Ripped From The Headlines

Button Aficionado; A Buttonhead if you Will...

May 19, 2022 Enn and Matt Season 4 Episode 8
Ripped From The Headlines
Button Aficionado; A Buttonhead if you Will...
Show Notes Transcript

This week Enn recaps S04 E08 of Law and Order, American Dream, which has Stone facing off with a particularly crafty defendant.  This case was very closely inspired by the Billionaire Boys Club, which was adapted into multiple films including the controversial 2018 flop starring Kevin Spacey. Matt takes us through the complicated scheme and talks about how Joe Hunt ran the Ponzi Scheme and how he was (allegedly) related to the death of Hedayat Eslaminia and the disappearance/murder of Ron Levin. Do you believe Ron Levin was killed, or is he still out there somewhere living it up?

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Voiceover:

In this true crime law and order podcast, the episodes are presented by two separate yet equally ridiculous individuals, one who researches the actual crime and the other who recaps the episode. These are their stories.

Enn Burke:

Hello, hi. I have no items to discuss this week. It was I think just a fairly like busy work week. Didn't really watch a lot of new TV or anything I did. I watched the first the season premieres of Atlanta and Beverly Hills. Okay. Did Are you current on both of those? I

Matt Molinaro:

watched Atlanta. I didn't know Beverly Hills premiered already, so I'm not current on that yet.

Enn Burke:

Okay. Beverly Hills starts off with Doritos robbery. Uh huh. And it's, it's it's a very, like, dark toned episode to begin with, like, like, you really get very few light moments. Yeah. But there is there are a few great moments and I just I love Garcelle so much.

Matt Molinaro:

Me too. I definitely helps better like when me back soon, because it's just taken this turn where every little minutiae details is, like 10 episodes long,

Enn Burke:

right? The fact that Lisa Ranas storyline last season was you didn't send me a thank you note for my husband's pasta sauce that I gave you. That's not television. Lisa, that's not television.

Matt Molinaro:

And I'm so overdue, right. And Lisa and I used to lovely Serena too. I've never been to phantom injury, but she kind of wanted me back in the middle. Yeah, I still down here. You know, I'm so over them and whatever. But Atlanta's great already.

Enn Burke:

Yeah, fantastic.

Matt Molinaro:

Right from the Trump drew Marlowe

Enn Burke:

show? I don't know. But I love to ensure Ray said that Marlowe is over there looking like the candy my grandma used to give me a church.

Matt Molinaro:

Like God, it was so accurate.

Enn Burke:

It was It looked just like those strawberry candies.

Matt Molinaro:

I actually liked those in a weird way isn't a little strange. No,

Enn Burke:

I loved them because they were kind of they had a little bit of softness. fizziness I felt like

Matt Molinaro:

they had like a little fizzy quality to them. Like not like a pop rock or anything like really. But I felt like the Candy had some sort of like, it wasn't like creamy.

Enn Burke:

It will it had like a gooey, gooey center.

Matt Molinaro:

Yeah, yeah. I have some sort of like, bite to it, I

Enn Burke:

guess. I think so. Part of it. Maybe I'm misremembering. I don't know. I like what do you? What do you what about you? What's going on?

Matt Molinaro:

Let's see. I got a promotion at work. Oh, congratulations.

Enn Burke:

Thank

Matt Molinaro:

you. I'm very excited about it. That's awesome. Yeah, it goes into effect on Monday, and comes with a little boost and money, which is always great. Yeah. And that was kind of worried because I'm fully remote, that I wouldn't be eligible for these types of positions. But yeah, I'm excited that I was chosen. That's very cool. Yeah, I'm very, very much looking forward to it. And between us and the listeners, I think that their decision to keep me remote, definitely helped the company because now they're letting everyone be fully remote. Oh, wow. If they want to be and they just hired someone from Georgia. They have another employee that we just hired that lives in like Temecula, which is obviously not quite as far as Georgia and New Jersey. But, you know, it's it's nice, it gives us a lot more opt options for good candidates. So

Enn Burke:

I think my my employer is not not me, particularly because I work with great people. But higher education generally, I think is really struggling and is going to continue to really struggle because there are so they're like research universities, particularly the faculty are so a lot of the faculty I should say are really, of the opinion that like everybody should be on campus and everything should be in person. And like, sure, that's great and all but number one that doesn't work for all students. Number two, is especially insane cities like Santa Barbara that are ridiculously expensive to live in. It makes it so that we not only are we not attractive as an employer, because we're not offering like permanent remote positions or things like that right now. But then also, you know, people wouldn't want to relocate here because it's so expensive. So we're we're having like the hardest time filling any positions and I feel like if higher education doesn't figure itself out soon, it's a kind of have a really hard time having staff to operate it.

Matt Molinaro:

Yeah, I feel like that's a really tangled Yeah, web that goes far deeper than just you know,

Enn Burke:

the fact that we want to Oh yeah, for sure. So much into

Matt Molinaro:

and how much money universities make for things that require you to be on campus. And, yes, AMS and yeah, yes, sports, you know?

Enn Burke:

Yeah. And, and there's also just this kind of like weird thing of, you know, student because state and federal contributions to higher education have declined over the years, while cost of operations have increased. And so that has like, primarily been compensated for with student fees and tuition, which sucks for our students, because in theory, it's supposed to be like free public education. But, so because of that, like, even if everything is operating as it should, and students are getting all the services and things that they should, like, if there's a perception that students are paying a bunch of fields, and like, there aren't people there to, like, make it to give kind of like a visual indication of all the services that are happening. It like people are really afraid of that. Yeah. You know what I mean? So anyway, enough about higher education budget.

Matt Molinaro:

Have you ever watched I don't know if I asked you this during the first season. But did you ever watch Russian doll?

Enn Burke:

I did. I still don't understand it. But I love Natasha Lyon. And I know the second season came out.

Matt Molinaro:

Yeah, we just started the second season. We're probably maybe halfway through. Really? Yeah, I didn't know where they were gonna go with it from the first season. I mean, there's so many ways to go because it's such a weird show. Yeah. Which I just

Enn Burke:

I feel like it left off with her and a hot guy in the elevator.

Matt Molinaro:

Yeah, it gets a yeah, yes. And it gets weirder. Like if the first season was weird and complicated and complex in its ideas and the way it presented it. Just wait, just wait. It's way more complicated. Way more mysterious. And oh, what's the actresses name? I love her. She was in big love with the blonde hair.

Enn Burke:

The braid? Chloe, Sammy. Yes. Yes. Yes. She's

Matt Molinaro:

a bigger character in the second season. that thrills me to pieces. So

Enn Burke:

yeah, she's a strange one. She's a good actress. She's a weirdo, though. Yeah. I mean, not as a person. Like,

Matt Molinaro:

she always carries a weird character. Yeah. And very well.

Enn Burke:

Yes. Very well.

Matt Molinaro:

So that's, that's what we've been watching. Other than housewives. We're catching up on Real Housewives still, of course. And yeah, I think that's kind. Oh, just, it was just Friday the 13th yesterday. Oh, I forgot about that. Yeah. So Davey, and I went by our friend's house, Ryan and Marianne and their friends of the podcast, Ryan is scary hours on social media and all that does the music stuff. And we watched. First of all, I have to say, just a big thank you to him for watch. Always listening to our show. He texted me literally every Thursday when it comes out and tells me what he thinks about it. And I'll let me just read a shout out from him to you actually. Okay, I meant to text this to you, but might as well do it on the air because it's like, you know, appreciating our our listeners. Yeah. They said about the last episode. Where were you cover Charles Manson? Oh, yeah. They said please let me know. They did an incredible job consolidating the Manson story. Wow. That's a big story to tackle. been digging into it in the past. But as Ben pointed out, there's so much to it. And it seems no matter how the information is organized, it gets convoluted. So great.

Enn Burke:

Yep. Thank you. Yeah, it was a very challenging case to figure out what I could cover in, you know, the standard amount. Sure. Yeah. I think you did cover up as Yeah, thank you. And and it's such a weird case, too, because it's all so wrapped up in like people different people's perspectives of what happened that like I feel like nobody really has the entire true picture of everything

Matt Molinaro:

right. And I guess they never will because that's kind of how those those folks were. Yeah. But we we decided speaking of spooky, scary things. We decided to watch scary movies for Friday the 13th Again, we saw screen No, we did that. We've done scream already. Like a couple of weeks, maybe a couple of weeks or a month or so ago. We took that first two screams we did I know you did last summer.

Enn Burke:

Oh my god. How was it?

