History of con-artists may explain
why they are such crooks and liars.
Investors in Jeopardy Around This Conman
03/07 - William Smoak "Doak" Fairey Jr. was always looking
for the big payoff.
When a winning appearance on the television game show "Jeopardy" failed
to give him lasting wealth, Fairey turned to gambling casinos, tall
tales about working at the White House and, eventually, crime.
The 50-year-old Fairey, a longtime North Myrtle Beach resident who
moved to Sarasota, Fla., in 1998, was sentenced Feb. 16 in Spartanburg
to 21 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to taking $182,000
from investors in a fraudulent business scheme he promoted nationwide.
Fairey, a former three-time "Jeopardy" winner, already
was serving a four-year stint at an S.C. prison for a conviction
in 2004 of obtaining money by false pretenses.
Fairey is appealing the 2004 conviction and will have a hearing
Wednesday in the S.C. Court of Appeals in Columbia.
His signed confession in the federal fraud case, however, means
Fairey will remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshal's Service regardless
of Wednesday's outcome.
Fairey's intelligence and amazing recall of trivia were overshadowed
by lies and a get-rich-quick compulsion, former friends and associates
say, and it was those flaws that led to his undoing.
"He was extremely obsessed with money," said Steve Beverly,
a professor at Union University in Jackson, Tenn., and a victim of
Fairey's most recent scam.
Beverly operates a Web site devoted to television game shows and
has interviewed hundreds of winners, including Fairey.
"Out of all those people, maybe four or five were as obsessed
with money as Doak Fairey," Beverly said. "He's the only
one who was obsessed enough to start ripping people off, though."
Beverly's Web site - tv gameshows.net - is a labor of love for the
broadcasting professor and self-proclaimed game show nut, who has
more than 2,400 videos of game shows stored in his attic.
"I do it for fun," Beverly said. "It's hard to make
any money with a Web site."
Fairey, however, saw the potential for profit and, without Beverly's
knowledge, made the Web site the centerpiece of his latest scam.
Fairey could not be contacted, and his wife, a Sarasota school teacher,
did not respond to e-mails seeking comment. There is no telephone
listing for William or Susan Fairey in the Sarasota area.
Beverly said Fairey apparently learned about the Web site in 2000,
when the two men appeared on the ABC television network show "20/20" as
part of a news segment on game show contestants.
"The night that show aired I got an e-mail from someone in
South Carolina asking how they could get in touch with Doak because
he owed them $25,000," Beverly said. "I thought it was
just some crank e-mail. If I had known then what I know now, I would
have gone to the ninth and 10th degrees to help that guy."
According to a federal indictment, Fairey forged documents in September
2001 to make it appear as if he, not Beverly, owned the game show
Fairey then forged more documents to make it appear as if Sony Corp.
was negotiating to buy the Web site, according to the indictment.
Fairey then solicited money from investors in several states, sending
them copies of the forged documents and saying he could get them
in on the ground level of a multimillion-dollar deal.
Fairey convinced 18 people to send him $182,000 over the next three
years, even though he had no relationship to the Web site and no
rights to sell it.
"I found out something suspicious was going on in 2004 when
I got a call from a guy in California wanting to know how he could
get in touch with Doak," Beverly said. "He was another
game show contestant who had invested a good bit of money in Doak's
scam, and he wanted his money back."
Beverly started investigating the California man's claims and learned
there were more than a dozen people who thought the game show Web
site was about to make them rich, including one of Fairey's college
friends who had invested $25,000.
"Ultimately, everyone who had been involved with the scam starting
talking to each other, and we were able to get the federal authorities
involved," Beverly said.
Fairey was indicted in April and pleaded guilty five months later
to fraud. He could have received a prison sentence of up to 20 years
and a fine of as much as $250,000.
Beverly said the FBI told him one of Fairey's motives for the fraud
was a mountain of gambling debts.
One example of those gambling debts: a $12,500 civil judgment the
Hollywood Casino in Tunica, Miss., obtained against Fairey in November
Fairey was desperate to get on one of the big-jackpot game shows,
Beverly said, and in 1999 he nearly made it to the hot seat opposite
Regis Philbin on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire." Fairey
lost to another contestant in the fastest-finger round and later
complained to the game show's producers that he was cheated by a
Beverly said he was disappointed with Fairey's 21-month sentence,
followed by three years of probation.
