Lamborghini lifestyle

By James Quiggle
May 1, 2002
Rogue financier Martin Frankel launched one of America’s largest and most-brazen insurance swindles of the last decade. The geeky financial whiz kid with a purported taste for kinky sex secretly took control of seven small life insurance companies and looted nearly $210 million from them.

He bankrupted some insurers while financing a lavish lifestyle while thousands of honest policyholders lost their coverage. Innocent people also lost their jobs when some of his insurers went bankrupt. Hundreds of employees at Franklin American, for instance, in Tennessee were thrown onto the streets.

While his victims languished, Frankel bought a 25-room mansion in a swanky Connecticut suburb, fitted with dozens of computers to manage his schemes. He kept a small harem of live-in girlfriends to help run the swindles, do chores and satisfy his alleged taste for S&M sex. His stashed millions in Swiss bank accounts, used a chauffeur-driven Mercedes, owned a fleet of luxury cars plus a private jet, and lavished jewels on his girlfriends.

Frankel even convinced a former high-ranking Vatican priest to join the swindle. Frankel fled the U.S. loaded with nearly 550 diamonds and nine passports when police started closing in. He led authorities on a wild chase through Europe for months before they caught him in Germany. Chastened insurance regulators, whom he fooled for years, are quickly tightening their safety net.

Frankel pleaded guilty to various state and federal fraud charges in 2002, and faces up to 150 years in federal prison plus massive fines with yet more trials still to come.

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