Matt Molinaro:

I haven't seen I've first of all, I've never seen the second one which we also

Enn Burke:

watched. That's Jennifer Love Hewitt, right? Yes. Okay. I'm

Matt Molinaro:

Michelle Gellar and writing Felipe are Felipe and Freddie Prinze Jr. Oh, wow. I mean, if you want to talk about the pre 90s cast, I mean, yeah, right. Yeah. But yeah, and Brandy is in the sequel. Hello. Oh, my God. I forgot about that. Right. I had never seen it. And the first one I had seen probably when it was on like stars after it came out of the movie theater. Yeah. So I really didn't remember a lot of it. it, it was incredibly enjoyable to watch both of them very convoluted storylines, very, lots of unexplained things happen. Yeah, those could be definitely ones we do for our Patreon, for sure, especially if at least the first one.

Enn Burke:

I feel like, uh, you know, in order. I Know What You Did Last Summer how to walk. So that shows like Pretty Little Liars could run, you know?

Matt Molinaro:

So yeah, that's, that's all I've been doing. That's my big updates.

Enn Burke:

Well, great. Should we get into the episode? Let's do it. All right, now comes my moment of intense fear, which is I am the reCAPTCHA of this one, right? Yeah. Good. Thank God. And also, we record our Patreon and I'm also the reCAPTCHA for that one, right?

Matt Molinaro:

Yes. And mine is a big one for the Patreon.

Enn Burke:

Well, this is season four, Episode Eight of lawn order. It is titled American dream. And this episode opens with like, Briscoe at a crime scene. And it's apparently like an archeological dig had been happening. And they discovered a body when they were doing the archaeological excavation. And I have two things to say about that. One is the guy who discovered the body who's an archaeologist is extremely cavalier about that. He's like, Oh, yeah, you know, happens all the time. Which I don't know that that's true. But okay. And then the other part of that, that I thought was weird, is it seems like it was they were just going to build a building there. And so the, why were they doing an archeological dig? You know?

Matt Molinaro:

Yeah. Did they know it was some sort of like, ancient site and they needed to do that before they leveled the grass? I don't think that's what they do. I don't think there's that much care or funding if that even

Enn Burke:

Yeah. I feel like you probably like land surveyors just like look back at old records or something to see what the land was before. But yeah, I don't know that that happens. I'm not a builder. So anyway, so the body that they found is appears to be the body of a man he was wearing. Okay, here's the other thing that is like what is going on here? The decomposition of things is very inconsistent because the body is just bones. But there's still a like cashmere blazer on it. Yeah. And to pay very strange I'm like, okay, so everything decomposed except for a toupee and a blazer, it just seemed really weird.

Matt Molinaro:

Yeah. And it was like, the piece of blazer that they show is very much intact. Yes. Like fabric from mood.

Enn Burke:

So the anyway, that all all they have to go on is to pay and blue blazer which they identify as cashmere, which has gold buttons on it. And there's no teeth. The teeth had been removed from the remains. Yikes. So we get the title sequence. And I had a little bit of time, so I decided to train for a 5k and after running a few miles, I figured okay, I should probably head back that was like enough of a warm up for now. Beat pls I could not run a few miles if I if you put a gun to my head.

Matt Molinaro:

Oh my gosh, if you made me run a few miles right now, I would be like it would be like a boy and his blob.

Enn Burke:

All right, when we come back, they are talking to forensics. And we learned that the body had a 22 caliber slug in the skull. And the trajectory indicates that it was shot from like the base of the skull behind into the body. So they're like, Oh, that's a typical like mob hit kind of mode of death. He was a male. He was of medium build. They said he had a little bit of a hunch in his back. Which rude Logan is like, we've got 640 people, but none of them are hunchbacks with to pay. But the body what he died between two and 10 years ago and they're like we need to run more tests to kind of like narrow it down. So I forget what did we name the guy who likes to walk in as detective asked Jeeves? Thank you. So detective asked Jeeves walks in. And it's like here the me pulled this out of here. John Doe's Kneebone and we don't really if there's no explanation for what it is at first, but eventually we learned that it's like a metal pin in the knee. Which by the way, Logan decides to just open the evidence bag and like play around with the metal pin.

Matt Molinaro:

Yeah, I don't around us to be finger, ring your keys,

Enn Burke:

or the pencil trick that you can do where you move it from finger to finger. Yeah. In the body also had a Rolex, which Briscoe notes was from Hong Kong. I don't know if Rolexes are manufactured in Hong Kong or if that was meant to imply that it like wasn't a real Rolex. I don't know either. I don't know. I don't know why that was mentioned. Their next step is a button store. They had to a place called Queen Anne's buttons and talk to a button expert. Oh, what? I don't maybe in the 90s. But I cannot imagine any storefront operating solely on the sales of buttons.

Matt Molinaro:

And I'm sorry, if there is a button store, I promise you that the person behind the counter is not a button expert.

Enn Burke:

No, it is a surly teenager making minimum wage 100%. But this woman was like a a historian of buttons, but an aficionado of a button, a button head if you will. And she tells them that the button was British made of 18 karat gold and post World War Two. And she says it's a hand stamped Harrison Townsend button. Very fancy. And she offers them some comparable buttons because that company isn't in business any longer. But the comparable buttons are like $300 for a set of buttons. And the these buttons that they recovered from the scene would have been even more expensive. So they're like, Okay, so who would be wearing a cashmere blazer with super expensive buttons. So they go to the list of missing persons. And they kind of like go through a list of like, they're like a children's choir. Blah, blah, blah. And one of the groups of people is realtors. And Logan says that realtors are a prime suspect for a shallow grave. I and I didn't know people just asked their Realtors left and right but all right, me

Matt Molinaro:

neither. I know many people who have their Realtors license. Yeah, I call them and more.

Enn Burke:

Right? Are you okay? So they head down to that realty company that has a missing person. And we learned that that company is not doing very well financially. And they kind of mentioned the blazer and the buttons. And he says like, oh, yeah, we used to give those out. We haven't done that in years. And they're like, who would have gotten the blazer? And he's like, I don't know, I would have to like look up papers that are in I think he said like Weehawken, New Jersey storage unit. But they find like a box full of plaques with like salesperson of the year. And so they decide to kind of like go through that list to see if it would be any of those people because maybe they like got the blazer as a congratulations, you sold a bunch of stuff. But that doesn't lead them anywhere, except for there is a woman who was a realtor who her husband went missing. And so they're like, Well, maybe she got the blazer for him. Like as you know, she was selling a bunch and it was a thank you to her or whatever, right. So they head down to that woman's apartment. And her name is Beverly Dorfman. And she said her opening line is yes, that's one of the buttons. And she explains that she is allergic to cashmere. And so she gave it to her. Oh, I'm sorry. It wasn't her father who had missing it was her or her husband. It was her father. And she says that she got the blazer and gave it to her father. And she says that he's been missing since 1984. And she says he was murdered. I'm sure you've heard about it. And we learned that his name was Sidney Cohen. And they had put his murderer away for life. His murderer is in jail right now. And his murderer was a man named Philip Swan, who they call the Wall Street Wizkid. And it's notable in the case was notable because they had convicted him without recovering the body, which is you know, real body, you know, crime kind of thing. Yeah. So when they tell her that the body had been recovered, like somewhere in in Manhattan, she's like, Well, that can't be him. Because at his original trial, there was a witness who testified that he had helped bury the body in New Jersey. And they're like, Well, did your father have a pin in his knee? And she's like, Yeah, he was in a car accident and had to have a knee, you know, pin put in his knee. And so then they go back to the medical examiner, and they Compare X rays of the remains with the original X rays in Mr. Cohen's car injury, hospital stay and they match up perfectly. So they're like, Well, this is definitely him. So they bring everything to stone to kind of be like, we found a body. It's not where they said it was, but it's definitely him. So there might be a problem with the original case. And we learned that stone was the prosecutor of the original case. And by the way, the the running theme of this whole episode is stone is convinced he did the right thing, convicting this guy, Philip Swan that he definitely committed the murder and every time they're presented with anything that contradicts that stone gets kind of super defensive.

Matt Molinaro:

Yeah, we know that stone. Not only is very like virtuous and needs to do the right thing, but he doesn't think he makes mistakes. He dots all his eyes crossed all those T's, yes, you know, talks out of the side of his mouth, all of that

Enn Burke:

talks about who has close to God. So Philips one was essentially running a pyramid scheme, and he had pissed off a lot of people by like scamming them. But then we learned that Phillip Cohen who are sorry, Sydney Cohen, the dad, who had been murdered was like scamming him. So don't scam a scammer, because apparently, they'll shoot you in the back of the head. By the way, I still cannot hear the word scammer without thinking of Joanne the Scammer.

Matt Molinaro:

How could you not have that's canceled? That's over? That's done.