"It's an awfully light sentence for someone facing their second
fraud conviction," said Beverly, a former television news anchor
in Wilmington, N.C.
How it began
Fairey's initial claim to fame came during his three-day winning
streak on "Jeopardy" in July 1988. Fairey earned $33,200
on the game show and wrote about his television experience for The
Sun News, calling it "an adrenaline rush."
Fairey took some of the money he earned on "Jeopardy" and
started a computer consulting and desktop publishing company, called
The Support Group, in Myrtle Beach. He eventually moved the business
to his North Myrtle Beach home where he worked while wife, Susan,
taught at North Myrtle Beach Primary School.
Fairey's former friends and associates say he never got over his "Jeopardy" appearance,
or the thrill of making a quick buck.
"He would come to my home to fix my computer and instead of
fixing it he'd be in the back room playing 'Jeopardy' on the Internet," said
Scott Rudisill, a former Little River businessman who once owned
the Sea Screamer speedboat attraction.
Fairey grew up in the Upstate. His father, William Sr., was an Orangeburg
veterinarian and his mother, Peggy, was the former society editor
for the town's newspaper. Fairey's father died in 1995 and his mother
died last year.
Fairey told The Sun News in 1997 that his father nicknamed him "Doak" after
former Heisman Trophy winner Doak Walker.
"My father just liked the name," Fairey said.
Fairey showed great intellectual promise as a child, but he told
The Sun News he was more interested in trivia and pop culture than
"I never let school get in the way of my education," Fairey
said. "If I had a math book and a Reader's Digest in front of
me, I wouldn't open the math book until I had read every article
in Reader's Digest."
Fairey attended Clemson University in the late 1970s, where he was
a student athletic trainer, but left the school in 1979. He moved
to the Grand Strand that year and finished his degree at CCU in May
1980. Fairey and his wife were married one month later.
Fairey made an unsuccessful run for Horry County Council's District
No. 2 in 1989, saying the area needed a "can do" councilman
who would represent young working families. Fairey, a Democrat, didn't
fare well in the Republican-heavy district, capturing 23 percent
of the votes. While the loss put an end to Fairey's public office
aspirations, he remained fascinated by politics.
Early financial problems
Fairey's obsession to return to televised game shows paralleled
the late-1990s and early-2000s resurgence of the genre, led by the
popular "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire."
Fairey's obsession also paralleled his own growing financial problems.
In 1991, Fairey defaulted on a loan with The Anchor Bank in Myrtle
Beach. The bank obtained a $5,104 civil judgment against him the
In 1992, Coastal Federal Bank repossessed Fairey's automobile and
obtained a $14,369 judgment against him.
In 1998, Claridge at Park Place Inc. obtained a $7,585 civil judgment
against Fairey for another unpaid loan.
Fairey also settled a foreclosure lawsuit in 1993 before that case
went to trial.
Even as his debts were mounting, Fairey was telling friends that
good fortune was just around the corner.
Fairey claimed he had been interviewed three times in the 1990s
for jobs at the White House, in part because of his supposed connections
with President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore Jr.
Fairey later claimed to be a campaign staffer for Gore's presidential
run in 1999 and that Gore promised him a government job if he won
Federal campaign records show Fairey contributed $2,500 to Clinton
and Gore between 1995 and 1999, but there is no indication either
politician knew who he was. A Gore spokeswoman did not respond to
an e-mail seeking comment about Fairey.
The Internal Revenue Service charged Fairey with tax fraud in 2003,
and court documents from that case show Fairey volunteered for the
Gore campaign but earned his living as director of human resources
for TruGreen Lawn Care in Sarasota.
Fairey worked for TruGreen in 1998 and 1999, when he was fired.
Fairey sued the lawn care company for wrongful discharge and won
a $100,000 settlement, which he used to help start a marketing consultant
company. That venture attracted one client, court records show, which
paid Fairey $36,000 over a two-year period.
The IRS charged Fairey with making $76,500 in fraudulent deductions
on his 1999 and 2000 federal tax returns, saying Fairey used forged
documents to back up some of the deductions.
