Wednesday, October 23, 2013

"Unraveled" documents the house arrest of Marc Dreier as he await sentencing for his Ponzi scheme, second largest after Madoff's

Unraveled” is a riveting Showtime documentary, directed by Marc H. Simon, of the last 60 days or the “purgatory” house arrest of Wall Street lawyer Marc Dreier, before his sentencing for securities fraud in 2009.  His case would have been one of the largest ever were it not for Bernie Madoff.

Dreier lives in an Upper East Side penthouse, without cell phone and Internet, with visits from his attorneys, and the company of his loving dog and of his grown, college-age son, who often visits. Dreier’s son and mother would have been held responsible had Dreier somehow jumped bail. Imagine living the last days of your freedom with the clock ticking and the calendar advancing.
  
Through flashbacks (with some storyboard drawings) he recreates the history of his Ponzi scheme involving forged promissory notes.  He even "promoted himself" by opening his own law firm, with an unusual "autocratic" structure, at 499 Park Avenue, an address that will earn the notoriety following the Lipstick Building.  After the financial crisis of 2008, the scheme started to unravel and hedge funds started demanding payment rather than rolling loans.  Dreier went to Dubai in late 2008 on a strip and even considered staying there because Dubai has no extradition treaties with the US.  But he came back, hoping to see his family and scheme a way out.  He went to Toronto and tried to forge a signature on a loan in person, and was caught and arrested.  The legal and dominoes in the US quickly fell.
   
Dreier often comments on his flaws, why ambition led him to believe he could get away with this, and gave a nod to people whose character would keep them honest even when nobody is looking.  He admitted that honesty is the core of all virtue.
  
  
The official site on Tumblr is here.

The film can be watched on Instant play on Netflix.
    
I rather like to watch “financial thrillers” and documentaries.  I think that it’s time to make a documentary about the national debt, entitlement reform, and the debt ceiling issue.  



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