- Category : 1954-births
- Type : ME
- Profile : 6/2 - Role Model / Hermit
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Uncertainty 2
American stock trader who may prove to have successfully operated one of the greatest financial scams in history, funneling as much as $915 million through a series of foreign banks accounts. Some $335 million remains unaccounted for, with Frankel still a missing man at the end of 1999. Through the '90s he created a bewildering web of insurance companies, bogus investment funds and phony charitable organizations, including an involvement with the Vatican that he pursued vigorously the summer of 1998.
Born to a middle-class family of lawyers and public servants, Frankel was the son of a social worker dad and a city government clerk mom. The youngest of four kids, he was a bright youngster but thin and awkward, with few friends. He grew to be a slender six-footer, bespectacled and inconspicuous. After graduating from high school the top of his class, he attended college but never completed his degree. Instead, he fell in love with Wall Street, an interest that became all-consuming. He became a master of the stock market, commodities, securities, currencies. He entered a brokerage firm as a day-trader, but soon was dismissed over business conflicts.
By the later '80s, Frankel set up a money management firm which he operated from his parent's home. As his funds grew, he moved to a $3 million mansion in Greenwich, Connecticut, with an adjacent property for $2.6 million. He equipped his home with 80 trading terminals, satellite dishes, a fleet of imported cars and a bevy of female retainers. The women with which he surrounded himself were those whom he'd met through personal ads and the internet, women whom he provided with residences and cash. After the breakdown of his empire, the house was found to contain a cache of pornography and evidence of sexual fetishes, including a riding crop, ropes and sado-masochistic literature and videos.
In August 1997, neighbors reported hearing a woman screaming from Frankel's house. When police investigated, they found that a heavy-set 22-year-old, Frances Burge, had hanged herself. The death was deemed a suicide, one of the many bizarre events which accompanied the Frankel house. Neighbors reported expensive cars and limo's coming and going at all hours.
Police also found a number of astrological charts which testified to his interest, charts which included such horary questions as "Will I go to prison?"
In 1991, Frankel took on another of several aliases and invested in a troubled insurance company. He founded Thunor Trust, and using former assets, accumulated at least ten other insurance companies through the South and Midwest. He began transacting millions of dollars through various venues, siphoning money from a dozen small companies in five states.
As his expose grew near, Frankel fled. He set fire to the filing cabinets in his mansion - and vanished. On 5/05/1999, an automatic alarm called firefighters to his high security mansion. Along with at least $218 million, there was missing close to $2 billion from the St. Francis of Assisi Foundation which he had founded. During the months prior to his disappearance, he had spent more than $1 million in shopping sprees and trips to Rome, Geneva and London.
One of the greatest con games in history came quietly undone with Frankel's capture on 9/04/1999 at the Hotel Prem in Hamburg, Germany. "You've got me," he said as he was handcuffed and led away to await extradition to the U.S. On March 9, 2001, this fugitive businessman was extradited to the United States from Germany where he had spent a year and a half in a German jail on charges of using a false passport and smuggling diamonds. On March 12, 2001, Frankel pleaded not guilty in U.S. federal court to fraud and racketeering charges. Facing 24 counts of stealing more than $200 million from 10 small insurance companies, he eventually pleaded guilty. On December 10, 2004 he was sentenced in New Haven, CT to 16 years and eight months for his crimes. Just prior to his sentencing, the US Treasury held a two-day auction of some 822 diamonds seized from Frankel’s cache. The auction raised $9 million to be used as victim restitution.