The agency won its court hearing last year. Fairey and his wife,
who was charged with negligence but not fraud, are appealing the
Building a scheme
Fairey's stories about working at the White House were so convincing
he was able to talk Rudisill, the former Little River businessman,
into giving him a $25,000 loan in 1996.
"Supposedly, Al Gore had promised him a job as a liaison at
the White House, and he needed to send the money that day to seal
the deal," Rudisill said. "Stupid me, I gave him the money."
Rudisill had hired Fairey in the summer of 1996 to do some programming
work on his computer. That work included entering financial figures
into an accounting spreadsheet.
"He knew I had just gotten a $300,000 check for a boat I sold," Rudisill
Rudisill said Fairey told him he was selling his computer business
for $500,000 and that he could repay the loan within 90 days. That
deadline came and went without payment, so Rudisill arranged to meet
Fairey one morning at the ticket counter of his Sea Screamer attraction.
"He didn't show up," Rudisill said. "So I called
him, and he told me his daughter had been deathly ill and he'd been
at the hospital with her. When I told him I'd come by his house to
get the money, he told me to stay away because his daughter had been
Rudisill said he spent years trying to convince local law enforcement
to pursue criminal charges. Fairey had moved to Florida by the time
an indictment was issued in June 2001.
Fairey represented himself in the case and spent three years throwing
up legal roadblocks to a trial.
Fairey was tried and convicted of obtaining money by false pretenses
on July 21, 2004. Fairey did not show up for the trial. He was sentenced
in absentia to four years in state prison followed by four years
of probation. He also was ordered to pay back the $25,000 when he
Fairey's appeal of that conviction is scheduled to be heard Wednesday
by the S.C. Court of Appeals in Columbia.
Following his trial, a fugitive warrant was issued for Fairey, and
he was arrested in Florida in October 2004. Fairey was sent back
to South Carolina, and he spent the next two years at the Evans Correctional
Institution in Bennettsville.
Evasions and excuses
Even while he was fighting Rudisill in court, Fairey was using his "Jeopardy" and
game show connections to run a real estate scam, according to court
documents in Florida.
Leszek Pawlowicz had been another guest with Fairey on the "20/20" television
segment about game show contestants in 2000.
Pawlowicz, once dubbed "the Michael Jordan of game shows" by
The New York Times, has won more than $200,000 on game shows such
as "Jeopardy," and "Win Ben Stein's Money."
"Doak and I were friends, or so I thought," said Pawlowicz,
a Flagstaff, Ariz., computer consultant. Pawlowicz said he spoke
with Fairey on several occasions between 1999 and 2004 and met with
him a few times when Fairey visited Las Vegas.
Pawlowicz said Fairey convinced him in 2002 to invest $35,000 into
some Florida property that he claimed was prime for development.
"He told me he had formed a real estate partnership and one
of the investors was a state senator from Florida," Pawlowicz
said. "It all looked good."
Pawlowicz said he eventually learned that the state senator Fairey
mentioned, Mike Bennett, wasn't really involved in the purported
land deal. Pawlowicz also learned there was no impending development
and no land and that all of the money he invested had been spent
"It was a whole soap opera of excuses from him," Pawlowicz
said. "He even faked a heart attack to put me off a little while."
Pawlowicz traveled to Florida in 2004 to confront Fairey and try
to get law enforcement to press criminal charges.
"When I told him [Fairey] to give me my money or I'd go to
the authorities, he just laughed at me," Pawlowicz said. "I
quickly discovered why he was laughing. I couldn't get anywhere with
Pawlowicz said the FBI told him law enforcement wasn't interested
in fraud cases unless more than $100,000 was involved. So Pawlowicz
took his case to a St. Petersburg, Fla., television station, which
broadcast a report about Fairey and the land deal.
When police learned about the television report, Pawlowicz said,
they started to investigate Fairey and found out about his outstanding
warrant in the Rudisill case. That's when Florida police arrested
Fairey and sent him back to South Carolina to serve his prison sentence.
Pawlowicz also filed a civil suit against Fairey in July 2004, but
said he doesn't expect to ever see his money. Pawlowicz dropped the
lawsuit in 2006.
"I figure I have zero chance of getting my money, and life
is too short to worry about things like that," Pawlowicz said.