Enn Burke:

So we learn that in the original case, the witness had said that Sydney had been killed by like slashing his throat. But based on this evidence that they've recovered, they know it was a gunshot wound that had killed him. So the witness testimony is a little inconsistent with the actual evidence. So stone again, adamant that this had all happened. So he says, you know, the witness said he was there that he helped bury the body and in prison, or no, not in prison. Prior to his convictions. One had apparently like gone around bragging to everybody about having killed Sidney Cohen, which doesn't seem like the smartest move to me. No. Kincade wonders if swan is innocent, but stone is like no, he's dead. He definitely did it. We just have to figure out like how this evidence all fits back together. So shift tells them to go talk to a man whose last name is Bobbitt and he is the guy who was giving testimony of having been an accomplice to burying Sidney Cohen's body. By the way, when they kept saying Bob it at first I thought they were like making an analogy to the Lorena Bobbitt case. And then I was like, oh, no, it's it's a character in the episode.

Matt Molinaro:

Yeah. I was like, are they going to try to link this together? Right.

Enn Burke:

So Briscoe and Logan go and talk to him. And he's like, listen, he has a line. I know when they tell him that they found his body in Manhattan. And he's like, Well, we buried him in New Jersey. And he says, I don't care if he found the body on the moon. I know where we buried it. But Stone says that Bobbitt had originally been unable to lead investigators to the site of the burial. And he explained that it was because Swan had been driving he was just a passenger. They kind of questioned him about stabbing having been the cause of death versus shooting. And he says, I never looked at the body. It was like wrapped up, and Swan just told me how he had been killed. So stone thinks that swan is just a habitual liar, and that he did commit the murder and just told Bob it a different method of murder. Bla bla bla. Meanwhile, they get a call that swan is now contesting his original conviction based on this new evidence. So stone heads to the courthouse for the hearing. And Swan greets him and he's played by an actor named Zelos. Gel ZLJK. Oh, is his first name. Last name is Ivan. And the thing I definitely recognized him.

Matt Molinaro:

He did look familiar to me, but I don't know from what I think his

Enn Burke:

biggest role was. He played Ray Fisk on damages which did you ever watched damages? Yeah. Ah, you have to add it to your list. It's really really good. Yeah, images, huh? Yeah. With Glenn Close, huh? Yeah. Glenn Close not Meryl Streep. Yeah, yeah. So apparently swan is acting as his own attorney which upsets stone because, you know, that's always it seems irritating to all judges and lawyers when that happens. But he says that at, you know, you should reverse my conviction because you convicted me based on the assumption that this body was buried in New Jersey, and it wasn't. And so you now have to reverse that verdict, which ultimately they do rule in his favor. And so he is brought up on a second trial, we get a couple of really boring scenes where they talk to like people who knew Phillips one when he was like a Wall Street whiz kid, it really is not pertinent to the story. So I don't know why we got them. But they there was like a whole bunch of scenes where they were like the bulls, the bears, the you know, selling hot Buy low, you know, a lot of that. Yeah. Then we get a scene where we learn that on the remains of Sidney Cohen, they found lava dust.

Matt Molinaro:

Oh, yeah, lava dust,

Enn Burke:

you know, as. So now they're seeing like, okay, so there was this unique kind of soil on his remains, which are consistent with an area in New Jersey that he had supposedly been buried and buried in. So they think now, what happened was that Swan murdered Philip Cohen took Bobbitt and they buried him in New Jersey. And then swan was afraid Bobbitt was going to rat him out. So he went, dug up the body and moved it to Manhattan. Okay, so they're able to kind of track down Phillip swans car from 10 years ago, and they do find lava dust in his in the trunk of his car as well. So it's a pretty clear indication that the body had been in his trunk at some point after it had been buried in New Jersey. But swan is able to kind of like play this off later as like, Hey, I play golf in New Jersey and so it could have been on the, from the cleats on my golf cleats. Alright, so meanwhile stone is like trying to put this case back together to retry him and is it's he's having a hard time because it's like 10 of the original witnesses have either like, moved on or died or can't be found. And meanwhile, Bobbitt, the main one who, who provided evidence that puts one away for the first time has vanished. And supposedly he had bought a ticket to Barbados, like that morning and is gone. So now they're really the only witness that they had at that point is has vanished. And so Steve stones case is kind of like crumbling around him. So stone tries to get a postponement of the trial, the retrial so that they can find Bobbitt to testify. But swan is able to he swan is like outsmarting stone at every turn, which is very irritating to steal, to say the least. And he's able to convince a judge that not only should we not postpone the trial, but you shouldn't even allow Barbets original testimony, because the retrial has to be based on this new evidence that you collected. And if Bobbitt can't be found, I can't cross examine him. And so you shouldn't be able to read his old his original testimony into court evidence, which the judge also agrees with. So meanwhile, stone is like, Okay, we know that swan is a braggart. And so let's go talk to folks that were in prison with him. So they go and talk to some inmates. And they managed to convince one of them to testify that Swan had told him that he had killed Sidney Cohen and move to the body. So in court, they get one of the financial guys on the stand. It's really boring. And then but he does say that he saw one day that Swan had a to do list and it was like 2pm Dry Cleaners like 3pm pickup golf clubs. 9pm kill Sydney Cohen. Casual. I don't think that is a typical thing that somebody would do, but All right, hey, there it is. So they get the inmate on the stand. The guy who had said that Swan had bragged about killing Sidney Cohen in court, and that he testifies that Swan test had killed Swan because Cohen had screwed him out, screwed him on a deal. And he says that Swan had told him that he and Bob it had buried the body in New Jersey. And then Swan talked about how he had moved the body because he didn't trust Bobbitt. Swann cross examines this inmate who he had been in prison with. And he learned he's able to get the inmate to admit that he had testified on a case in Texas. And he was found to have perjured himself as a witness in that case. And so he is, Swann is able to essentially convince the jury that this inmate is just lying to, you know, get a reduced sentence in exchange for testimony. Meanwhile, big Swan gets on the stand. And swan is essentially testifying and like kind of questioning himself because he's serving as his own lawyer. And he explains that there were a lot of people who had been mad at him about the pyramid scheme that he had been running, but he didn't kill any of them. So why would he have just picked out Cohen to kill of all of those people who hated him? Stone questions him about the you know, 9pm murder, Phillip murder, Sidney Cohen, on his to do list and swan is like that was a joke. And he asks about right. And he asks him about the dirt from New Jersey that's in his car that matches the remains. And he says, You know, I used to play golf in New Jersey. So the jury comes back with a verdict of not guilty and stone wonders like stone, of course isn't letting this go despite the fact that you know, Swan one has retrial. And meanwhile Bob it has never resurfaced. And so stone is wondering if Swan had Bobbitt killed or maybe bribed him to not testify. So, in the DHS office, meanwhile, stone has served papers, and we learn that swan is suing both Ben personally and the state of New York for $10 million for malicious prosecution, and various civil rights violations. Stone much two shifts, dismayed decides to represent himself in this case. And so we get a scene where swan is deposing stone. And he kind of just continues to wipe the floor with stone and says, you know, this isn't like my first case. You know, oh, no, he's wiping the floor with stone and stone is like, how is he? How does he so knowledgeable about the law? And Swan says it's not like this is my first case. And so stone is like, maybe he was like reading up on legal stuff in prison and was operating as other inmates lawyer. And in exchange, one of them made Bobbitt disappear. So they go back to the inmate who had perjured himself on the stand. And what we learn is that he they had thought he was going to be a great witness for the prosecution, but it was all a scheme, so that he it would come out that he perjured himself and stones case would fall apart. He asks that inmate wears Bobbitt and he says, I had nothing to do with that. On Stone says, I'll charge you with accessory to murder if you don't tell me what you know. And he points them to a guy named George Ms. Lansky, who is apparently the hitman who took out Bobbitt, Logan and Brisco. Go arrest him. And in interrogation, they offer him a plea deal to murder to if they provide info on Philip Swann. So he takes Logan and Brisco to the location of Barbets body Sure enough, they find it and so now they're able to arrest Philip Swan again, this time for orchestrating the murder of Russell Bobbitt. Stone in Swan meet in stones office. And stone essentially gets the last laugh and swan is like I've already gotten this far. While stone is like you're right back where you started. And then there The episode ends with this weird moment where stone chastises Swan for calling him Ben. He's like in polite society. You don't call somebody by their first name if you don't know them very well. And swan is like, alright, Ben, and swan is like I'm not going to give up not after I've gotten my biggest victory aka beating you in court. And then stone is like, you don't know me and you never will. And that's the end of the episode.

Matt Molinaro:

Dun dun dun dun dun. Got him.

Enn Burke:

Yeah. Burn sick burns down.

Matt Molinaro:

Well, Gladstone got his way. Yeah. Do you have any guesses for the inspiration?

Enn Burke:

Um, I mean, the only thought I had was like a mob related case since they mentioned that at the beginning. But not really.

Matt Molinaro:

All right, well buckle up. Okay. This episode is inspired by I don't want to, I want to bury the lede a little bit. So I'm just gonna say it's inspired by the story of the billionaire boys club. Okay, have you ever heard of the billionaire boys club?

