Affluenza: 10 Rich People Who Got Away With Horrible Crimes
Martin Joel Erzinger
Hedge fund manager Martin Joel Erzinger was driving to work in his Mercedes in 2010 when he struck a bicyclist from behind. Instead of stopping to help the man lying bleeding on the road, he took off immediately to seek help for his luxury car that had been dented in the accident.
The Colorado District Attorney admitted to taking Erzinger’s wealth into account when he offered him a plea bargain for a misdemeanor instead of a felony offense, since the felony would need to be disclosed to his boss and clients. By only charging him with a misdemeanor offense, the Colorado justice system shows that they care more about the offender’s quality of life than the victim’s.
Nowadays, you don’t even have to be famous in order to get off light in court — you just have to be associated with famous people.
Top real estate agent Kate Meckler, who regularly brokered multi-million-dollar apartment deals for New York celebrities, was caught stealing $1,700 worth of clothes from Saks Fifth Avenue. Instead of being charged with grand larceny and possession of stolen goods, she cut a deal to be charged with disorderly conduct, and was ordered to spend five days doing community service in a soup kitchen.
It’s not clear why Meckler stole in the first place, but hopefully her time in the court of public opinion will discourage her from stealing again.
Anyone who grew up in the ’90s remembers Ty Beanie Babies fondly. By the time they stopped being popular, H. Ty Warner, the founder and CEO of Ty, Inc., was worth around $2 billion.
Instead of paying taxes, Warner chose to hide millions of dollars in an offshore account. He avoided taxes for five years, until the government caught up with him in 2013. Instead of sentencing him to the 46 to 57 months of jail time that is recommended by US Sentencing Guidelines, Warner was sentenced to two years probation and 50 hours of community service. The sentence was so lenient that the US Department of Justice has intervened to advocate for stricter punishment.