Beverly, the game show Web site owner, said he also is ready to
move forward, but he worries about what will happen when Fairey is
released from prison.
"I'm not convinced that he will ever learn his lesson," Beverly
said. "I hope for his family's sake that he has changed, but
I doubt it. When he gets out in less than two years, who's to say
what he's going to do next."
David Wren - (Myrtle Beach) Sun News
Time Runs Out for Investment Scammer - Takes
Joel Wallerstein parked his Land Rover outside the Omni Hotel in
South Austin and rented a room for the night.
In Room 218, the 46-year-old father of three laid out notes to his
He wrote to his wife, Randee, a dynamo at raising money on Austin's
black-tie philanthropy circuit. He wrote to his two college-age daughters
and to his 23-year-old son, whom Wallerstein had recently bought
a Ferrari and a half-million-dollar house near his own, on one of
the toniest streets on Austin's western fringe.
By May 2006, after decades of unscrupulous business dealings that
left a string of court liens and judgments against him, Wallerstein
had backed himself into a corner he couldn't escape.
Wallerstein, who stood 6 feet 1 inch and had perfect white teeth,
has been described by a former associate as someone who always
took pains to appear wealthy and successful. He used that image — the
nice clothes, the nice house, the nice cars — to court investors
for what would become his biggest score, according to a lawsuit.
Then the money flowed like never before.
By the time he checked into the Omni that night, Wallerstein had
a collection of luxury cars, including a $160,000 Aston Martin. His
wife had a 7-carat diamond ring. They were regulars at the charity
balls and galas that draw Austin's wealthy philanthropists.
But lawyers for the life insurance companies that had invested millions
of dollars in Wallerstein's arcade game leasing company were closing
In lawsuits filed later, the insurance companies said they suspected
that Wallerstein and his father, Irving Wallerstein of Dallas, had
lied to them about Corporate Amusements Inc., which the father and
son said leased video games to businesses to use as a corporate perk.
Later, another group of investors would claim in a separate lawsuit
that Corporate Amusements "was a sham and a fraud (and) had
conducted little or no business."
In all, investors claim that nearly $17 million showered on what
Irving and Joel Wallerstein represented as a healthy and expanding
business had instead been used to maintain Joel Wallerstein's opulent
Joel Wallerstein's family and closest friends declined to be interviewed
for this story. But details gleaned from business associates, acquaintances
and court documents paint a picture of a man driven to extremes by
a desire for wealth and status.
That Joel Wallerstein defrauded his investors is not contested by
Wallerstein's wife and children, who said through their lawyers and
in court documents that they were unaware of the fraud before he
died. Irving Wallerstein's lawyer said the father was tricked, too,
and thought his son's business was legitimate when he agreed to help
secure investors for Corporate Amusements.
In Room 218, Wallerstein pressed a revolver to his head and pulled
When maintenance workers found his body, the FBI began an investigation.
Meanwhile, the investors who say they were scammed started trying
to answer the question: How had Joel Wallerstein fooled them all?
Image of success
Joel Wallerstein grew up in Dallas, where he attended the elite
St. Mark's School of Texas. He majored in real estate at the University
of Texas, married Randee Berson in 1981 and, after earning a law
degree from St. Mary's University in San Antonio in 1983, joined
his father in the real estate business in Austin.
Irving Wallerstein, now 77, headed a group of investors that bought
the Dobie Center on Guadalupe Street next to the UT campus in the
1980s. By the time Irving Wallerstein led a $10 million renovation
of the building in 1989, Joel Wallerstein had joined him in the student
In addition to the mall and dorms at the Dobie Center, Wallerstein
Property Management owned and managed Madison House and Dexter House
in West Campus. It also developed the Three Points Plaza shopping
center in Pflugerville in the late 1980s.
San Antonio architect Robert Hanley, who lived in Austin at the
time, said he and Joel Wallerstein mixed in the same young professional
crowds in town around that time. Wallerstein, he remembers, always
took pains to portray an image of success.
Even in laid-back, pre-tech-boom Austin, Hanley said, Wallerstein
drove expensive cars and dressed impeccably in stylish and expensive
clothes, always seeming a little more polished than the rest of the
"He tried to associate with the wealthy and the influential
and powerful as a young man in Austin," Hanley said. "He
had an image he was trying to keep up, and these were the people
he could schmooze and draw into his ventures."
