Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

The Question That Outlived Art Nadel

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

The Question That Outlived Art Nadel

Article excerpt

It can't undo the devastating financial destruction suffered by those he robbed, nor was his punishment even close to adequate.

But it is something, at least, that convicted Ponzi operator Arthur Nadel spent his last three years in prison. That bad ending, as a felon who would never go home again, was a bit of justice, the best our system could do with an old and failing man who was supposed to serve 14 years but just didn't have it in him.

Yet whatever deterrent value that may have had for future could- be Ponzi schemers contemplating ways to steal the life savings of others, it is diminished by the apparent determination of federal prosecutors to quietly let Nadel's partners off the hook.

Neil and Christopher Moody reaped $42 million from that same $162 million scheme for years, federal court documents show. Nadel, a former lawyer disbarred years earlier for another fraud, could never have pulled off the Sarasota-based investment scam, or kept it going so long, without the salesmanship and confident assurances the father-and-son team provided to duped investors that all was going splendidly, the documents show.

The Moodys still claim they didn't know any better.

But even if I pretend to believe that claim, it is still clear that investors believed the Moodys were wisely and responsibly shepherding the investment capital they were entrusted with, when, in fact, their primary role was only appearing to do so while Nadel did the stock picking.

While unsupervised, Nadel was busy losing all the millions that he was not stealing or giving to the father and son.

It took years to lose and misspend it all with the Moodys bringing in so many new investments, and the Moodys collected more than $40 million as their cut along the way.

In early 2010, a year after the fraud was exposed, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed civil charges against the Moodys, but I thought the wording was too vague and criticized the SEC for it. …

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