Enn Burke:

I feel like I have, but I'm not piecing it together.

Matt Molinaro:

I've heard the phrase before. Okay. But I always thought it was just like a silly phrase that guy's used for a little posses. Right? And I know it's an ice cream company now of some type. Billionaires boys club is an ice cream. I think so because when I was researching this case, I had to be very specific about what I was looking up, because I kept getting these ads for okay, but anyways, that's fine. This is for a an older case that we're gonna go back to the 60s 80s time.

Enn Burke:

Just say the 60s 80s.

Matt Molinaro:

Yeah, I mean, it's really in the 80s. But we're gonna start in the 60s when one of the main characters is okay. Okay. Okay. So Joseph Henry Kamsky was born in 1960, to a middle class family. And after attending elementary school and middle school, and displaying very impressive grades, he was accepted on scholarship into the Harvard School for Boys. No affiliation with Harvard University. Okay. It used to be called Harvard School for Boys. It's currently operating under the name Harvard Westlake School. All right, somewhere in California, I think in LA County. It's a very prestigious and expensive Preparatory School. And he was surrounded by far more affluent people than he was. He was there on a scholarship, remember, and his family did not make the same sort of money that most of his classmates did. Okay. Most of his classmates had famous families or really, really rich ones. And he always aspired to their sort of level of wealth, even as a freshman. And tell me his name one more time. Joseph damskie.

Enn Burke:

Joseph Kamsky,

Matt Molinaro:

okay. One of his classmates says of Him, quote, Joe was always out to prove himself better and smarter than the rich kids. And he was. So he strived for good grades. And he even applied to be in, you know, school office positions multiple times. And while he was very successful academically, he really never got elected to any position. But that doesn't mean he wasn't popular. He used his time. They're very well, to sort of Hobnob and network with all of his affluent classmates. Yeah, he ended up using his charisma and charm, uniqueness and talent. his charisma and charm to really win most of his classmates over he had a lot of friends. Okay, after graduating, he attended USC for about a year and a half, and then he dropped out. Then he decided to take his CPA exam, despite not having a degree. And he passed. And this made him at that time the youngest person in the state of California to pass the CPA exam. Wow. So despite not having his degree, his status as a CPA helped him earn a job at a very well known Chicago, commodities firm. I'm not exactly sure what the name of the place was, but he got a job as a commodities trainer, trade Raider trader, okay. And this is not my world at all. commodities trading or any, any of this type of stuff. So I had to look it up, buy low, sell high. Exactly. That's about as much as I know. I picture like the old cartoons, where you go to the stock market, and there's people there's cartoon characters sweeping papers off of the floor of a big room God phones ringing off the hook. Yeah. So I looked it up on Investopedia. And here's just the the main bullet points of what a commodities trader does for anyone out there who's like me. Okay, so commodity traders are individuals or business or businesses which buy and sell physical commodities such as metals or oil. Okay, traders in this area aim to profit off of anticipated trends as well as arbitrage opportunities. And commodity traders may work to secure a supply of raw material for a business or industry to help create liquidity in an international market or to invest in speculative capacity. Liquidity, liquidity, that's a fun word. So basically, they're, you know, trading in commodities, like oil and metals, like physical sort of tangible things, instead of a stock so I'm guessing the best I can Do you and that's about all I'm going to talk about in terms of what his career was. Okay, great. So he did this for some time at this firm, before he was caught doing some shady business dealings, and not being completely upfront about his dealings with his clients. And they took him to task for it. And he was fired from the firm. And furthermore, suspended for a record 10 years from trading privileges, period. Wow. Yeah. Wow. So not great, sort of like everything he built up for himself kind of in the toilet for the next 10 years. Yeah, the director of his compliance department at the time said, quote, after meeting him, it gave a whole new idea to the idea of pathological lying. I am convinced that he cannot distinguish truth from fiction, he seems so believable and exerts such charm, that until you start to take the thing apart, he gets a lot of people sympathetic to him. Hmm. All right. At this point, it's 1983. And he's 23 years old, he moves back to California to the LA area. And while here, he has a real drive to start accumulating wealth again, and to make a new name for himself, literally, because he changes his name. So he changes his name at this point to Joe hunt. Okay, and that's who he is for the rest of the rest of the case. So it's an easy name. Yeah. Easier than damskie? I guess. But yeah, I mean, not that that's hard. So he immediately starts to reconnect with his old classmates from the Harvard School while he's here. And he talks to them about creating an investing and social club called the BBC,

Enn Burke:

not to be confused with the network

Matt Molinaro:

television that we're not at all. He does name it after, or gets inspired for the name from his favorite restaurant in Chicago, the Bombay Bicycle Club. The acronym BBC, this case stands for the billionaire boys club. Got it? So how it was incredibly charismatic and charming, as I mentioned, I mentioned it several times, because these are the two words that are in every article I read about him. Yeah. So you know, this is his, his main qualities that get him far in life, he would essentially have his friends agree to join this BBC, and invest money and convince their insanely wealthy parents and contacts to invest or to at least hold meetings with him about investing in the BBC. The club would be in his words used to invest all of this money into companies and to create new companies that wouldn't, you know, in turn, create a return of profits to them. That would be you know, incredible and outstanding. And all of these things, you know, lots of big promises. Yeah. One of his former investors describes hunt as incredibly convincing, saying, quote, he had this quality about him. He just struck everybody who got to know him as the person you want it to be with. So young men continue to bring their parents and their friends as investors, including young men, young men, that don't want to get sued. Because you know, the people of the village

Enn Burke:

people are listening to this 100%. Yes.

Matt Molinaro:

Included in this group of young men are twins Tom and Dave May, who early on invest 160k. And they joined the BBC. They were heirs to this major department store money at the time. Mays department stores which I don't never heard of, but I'm sure they were big at the time.

Enn Burke:

Robinson May.

Matt Molinaro:

Is that a thing? Yeah. The May company bought Robinson. Oh, see, that's what that's what it was them.

Enn Burke:

And did they become Macy's? Or did Macy's acquire them? I never remember that idea. But they were a big department store, you know, in this 70s 80s, I

Matt Molinaro:

think okay, so that gives a good idea to how much money these these kids had access to, you know, and what their names meant. Yeah. So, also, Dean Kearney and Ben dosti, were two of the first 12 boys who joined the BBC, and they all kind of knew hunt from Harvard, or they knew of him through mutual friends. So everyone kind of trusted him. And hunt presented the club to others as quote, this new type of group, an organization where not the structure is important, but the merit of the individuals, okay. The BBC did start to invest money as they said they would into different companies, and unfortunately, most of it did not pay off. They had a lot of failed dealings pretty early on, and they were spending in excess and not making any The profit really, and some of the investors, like pretty early on, were watching their money. And they wanted it back. Yeah. By late 1983, which is, you know, within the same year or so when they formed the club. They had already lost $900,000 Wow, okay. Yeah. It didn't stop them from spending tons of money though. And this is when the Ponzi scheme of the BBC really, really ramped up their, their activity. Okay, so Hans, and the members of the BBC were frequently running up to $3,000 tabs at nightclubs, leaving $500 plus tips everywhere they went. The members all had super fancy cars, and they retreated to shopping sprees by hunt, it became part of the BBC code that no member should appear in public unless they wear a suit and tie. And one mantra or mantra, however you say it, that hunt put out to members was, quote, The first rule never feel sorry for anything you do. And the second, it's alright to lie. If you know the

Enn Burke:

truth. The first rule of BBC is don't talk about BBC.

Matt Molinaro:

I mean, that would have done them a lot better if that was the first rule, honestly.

Enn Burke:

Yeah. So wait, sorry, the motto was Do Nothing you do wrong matters.

Matt Molinaro:

Basically. Don't feel sorry for anything you do. And if you lie, it's okay. As long as you know the truth. Oh, sure. Most people who lie know the truth. Yeah, well, yeah. Right. Otherwise, they don't know if they're lying. So figure that out. So by this time, despite borrowing, you know, what's the old phrase borrowed from Peter to pay, Paul? Is that robbing Peter to pay Paul? Yeah, basically, besides doing despite them doing that, Hunt knew that he he needed a lot more money, and you need to pretty quickly because he was getting more members to have their families invest, but it really wasn't working out for him. He owed a lot of people a lot of money. And they were getting pretty impatient with him. Like they were

Enn Burke:

getting off the hook. Yeah, it sounds like one of those things where it just kind of like got away from him, and the only way out was to gamble more exactly,

Matt Molinaro:

exactly. In 1990, or sorry, 1983, one of his members named semi Cooper introduces Joseph hunt to a man named Ron Levin. Ron Levin is a wealthy man in the LA area at the time. He's infamous in the community. He rolled with important business people, he lived a very lavish lifestyle. He was friends with celebrities. And for better or for worse, he was known by everyone to be filthy rich. He was a businessman. I'd really be nice. Amen. Amen. Like when I see pictures of the wealth of all of these people, I'm like, You make me sick. Yeah, he was a businessman, but it's very unclear what he actually did for a living. I know one of the businesses he did was described as like a filming company and media company. But when I looked into it a little bit, it kind of seemed like have you ever seen the movie Nightcrawler with

Enn Burke:

John Hall, or Joe and Nightcrawler? The X Men?

