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The Pretender

The Pretender

How Martin Frankel Fooled the Financial World and Led the Feds on One of the Most Publicized Manhunts in History

This is the unbelievable-but-true account of Martin Frankel -- a timid, two-bit investor with a dark side who pulled off one of the greatest financial scams of the century and led the FBI on a four-month global chase before finally being caught.
The Pretender chronicles how a bumbling thirty-year-old Midwesterner, a lifelong gawky misfit, built an intricate, fraudulent moneymaking scheme that bilked insurance companies out of $200 million. Transforming himself from mama's boy to corporate mogul, Martin Frankel entered a world peopled with desperate businessmen, political power brokers, masterful con artists, vulnerable women, vindictive husbands, and charitable priests -- and spun his web of lies deep inside the power centers of Washington, D.C., New York, and the Vatican. But such success and excess aroused the suspicions of the authorities, and Frankel vanished from his opulent mansion-leaving behind a mysterious fire and some very confused law-enforcement officials-and ran for his life across Europe.
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  • Free Press | 
  • 288 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743204194 | 
  • October 2002
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