3. A Diabolical Story

“Still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.”

—Paul Simon, “The Boxer”

On a beautiful Iowa summer’s day in 2012, Russell Wasendorf, Sr., the chief executive of a major futures brokerage firm, was found by an employee, unconscious in his car. Wasendorf had rigged a tube directly from his exhaust into the Chevy’s cabin in an apparent suicide attempt. He was revived and subsequently confessed to stealing over $200 million from his customers’ accounts over a 10-year period. He spent the money on a new corporate headquarters, real estate investments (primarily in Romania, of all places), a private jet, and travel and entertainment for family members and staff.

How did Wasendorf get away with this over such ...

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