Matt Molinaro:

Yeah. Different but different, but similar. It's about he's like a paparazzi sort of freelance photographer or video artists who goes out to like accidents and stuff, listen, police radio and goes out to accidents to get like the first video and sell it to new stations. Okay, that's what it seems like he was running. So okay, not exactly the most ethical company.

Enn Burke:

Yeah, it doesn't. Yeah, yeah.

Matt Molinaro:

And that's his business, not counting and like his shady dealings that you can look into. Okay, so this guy, Ron Levin at this time. He's 42 years old. So he's quite a bit older than most of the members of the BBC. And one article said he was 51 years old, but everything else that he was in his early 40s, so I'm gonna go with that. Yeah. He was described by his friends as a prankster. And he acted like a mischievous mischievous little boy.

Enn Burke:

I hot take pranks are not funny. Not

Matt Molinaro:

pranks are the way people describe pranks now? They're not even pranks. No, they're just like me mean spirited things. Like when you look at prank videos on the internet now, it's just like, dudes with super jailed hair and tight pants doing shitty things to people on saying pranks.

Enn Burke:

It I mean, I feel like I see endless videos of like Tic TOCs and things like that of people like throwing something at the back of someone's head in a department store and then acting like they didn't do anything. Right. Right. That is not a prank. No, you're just an asshole.

Matt Molinaro:

Not exactly. And it's funny that you said that because even though his friends described him as a prankster and a mischievous little boy, I wrote that in turn, it really just means he's an asshole and a scammer. just wishes, whatever what else they read him knew him as he was a con man. Yeah. And he just never got caught really. So Ron Levin and Joe hunt, become fast friends after they meet. And Levin agrees to invest $5 million into the BBC. Whoa, yeah. So they caught a big fish in their minds. Sure did. Yeah. He says he'll give access to hunt. He'll give hunt access to this money by letting him in on a commodities account he has, that's worth $5 million. And he does, he gives them access to this commodities account. And we know that HUD is familiar with this sort of world. So he feels like okay, I can definitely work with this. And I can make a huge profit off of this for you. And then their deal is after he turns this $5 billion dollars into however, many million dollars, he's gonna split it with love and 5050, the earnings and then return the 5 million. Okay, so, Hunt actually does this, he delivers on his promise, and he manages to grow the 5 million into $14 million. That's surprising. Yeah. And it seems like everything was kind of on the up and up. Like he just he was actually good at what he did when he finally applied himself. And when he got in the in the game, I guess, I don't know what it was that he was doing so poorly before. Maybe he was just, you know, focus on building this brand. But he did it. And then he goes to cash it out. And he discovers there's no money. And I don't know how commodities trading works, obviously, or how these accounts work. But I guess he was building money into the account based on like deals and stuff like that. But the 5 million was never there. Oh, my first place. Oh, got it. Okay. So he finds out that the account was a dummy account. And Levon had before this, gone to a documentary film company, and said he was making a film on commodity trading. And they needed to make this dummy account with $5 million in it, but it was going to be fake. And that the subject of the documentary named Joe can't know that it's fake, or he won't be motivated to work hard at trading and you know, make the the funds that they need to take this documentary series off the ground. Mm. And Joe gangster,

Enn Burke:

what a print print.

Matt Molinaro:

This is a prank, you know. So after Joe goes to like, ask for the money from Lepin. You know, like, let's liquidate the account. He's expecting to get $4 million out of this deal. Live and just keeps putting it off. He's like, Oh, you know, one thing, one thing or another? It just kept being like, Okay, wait, well, I'll do it. But don't worry, I'll wait. Joe has 80 investors waiting on him for this money, because of course, he's talking about it to the people who are begging him for money, like, Oh, I just made all this money, you're gonna get a return on your investment now. Right? Joe didn't find out that this was all a scam. Until one day he was like, physically at the trading company doing something else. And one of the people that worked there was like, Hey, when did you know the money wasn't real? Like, oh, this is amazing. You did this when did you know? And Huntress has to pretend like oh, yeah, okay. So he's humiliated. And he goes back to the BBC, and tells them what happened with life. And you know, all boys are devastated. And Levin eventually tells him Listen, sorry, I didn't tell you about this. But I really did want to make a documentary. Thank you for doing what you did with the profits. And I'm gonna, I'm going to open up a line of credit for for you. I'm gonna open up a line of credit with the first million and a half dollars that we have from the profits. And I'm going to split everything with you. And he's like, okay, but then that never happens.

Enn Burke:

So 211 is like the filthy rich guy, right? The

Matt Molinaro:

rich. Okay. Two days later on June

7 1984 6:

45am. Ron Levin's friends show up at his Beverly Hills duplex, because it's like a Friday, I think, and they're supposed to be going to New York for a weekend vacation where they're going to party it up.

Enn Burke:

Why are you living in a duplex if you're like, right? I'm also I feel like the minute any of our stories get into time of day is like, oop, it's coming. Yeah.

Matt Molinaro:

Right. Don't you know that? So the first few people to arrive at Levin's house are 19 year old Dean factor of Max Factor family fame. Oh, wow. And a guy named Michael pro door who also is very wealthy. And they're buddies with Levin and they show up with their suitcases ready to meet for this trip and he's not answering your store. They also noticed that the burglar alarm right out front is disarmed, which is pretty unusual, but everything's locked and they can't get in and They go around back they can't get in. And then the other two attendees of the trip, Mark and Laura Geller arrive. And Ron is not answering not available. It's not really cell phone time at this time so they can't really get in touch with him. Yeah, so they decide it's not too long until Ron's housekeepers supposed to arrive. He had a pretty like regular schedule. And they're like, Okay, when she gets here, she'll let us and so let's just wait it out and see maybe he's on like a bender, you know, who knows 7:15am About a half hour after they first arrive. The housekeeper whose name is Blanche Starkey. She lets them in. And when they go inside, there's no run anywhere. When they look around, His clothes are still there, his shoes are still there, his like black bag that he carried everywhere with him and sitting there. And when they go in his room, he usually had a white comforter on his bed, like he was everything was white, as a Rolls Royce was white. He wore white suits. He was very pristine and very particular with everything he had,

Enn Burke:

does not seem like such a rich thing like everything 100 likes, because that means you could afford to have it clean it constantly or just

Matt Molinaro:

toss it away.

Enn Burke:

Yeah, that too.

Matt Molinaro:

And so it's gone the white comforter, and it's been replaced with a green blanket that has like flowers on it. And the housekeeper is like, Oh, this is the guest blanket. I don't know why this would be on his bed. Also of note is the TV remote is missing, which never comes up again in the case. But let me tell you, there's not a single article that doesn't talk about the TV remote or the clicker being missing.

Enn Burke:

That's so so it's not integral today's but they all keep mentioning it.

Matt Molinaro:

Yeah. It's just one of the things that's sort of out of place and strange. Yeah, there's two salads on unfinished in the kitchen that were like partially eaten. So it looks like he had a guest of some type. And they're like, Okay, what is going on? So they call his mom, Carol, who he was known to speak with daily. And she's like, I don't know where he is, he shouldn't be there. Everyone who spoke to him the day before said that he was working on business deals that day. And he had told everybody about this trip he had planned for the weekend. So no one was really expecting to hear from him today, either, because they knew he was going to New York, right? So they speak to his mom. And at 9am. She calls the police and says like, I want to file a missing persons report. But because it's the early 80s, that rule where you have to wait two days is still in effect. So and just PS to everyone who thinks this is a thing, because this is still always in the media and in like real crime things. It is not a thing. It is not a thing. And I wish that could be dispelled in every single True Crime anything because I feel like most people still think that's the thing. Yeah, you don't I mean, so if you are someone who knows someone who's missing, you can report an EEG immediately. Yeah, and we've all learned that, you know, from all these different at the very least from like TV shows that the first 48 hours is like integral in finding somebody so you know, someone's missing your report that shit like that day. And if you're wrong, big deal, right a deal. So anyway, but it's the time when this is actually still in effect. So she has to wait two days, that evening, that same evening, all of this happened in the morning, that same evening, there's a strange sequence of events that happens in New York across the country. And remember, this is where they're supposedly all going to be going anyway. Okay, so let's go to 11pm on the same day, this is again, this is June 7 1984 11pm. Let's do it. Let's go on his on his journey. In New York City, a man named Ron Levin checks into the Plaza Hotel and gets a room on the 10th floor. And the next morning at 6am. The Plaza like front desk, contacts Ron Levin's room, because he's run out of credit on his card that he's that he like, left on file when he got the room. He's the night before and the night before. From one one and a half days. So the next day nothing happens. I've no June 9 is the day after. So two days after he checks it and he checks him at 11pm Next day, nothing happens June 9 6am. Okay, okay. So they contact him but even still in one day, one full day he's run up at $1,300 bill. Wow. And they tried to run his card to like pay off some of it and it's unsuccessful. They like lower the amount to pay off just a portion it's unsuccessful. So they contact him about his his bill.