Hanley said he designed the renovation of Wallerstein's office at
the Madison House dormitory, but at the end of the project, Wallerstein
refused to pay him about $10,000 of the agreed fee.
Law license lost
It is unclear how much law Wallerstein actually practiced in those
years, but complaints from clients eventually got him bounced from
In petitions filed in court by the State Bar of Texas, Wallerstein
is accused of missing deadlines in a child custody case and, after
taking fees for a real estate case, doing little or no work and then
asking for more money. In another case, according to the petitions,
he was hired to collect a debt and allowed to keep a percentage of
what he collected. He recovered about $4,500 but didn't tell his
client and kept all the money, the petition said.
In 1995, Joel and Randee Wallerstein filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy,
claiming about $240,000 in assets and $750,000 in debts. Their bankruptcy
filing said they owed the IRS $294,000.
Wallerstein's law license was suspended for two years in 1996, and
he was disbarred in 1999 after twice failing to answer the petitions
accusing him of misconduct.
The same year he lost his law license, Wallerstein decided to buy
an arcade in the Dobie Center, which his family no longer owned.
The arcade's owner, John Lairsen, said Wallerstein agreed to pay
about $100,000 in cash at closing and an additional $25,000 spread
over two years.
After they signed the contract in 2000, Lairsen said he didn't receive
a single payment toward the $25,000 balance. When he tracked Wallerstein
down, he said Wallerstein refused to pay and implied that Lairsen
had falsified the arcade's accounting books.
Lairsen sued Wallerstein and won by default after Wallerstein never
answered the lawsuit in court. Lairsen said he eventually got his
As time went on, Lairsen said, he started getting calls from other
people who had entered business deals with Wallerstein and later
found Lairsen's name in court records.
Lairsen said he told them, "I think the guy's a dirtbag, and
I think he does whatever he can to swindle his way through life."
Turning to games
Out of the Dobie arcade, Corporate Amusements was born in 2000.
Joel Wallerstein was president and opened a corporate office on West
A 2001 article in the Austin Business Journal said the company put
arcade-style games, such as pinball, Frogger and Golden Tee, in company
break rooms, executive suites and customer waiting areas as a perk
for employees or customers.
"Games have replaced the water cooler of the '50s," Wallerstein
told the business newspaper.
The article said the company bought games for $1,000 to $5,000 and
rented them out for up to $300 a month, rotating an inventory of
about 600 games.
"It's one more amenity companies can utilize to show employees
the company is a progressive, fun place to work," Wallerstein
was quoted as saying.
In 2002, Wallerstein asked his father to join the business and help
it grow, said Irving Wallerstein's lawyer, Mike Gibson of Dallas.
Joel Wallerstein gave his father balance sheets showing a profitable
business model, and from there, the father's role was strictly to "help
introduce Joel to business contacts," Gibson said.
Their quest for investors is detailed in the two lawsuits filed
in Travis County probate court after Wallerstein's death.
It started with a $500,000 loan from Laredo National Bank in early
2003. Then Irving and Joel Wallerstein asked a Florida investment
banker named Rick Davis to help them recruit more investors. Davis
couldn't be located for this story.
The lawsuits by Liberty Life Insurance Co. and a group of investors
from Floridatell the following story:
Davis came to Austin, where he visited Joel Wallerstein's home and
met his family. He saw the trappings of a successful businessman
and left thinking Wallerstein was from an affluent background with
According to the Florida investors' lawsuit, Davis arranged for
Joel and Irving Wallerstein to meet a group of potential investors
in Miami. At those meetings, Joel Wallerstein told stories of learning
the arcade game business by collecting coins from the family arcade
during college. Irving Wallerstein explained that his job was to
bring in outside capital so Corporate Amusements could expand. He
offered to personally guarantee a few 30-day loans, the lawsuit said.
Joel and Irving Wallerstein showed the investors copies of leases,
financial statements and other records the father and son said proved
that the company was a thriving business that brought in millions
annually but needed more money to grow — documents the lawsuit
says were fakes.
