist. She’d only been seeing him for less than a year when she wrote her letter.
<rant>It is my personal opinion that Joel is nothing more than a con-man, who likely has been conning family and friends for a very, very long time. If the rumor about his wife advising someone close to her not to invest with NASI is to be believed, then I think that she is no better than he is. If what we heard about her calling the doctor who resuscitated her husband in court an “asshole,” then she’s a real piece of work. If Soffa is to be believed, that Joel was going to eventually retire and leave the company to Soffa and Joel’s son-in-law, then Saint Joel lives in a interesting land of delusion.</rant>
Two years later and I’m still angry with the Dickwad Duo. And I’m an outsider to this whole thing. That being said, I’m toying with the idea of calling Joel, “Saint Joel” or “Saint Dickwad.” I don’t feel as strongly about Ed. That can change anytime.