Enn Burke:

It's like an Adobe right that's

Matt Molinaro:

totally gave me that vibe.

Enn Burke:

I've sent the why off.

Matt Molinaro:

I still haven't watched the series. Oh my God, you have to I know I don't know what I'm doing. So they're like okay, this is unusual that goes to the room and he's he's nowhere to be found. No one's in the room. When they walk in the room. There's a metal attache attache case in there. And no Ron Levin so they decide they're going to double lock the room from the outside so he can Get in when he comes back, because, you know, he's delinquent on his payment. Right? That same evening, a supervisor, like a security supervisor sees a man going down, like the back employee staircase. And he's carrying a silver attache case. And they're like, he's like, What are you doing here and the guy's house him, Oh, the elevators out of service. I'm taking this, this this way down. But the security guy knows the elevators not out of service. And he knows no one's supposed to be here. And so he radios for backup. And by the time this man gets downstairs, it's Ron Levin, just guy from the hotel. He's surrounded by a bunch of like security people. And he drops the case. And the hotel manager says that he does a karate type stance in the middle of like the palm court, where they like dine outside of the hotel. Okay. And he even says he does like a higher kind of sounds. Okay. Okay. So everyone's kind of around him, like what's going on? And then he, he makes it run for it. And he runs towards the revolving door of the hotel to go a different direction to get to get away. He breaks the door and the process like shatters it, and the security guys chase him, and then they have him. And they were like, What are you doing? What happened? How did you get this attache case from the room we double locked it. And he was like, I kicked the door down. And there's pictures and he like completely destroyed the door to that room.

Enn Burke:

Jesus.

Matt Molinaro:

So there's $2,100 in damages between that door and the shattered door in the in the lobby. And so police are called out and they arrest him. Once in custody. They find out that the man is not named Ron Levin. His name is James Pittman. Ron Levin. I haven't mentioned his description much but he was in his 40s he was okay. Hall gray hair. Slender, white guy. Okay, James Pittman is a 30 something year old muscley black guy. Okay, like no resemblance whatsoever.

Enn Burke:

And this is the guy who adopted the karate Stan. Yes.

Matt Molinaro:

Okay, and was calling himself Ron Levin, and had a credit card that was drawn Levin. So we find out that James Pippen was Joe hunts hired bodyguard for the BBC. On June 12, two days after this arrest, Joe hunt arrives in New York City, and he hires a attorney named Robert Ferraro to bail out his friend quote, unquote, Ron Levin. James Pittman, and he pays him on the spot $4,700 in cash 2000 Just for the bail 2000 was for the damages of the hotel and then 700 retainer fee. Okay, and he, he got some out. So James Pittman gets out and returns back to California immediately, and he returns duties as hunts bodyguard for the BBC. Now, a missing persons report is finally filed after all of this comes to light. And it's on June 22. For rom Ivan 16 days after he initially went missing. Okay. This is also 10 days after Pittman returns to LA for after getting bail getting bailed out. So after the missing persons report is placed, they want to search LeBrons house authorities but no one gives them authorization to do so his family's like no, you're not searching his house. We already were there. Like there's nothing to find out and we don't want his he's a shady guy. So I think they wanted to keep his like, dealings under wraps because they're like, you know, we're trying to find him not ruin his life when we find him. Right. So they don't have a lot to go on. They're trying to like go to contacts if his no one knows where he is. That's the same story from everybody. He was supposed to be going on this trip and he didn't show up. So luckily, detectives receive a phone call to talk to the Mayo brothers attorney. Those are those like attorneys, the people who invest all that money right away. Okay, and they say that they have information about Levin's disappearance. They say that very shortly after Joe returned to LA with James, the two of them held a meeting with the BBC. And they said it was very important everyone came and they told everyone when they got there, like if you're here, you're being trusted with information. And if you don't think you can do that, then leave now. And no one leaves and he tells the group of the BBC boys the billionaire boys club that he and Jim quote knocked off Levin. Okay. And in his story to them, he tells them all the following information. He says that on June 6, which is the day before he was going on this trip that you know, Joe knew he was going on the trip the next weekend. So he knew this was the perfect opportunity. He went over to his house and chatted with Ron about the money he owed him and what they could do about it. Ron served him salad they ate for a little bit and then at 930 pm knock was at the door, which was planned and that was Jim. And they let Jim in. Because Joe said, Oh, I know him. That's someone who works for me. That's Jim. But Ron had no idea who he was. Right? So the plan that Joe and Jim had was to pretend that Jim was an enforcer for the mafia. And Joe didn't know about it. And he was trying to get Joe to repay him a debt. And Joe was going to 10 finger 11 for having all of his money. And then the two of them were going to con Levin into thinking this whole thing was happening, and that he had to help them out. And then they were going to, and that was the plan basically. And so that's how it started. And then Levin, you know, bought everything they were selling, and he signed paperwork for them under duress. And he signs a $1.5 million check from his Swiss bank account to one of the organizations under the BBC. And then they brought Ron up to his room, they put them facedown in his bed on top of his comfort her and then Jim held a gun to his head. Joe made the signal, Jim shoots Ron in the back of the head, and then wraps him in the comforter. And they carry him out the back door into the trunk of one of their BMWs. And they take them up to Soledad Canyon and buried him at the very top I don't they had gotten their money yet that they they wanted revenge, basically. So he says that when they got to the top of the Canyon area, they shot his body up with shotgun shells also to try to make him unrecognizable. And a lot of hunting Joe was laughing about it and said that his brain had popped out and landed on his chest. Oh my god. Okay, so this is the way they're talking about it to the bragging no big deal. Haha, we got our money back and we we tricked him. Yeah. So this evidence is presented to the Levin family and the legend. Ron Levin's father finally gives authorization for them to search the apartment. When authorities search the apartment, they find a stack of seven pages of handwritten notes. And I'm going to read you what one of the notes has it has a list of 14 things. Okay, and it says at Leavens to do. And here is the list of 14 things to do. One, tape mouth to Ho Chi handcuff three, put gloves for closed blinds, five scan for tape recorder. Six killed dog in parentheses, emphasis no seven explained situation eight put answering services on first ring nine get alarm code and get alarm access code and ARM code 10 date stamped documents and date stamp letters 11 make file of letters take with you 12 Use corporate seal and have Levin sign agreements and fill in blanks 13 Xerox everything. So he has initiated copies 14 Xerox authorization. And then in the margins, there is Joe Hunt's signature. His name appears several times on the documents. There's also a side note talking to how Jim is to dig a pit. And then there's a page with a simple like hand drawn very rudimentary map to the arranger station. And so the dad Canyon. I want to just say the dog is fine. Oh, the dog was not killed. I just have to put that out there immediately. But it was on their list and it was emphasis who knows? So much like the episode I guess people do make these kinds of notes. Apparently. Blanche when she's asked to the housekeeper. She says that Ron was last seen wearing a gray jogging suit and a gray robe. And they're both missing. And the comforters missing the TV remote was missing further adding to Joe's to suspicious activities. Two days after Ron goes missing Joe deposits that $1.5 million check that he talked about. And it bounces because there was $40 in the account. Oh, okay. And Levin's signed the check in the wrong place which made the whole process more complicated.

Enn Burke:

So was this super rich guy never actually rich?

