Cover image for Need and greed : the story of the largest Ponzi scheme in American history
Need and greed : the story of the largest Ponzi scheme in American history
Weisman, Stewart L.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Syracuse, NY : Syracuse University Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xvii, 377 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Corporate Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV6769 .W45 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



A Ponzi scheme - named after Charles Ponzi, who enticed investors to purchase worthless coupons in the 20s - was taken to new heights in the 90s. This work follows the human drama as a small-time scam grew into nationwide holdings of hotels, casinos, shopping malls and other buildings.

Author Notes

Stewart L. Weisman has been practicing law for more than seventeen years. He is a graduate of Syracuse University Law School and Brooklyn College. He lives with his wife, son, and four dogs in Manlius, New York.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Weisman, an attorney currently specializing in corporate investigations, bankruptcy, and employment discrimination, was General Counsel to the Bennett Companies from 1984 to its demise in 1996. He traces how a small office-equipment leasing company located in Syracuse, NY, became a conglomerate of resorts, hotels, and gambling casinos without adequate finances. By using new investors' money to pay off earlier investors as well as unethical and illegal business practices, they were able to stay afloat for many years. Finally, in 1996, after investors lost their money, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) shut them down, forcing bankruptcy and filing charges against the Bennett family. Weisman's meticulously detailed but readable narrative includes the finances, personalities involved (including his own), and methods used to defraud many investors. A fine case study for business and law collections.ÄSteven J. Mayover, Free Lib. of Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

This story of Bennett Funding, one of the largest financial frauds in US history, was written by an attorney who worked there. Bennett Funding bought and rented office equipment to businesses and government agencies. To be able to purchase equipment, they sold securities to investors and promised them future rental payments. Bennett Funding broke US security laws when they sold rights to the same future rental payments over and over again. The Bennett family also used company funds for private use and raided the company pension plan. Unfortunately, Weisman does not present the details of the Bennett fraud chronologically. Making matters worse, he mixes irrelevant stories about his life, much moralizing, and long lists (such as every bank that lost money in the fraud) into the tale. The book also contains numerous silly analogies, irrelevant observations, and mistakes. However, since this is the only book currently available on the Bennett Funding scandal, it fills a major gap in the literature until a more definitive account is published. Public, academic, and professional collections. S. Pressman; Monmouth University (NJ)

Table of Contents

Illustrationsp. xi
Figuresp. xiii
Tablesp. xv
Acknowledgmentsp. xvii
A Grimm Talep. 3
Beginnings: My Path to Bennettp. 6
Bennett Landp. 11
The Incidentp. 15
Daze of Reckoningp. 22
Kathleen McCarthy and Edmund T. "Bud" Bennettp. 34
Alms to the Poorp. 49
The Evil Empirep. 51
Another Boatp. 53
The Mastermind, Patrick R. Bennettp. 56
The Mechanics of Lease Fraudp. 65
The NYC Transit Authority Needs Copiersp. 70
Watch What You Wish For...p. 76
What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?p. 76
It's in the Airp. 87
Pennies from Heavenp. 87
One Thousand Cranesp. 88
Oral Contracts Aren't Worth the Paper They're Printed Onp. 88
The Businesses of the Debtorsp. 89
With Apologies to Melvillep. 98
The Quiet Company That "Made" Hundreds of Millionsp. 99
Substantive Consolidation and the Honeypotp. 104
Patrick's Legal Troublesp. 120
White Sandsp. 125
More Books to Cookp. 129
Pick a Bank, Any Bankp. 147
Estate Planning and Other Machinationsp. 149
Pension Plan De-vestingp. 153
Michael A. Bennettp. 156
Bonfirep. 167
Audits Were Holy Thingsp. 168
The Classless Actionp. 176
Richard C. Breeden, the Trusteep. 179
Some Figures for Perspectivep. 191
The Cover-up Commences--The 7 Percent Solutionp. 198
Hotel Feverp. 207
A Tale of Two Companiesp. 212
The Insurance Frontsp. 215
Endless Troublesp. 228
Hobnobbingp. 233
Carleton Island, New Yorkp. 239
Business Syndromesp. 240
Never Met a Client I Didn't Likep. 248
From Sin to Sinaip. 252
The Codep. 256
Of Brokers and Banksp. 263
Some More Business Syndromesp. 278
The Answer?
A Word to the Wisep. 285
Crime...p. 292
Country Bumpkin--Patrick's Trialp. 294
...and Punishmentp. 304
A. Bennett Companies Managementp. 309
B. Time Flow of Eventsp. 311
C. Patrick and Michael Bennett's "Key Man" Life Insurance Policies at New England Lifep. 312
D. The Nine Bennett Debtors and the Nondebtor Resort Funding, Inc.p. 313
E. Trademarks of the Bennett Companiesp. 314
F. The Campgrounds Owned by the Bennett Companiesp. 315
G. Major Known Assets of Bennett Managementp. 316
H. The Bank Fraud Counts Contained in the Indictment Against Patrick Bennettp. 317
I. The Categories of Fees in the Bennett Bankruptcyp. 318
J. Nonsettling Banksp. 320
K. "Risk Factors" from the Bennett Receivables PPMp. 321
Notesp. 325
Indexp. 361