Matt Molinaro:

Unclear. It's unclear still to this day. Wow. So he fought a lot of wealth. But maybe he wasn't who knows? Yeah. Meanwhile, before the search of the estate uncovered the list evidence when they still were investigating this. July 7 1984 31 days after the disappearance of Ron Levin, BBC member Ben dosti brings in his friend Reza as lemania and he says you know this is going to be a new member of the club potential new member and he says that his father Rose's father has millions of dollars his father is 56 year old headache I'm gonna say that name wrong I'm so sorry but headache as the mania Okay, and he had $30 million in the bank. He had acquired it from working for the Shah of Iran. And he was currently living in exile in San Francisco Bay in the San Francisco Bay area since the 1979. Iranian Revolution, and Wilma Shah was no longer in power. And his current like job basically was like surreptitiously working remotely, to help overthrow the new leader in Iran. Legit, okay. And he's just sitting on $30 million of cash while he does this. Reza hates his dad very publicly. He hates his dad for multiple reasons. It seems like it's because like he has all this wealth, and he's not doing anything for his kid about it. And his kid clearly wants to be affluent and wealthy. I mean, he's joining the billionaire boys club and talking about his dad's $30 million. So Joe hunt sees this as a great opportunity. Joe hunt and Ben, the guy who brought Reza in come up with a kidnapping plan. So Joe, Ben Reza, Jim, and another early BBC member who we haven't really heard much of yet named Dean Carney. Okay, plan and abduction in Northern California. They figure if they kidnap Reza, his father, and he disappears because he had all of these, like strange dealings and his like, issues with Iran. Right that they would everyone would just assume it was related to that and they could just get away with it like no problem. So their plan is to kidnap him, take him to their Bellaire house and sign over all of his funds, and then kill him. His son is involved in this okay. So July 30 1984, Joe and Ben dressed up as UPS workers. They were originally going to dress up as policemen But Joe had told them that quote, police attract more attention than delivery boys. They go to got headshots house, and they have a trunk that they're delivering. It has his address on it wrapped in like paper and stuff. Okay, and they go into the house, he lets them in. And they The plan is to click chloroform him and knock them out, put him in the trunk. And Jim is the one who's supposed to do this. Remember, Jim is the guy who was posing his love. And before he's the security guard. So he couldn't do it. He got overwhelmed either by the smell of the chloroform or the situation. So Joe does it Joe grabs the rag, chloroform, headache, and they put him in the trunk. And they load him it with it load the trunk into the load the trunk that he's in into the trunk of a car, that canyon and then are driving. Okay? Reza isn't like separate Mercedes and the other two are in a separate car as well. Okay, so Dean and Ben are driving the truck that have the trunk in it. And they start to get frightened while they're driving, because the guy wakes up in the trunk, and he's freaking out. And he's like begging and begging to be let out. And so the plan was when this happens, because they knew was long drive, that they were supposed to like pull over somewhere like discreet, take him out and chloroform him again, and then handcuff him and put him in the car. They couldn't do it. They they got too scared, they were nervous. And so what they do instead is they first poke holes in the trunk with a screwdriver so that he can breathe. Okay, but he's screaming so much. And it's scaring them, because Dean is paranoid that someone's going to hear him even though they're driving in the car, but they're not the brightest people anyway, obviously. And they didn't plan this out very well. And I don't think they realized the magnitude of what they were doing. So in a panic, he tapes, the holes shot on the trunk, and then the man suffocates to death inside the trunk. It's all there on the way up there. So they get him to the house the baler house where they're supposed to be like getting him to sign away his funds, and he's already dead. So the plan is obviously not going according to what they talked about. But Joe is like, no worries, we have a secondary plan since he's already dead because they were going to kill him anyway, so Joe's not worried. He says that, since Reza is his eldest son, maybe they can get him as the conservator of his like estate and stuff like that. And then they can get the money that way. What they weren't planning on was that had a yacht was reported missing, literally the next day by his girlfriend. And when Reza meets with her to try to like, you know, save face and oh, yeah, whatever. Right? Like throw her off the site. Exactly. He uses past tense to describe his father the whole time, and says to her, like, oh, you know, he loved you. And she's not an idiot. So she gets really suspicious really quick. She tells the authorities about it. And they begin looking into the ankle that maybe he's not missing. Maybe he's that and that maybe Rosa had something to do with it. At the same time, Jim Pittman is telling the lawyer of the BBC that they killed Reza And that hasn't been about the whole plan and he's like bragging about it. Wow, the lawyer for some unknown reason, because I guess it could have been protected after underprivileged I'm imagining, he decides to report it to the FBI. Reza in the meantime is denied just conservatorship. And it turns out, it didn't even matter, because the wealth that he thought his father had was imaginary. He had low all of his money when he fled from Iran to America. He was penniless.

Enn Burke:

This whole story is people robbing people who don't have money in the Yes,

Matt Molinaro:

yeah. And it's never clear whether resident believed his father had money, and he just wasn't aware of it. Or whether he actually knew as my dad didn't have money and wanted like revenge against his father and wanted Him dead anyway, because everybody knows he hated him. It's rarely ever really clear. But at the end of the day, none of it mattered. So Joe, Dean and Jim are arrested on September 28 1984. For charges of conspiracy, robbery and first degree murder for the killing of Levin. And for conspiracy, kidnapping and first degree murder in the murder of headache. Okay, Reza and Ben are arrested for a second degree murder, conspiracy and kidnapping of headache residence father, now wow. February 3 1987. Hunt, Joe hunt stands trial for the murder of Levin, where they don't have a body still. Okay, so prior to this, since Dean was facing the death penalty, he decided to strike a deal for full immunity for everything. Okay, in exchange for his full cooperation and testimony. And then he enters the witness protection program. And he on the stand, he tells everything, every detail of every dealing in the BBC about both murders and he says that he knew exactly where heading outs body was he is able to lead authorities to find the body and they do they find his remains off like a cliff in the Canyon area. And it's unclear it's sort of grazed over but I think they burned his body because they only find bones and fragments. Okay. And he says that this is also relevant isn't buried. And by the way, that rudimentary map that they find in Levin's house is very close to where they find headshots body. But they never find Levin's body just by Wow, I'm saying I know exactly where we buried it. They go there, they never find it.

Enn Burke:

Oh, that's just like the episode. Yeah.

Matt Molinaro:

Yeah. When they question Joe on the stand about his notes that they found in Lebens House about the whole plan. He says it was just a joke. He says this was all for the ruse like they were pretending that they had had a meeting and about the mafia hit. And so he was taking these notes while he was there, saying that Jim had told him like this was the plan and what they were gonna do to him if he didn't cooperate. So it was all just part of the ruse it wasn't an actual plan. He says that during the whole ruse Ron didn't even believe it. Ron live and didn't believe the whole mafia angle. And he said to them, don't calm the con man. Despite this, many members of the BBC, including Jeff Raymond, Dean Carney who we know, went to the witness protection program, I'm gonna name a man named Steve tag, lionetti. They all testify against him on the stand and say that quote, he said that since two or $300,000, wasn't going to solve this problem. He wasn't going to waste too much time trying to get that money. But he said that he was going to get around to killing live and one of these days. Other members testify against him. And then the defense hinges on the fact that there's nobody so nobody, no crime, they're saying that he is a con man. And this is his last con, he disappeared. And the defense calls a few witnesses. Mainly there's two, one whose name is Carmen controller. And then there's another male witness who they didn't name. But both of these people say that they've seen Levin since his alleged murder, and they give like around LA, they have no idea who he is before this, and they give detailed descriptions of how they saw him where they where he was, and they don't have anything to gain from this. So they seem very credible. The jury regardless finds hunt guilty in the love and trial. And on July 6 1987, he is sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole. Wow. Jim had a separate trial for this. And his defense attorney highlights basically how unsavory of a character 11 was how he conned everybody. And they present Jim as sort of like an unwitting scapegoat by Joe hunt that he was basically conned into doing everything and he was just trying to like, do what he was told he had no he wasn't involved in the murders. He was involved in some of like the shady dealings but he was just you know But the worst thing he did was the hotel thing. Right. And at the end of his trial, there's actually a hung jury leaning towards acquittal. So they retry him in 1987. October. So several months later, and he gets another hung jury. Wow. So the prosecution realizes that it's going to be really hard to get him on anything. And so they just had to plead him out. He pleads guilty to accessory after the fact and some concealed weapons charges. And he gets time served for three and a half years, because that's the time he's been waiting for the trials to happen. Ran, he's out. That's it. But well, we'll get more on him in just a minute. Okay, April 14 1992. So this is several years later, Hunt is going to go to trial for the murder of s lemania. Okay, and he decides to represent himself. You know how this usually goes. The trial lasts about eight months, there are over 120 Witnesses called. And while this usually doesn't go, Well, this time, there's a jury deadlock in favor of acquittal. Wow, in a shocking turn of events, eight to four in favor of acquittal for Joe hunt. That's why Yeah, so there's a mess trial and prosecution, prosecution, prosecution. Prosecution knows he's already got a life charge with no possibility of parole in LA. And so they decide they're not going to pursue this anymore, and they did dismiss the charges against him. Wow. This means also, that Jim is also dismissed from the charge. So he never even goes to trial for estimating as murder. Whoa. Now remember, I said more on him in a minute? Yeah. The next year in 1993. Jim gives a televised interview. In the interview, you can find it online too. He brags and confesses that he did kill 11. He buried him with hunt. Everything was true. It was all a scam. It was all because of the scam that that he did against him. It was all revenge and to get money. What he confesses to everything because he knows he can't get retried because of double jeopardy. And he tells them that they'll lead them to the body. They bring them up to the canyon where he says they buried leaven, they do not find the body.

Enn Burke:

weird, very weird.

Matt Molinaro:

Ben And Reza, the other two people who were going to be convicted of second degree murder are charged with it. They get convicted of second degree murder and conspiracy. And they both get life sentences without parole. However, 10 years after their sentencing, the conviction is overturned. Because the jury in that case, had heard prejudicial tape recording evidence that was never admitted into evidence. So they get out on a technicality. The prosecution wants to retry them. But they can't do it without the cooperation of Dean who isn't witness protection. And he refuses to reveal his new identity. And he doesn't want to get involved in any way. He wants to completely cut ties from everything that happens. And he is allegedly a licensed attorney now, but nobody knows his identity. So here are some updates on the case. Levin's body has still never been found. Wow. So the theory still exists among some people that he's still alive out there. The motive for him disappearing, in addition to like stealing all this money from the BBC, was that he had a court date that he was going to be tried for grand theft. That was right around the time he went missing. Okay, and there are six people that came forward after the trial that have said they've seen Lebanon, multiple places. There are the Gerards, who said they seen him in Greece in 1987. They were friends with him. And they said they saw him from afar at a restaurant and he just he just left when they made eye contact. There's a man who is a funeral director named Ivan Werner in 1985 in LA, and he said he he saw Levin at a funeral. And in 1987 in Brentwood, a maitre d named Nadia Ghalib, who used to see Lebanon as a nightly customer said she saw him like across the street at his car. And at the time, she had no idea he was even like dead or missing because you just didn't keep up with that type of thing. And it wasn't until like she was approached by someone saying like, Oh, have you heard about this very public trial? And she's like, That's so weird. I just saw him he's not missing. So that's all they have to say that he might not be missing. But I watched a episode of a show called Marcia Clark investigates the first 48 Marcia Clark from the OJ Simpson trial. Yeah. Great episode by the way, I don't know if I guess it's a series she has but she basically poses that none of these seem very credible. Yeah, be because it would be very unlikely that he would go missing and stay in LA, right. And even the people who said they saw him every person who said they saw him. It links up around when he was like in the news. And she's like, you know, when you see something in the news about a blue convertible involved in the crime, then you see blue everywhere. Yeah, so that's kind of her theory. In 1997, four years after Jim Pittman did that interview where he confesses to everything. He ends up dying of kidney failure at the age of 44. In 2018, Joe Hunt who is still in prison to this day, he tries to have his sentence commuted and changed to letting him have possibility for parole. In 2018, he's 59. So now he would be what 62 or 63. Okay, and he says, quote, I see other men similarly situated getting commutations and figured why not me too. So now he's, he's citing his like stellar prison record. He does volunteer work of religious services. He's got good behavior. And he he works with other inmates to help them with their legal work to help them like get court forms filled out and write their briefs and whatever. Yeah, his application also discusses his embrace of Yogi and meditation culture, and a brand of Eastern religion that he is involved with practice by the Ananda Church of Self Realization. Great. He says, was I a catastrophic, world class Jackass in 1984, no doubt, but it's not right that I get to be the garbage dump of everybody's peccadilloes. Okay, he has a book that he wrote in jail. And it's on his website because he has a website for like Free Joe hunts that his family has out for him. It says Joe invites you to enjoy a free copy of his novel blue Dharma, the story of annihilate on Ayala, or something like that. And he co authored it with a cellmate and it recounts the struggle between good and evil. This book is complete with demons, elves and other mythical creatures. Oh, great, hard pass. Yeah. Ben dosti is a pastor now. And he teaches for harvest Fresno church where he lives with his wife, Sonia, and they have two kids. And I'm just going to read a quote from a website about him just to show you the kind of life he's living now. It says Ben, Ben and Sonia have two instruments of sanctification. Their two boys, Gideon and Luke, the yeesh. Reza, the other player on all of this, she seems to have had a really dicey future. There's two charges against him I was able to find past his acquittal because remember, he got out after 10 years of technicality in and there's very little information about how all of this turns out but in 2002, he was found with cocaine, heroin and hypothetic hypodermic syringes in his possession at a traffic stop. And he was able to like push this trial all the way to 2019 on technicalities and stuff. Okay, no word on what happened with that. And also, he was a taxi driver, and he hit and killed a pedestrian in San Francisco's tenderloin neighborhood on August 11 2012, named Edmund cupola.

Enn Burke:

That's one of my biggest fears driving is like accidentally pedestrian. Just the thought of that happening is so scary. Yeah,

Matt Molinaro:

the guy was just walking in a crosswalk. 38 years old. And he was there was a manhunt out for him at that point. No word on what happened with that either, though, so hopefully he paid for his crimes. And the whole story, the billionaire voice club has been like immortalized in many different media's there was a TV movie that won awards for it was nominated for Emmy Awards, I guess I should say, for the actress Judd Nelson and Brian McNamara who played hunt and Kearney. There was a podcast called Hollywood and crime that's very popular that does a big portion on the billionaire's boys club. Yeah, there was a movie that came out in 2018. Called the billionaire's boys club. And it was supposed to be this big blockbuster hit wasn't but it starred Kevin Spacey. It was one year after everything happened with his disgusting history. Yeah, yeah. So it was a huge box office flop. He was playing Ron Levin. And that is the story of the billionaire boys club. The murder of Ron the alleged murder or disappearance of Ron Levin and the murder of Hedionda as lemania

Enn Burke:

Wow. Not wild that's

Matt Molinaro:

crazy. Isn't it? An insane story? That just never. I mean, I can see why it was made into a movie. And I could see why it would have been probably good if it was made with different people. Yeah. Wow. Yeah. And Joe Han is still saying he's innocent still saying everything was you know, he has no idea why these people put, we're all against him. They're all their own motivations, because they were probably involved. And he says that Levin is alive somewhere still. All right, but you know, I mean, I think it's very unlikely, so

Enn Burke:

doesn't sound very probable. No.

Matt Molinaro:

So what do you think about that?

Enn Burke:

I think that story is just wild. Yeah, you did a great job covering. Thank you. For how I would rate the episode. I did not think this was a very good episode. But I kind of liked the character that was the foil to stone, so I'll give it a I'll give it a C for watchability.

Matt Molinaro:

Okay. I'm actually gonna give it a B plus, because I also liked that character. And I really liked the sort of departure from the normal loan order format, where we, you know, first half is last second half is order. Yeah, I enjoyed getting into the order part and having stone be like the main character rather than Logan. Yeah, true. I'm gonna give it a B plus.

Enn Burke:

And then for how it dealt with it. I mean, gosh, it sounds like they did a lot of things. It sounds like they did a good job of kind of picking elements of the case to try to show it. You know, they it sounds like they embellished to the success of the character in kind of representing himself. But I didn't really see any, like, problematic stuff. So I'll give it a b minus for how it dealt with stuff. What about you?

Matt Molinaro:

I'm gonna give it a I'm gonna give it a shot. I'm gonna give an A minus. Wow, I think they did really well, I think they had Yeah, so many elements. I think they were very creative and how they changed it to not be exact but true. Even though they embellished like his success and representing himself, he still did get a hung jury, like that was unheard of that someone who had no law background, was able to get a hung jury representing himself over eight months of testimony against like, what should have been a slam dunk case against him? Yeah, yeah. And the whole like, no body thing. I mean, there were a lot of really similar detail or thing you know, yeah. True. Wow, I had not heard of this at all. And it's such a big, complicated, detailed case. I'm shocked. I'd never heard of it.

Enn Burke:

Yeah, me too, actually. So ripped from the headlines is an indie podcast. And if you enjoy listening to us and think that other folks might, too, the best thing you can do is rate and review our podcast on where whatever platform you're using to listen to our episodes, because that'll help other people find us.

Matt Molinaro:

That's right. And most people try a podcast because friends recommend it. So if you're enjoying our show, please tell a friend.

Enn Burke:

Yes, and our social media is ripped headlines on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, our emails with deadlines. pod@gmail.com We love getting emails, so send us an email.

Matt Molinaro:

And don't forget to check out our website ripped headlines pod.com. There you'll find to our link, you'll find a link to our Patreon which has some great perks. And you get the joy of supporting one of your favorite podcasts.

Enn Burke:

Yes, and a percentage of our Patreon proceeds get donated to the Equal Justice Initiative. So by supporting us you are supporting positive change in the world.

Matt Molinaro:

And if you'd like you can buy us a coffee at buy me a coffee.com backslash n and Matt,

Enn Burke:

or Yeah, I think that's a forward slash. Thank you for listening to read from the headlines where you get the facts and some fiction.

Matt Molinaro:

We'll see you next week and until then, stay out of the headlines.

Enn Burke:

Bye bye