On March 1, 2004, a group of 10 Florida investors loaned Corporate
Amusements $900,000. Later that year, the group loaned another $1.35
Then the father and son found a company with deeper pockets.
It is not clear how they found Liberty Bankers Life Insurance Co.
of Dallas, but the lawsuit filed by Liberty describes a pitch that
was similar to the one in Florida — with Irving and Joel Wallerstein
giving fraudulent financial statements showing Corporate Amusements'
healthy profit margins, according to Liberty's lawsuit.
Mitchell Madden, a lawyer for Liberty, said the father and son also
gave Liberty a list of businesses they said had been leasing games
from Corporate Amusements and their phone numbers. Those numbers,
though, went to people who would pretend to be Corporate Amusements
customers, Madden said. Later, a call center was hired to have its
employees pose as customers while reading from scripts, he said.
Joel Wallerstein "set up an elaborate scheme," Madden
The pitch worked.
In mid-2004, Liberty Bankers Life Insurance Co. loaned Corporate
Amusements $900,000, loans guaranteed by Joel and Irving Wallerstein,
the company's lawsuit said.
In October 2004, Liberty gave Corporate Amusements a revolving line
of credit allowing it to borrow up to $8 million. Liberty agreed
to increase it to $12 million in December 2005,a credit line
that soon would be mostly exhausted.
A month later, Liberty bought $2.5 million of stock in Corporate
Climbing the ladder
All that money seems to have fueled Joel Wallerstein's rise to a
higher rung in Austin society.
Joel and Randee Wallerstein's names were on the roster of givers
and organizers for a variety of causes around town: the Austin Symphony
League, the Jewish Community Association of Austin, the March of
"You name it; they bought tickets," said Karen Olivarri,
a former West Austinite and friend of the couple's. "They were
very good in the community, and they helped a lot of people."
Randee Wallerstein joined committees to organize charity fundraising
galas and posed with Joel for the society page cameras.
"He was quiet; she was the real fireball," said Victoria
Hentrich, an event planner who knew the couple.
Hentrich said the couple moved in the upper rungs of Austin society. "But
it wasn't like the 'A' crowd. I would say it was a wealthy crowd,
but it wasn't like the Dells of the world."
The couple sometimes hosted fundraising events at their home, including
information sessions for the Dell Children's Medical Center of Central
Texas, to which they donated more than $25,000.
Their split-level corner house on Pascal Lane in the Rob Roy subdivision
of western Travis County had a walk-in wine closet, a marble staircase
and a backyard pool with a waterfall and views of the surrounding
hills. Randee Wallerstein's closet, which was about 15 feet by 25
feet, was filled with designer clothes.
In 2005, according to court documents, Wallerstein purchased a $360,000
membership — and paid first-year membership dues of $19,000 — in
Exclusive Resorts, a luxury vacation club that gave him access to
million-dollar vacation homes worldwide.
Seeking more cash
By 2006, Joel and Irving Wallerstein were going back to their investors,
asking for more money, according to the lawsuits.
Liberty Bankers Life Insurance Co. declined, according to Liberty's
lawsuit, but Corporate Amusements received $1.7 million from Liberty's
parent company, American Reserve Life Insurance Co., on April 7,
2006 — just over a month before Wallerstein killed himself.
But by May 5, Liberty officials had grown suspicious.
Joel and Irving Wallerstein had failed to provide audited financial
statements for their business, as required under their loan agreement,
according to Madden. And when Liberty officials called the Corporate
Amusements office, they were told that Larry Spears — who they
thought had been the chief financial officer — had left the
company and disappeared, the company's lawsuit states.
"I don't think Larry Spears ever existed," Madden said.
Efforts to locate Spears for this story were unsuccessful.
On May 12, 2006, Liberty's lawsuit said, the company demanded access
to Corporate Amusements' offices to review books and records. Company
officials told Joel Wallerstein that they would arrive in Austin
on May 16.
Wallerstein agreed, the lawsuit said. But the day before the planned
meeting, Wallerstein sent an e-mail to Liberty President Brad Phillips
saying he needed to cancel the meeting because he needed time to
have the company's records "centralized and put in proper order," the
"I guarantee to you that our records will be in proper order
for your review within 2 weeks," Wallerstein's e-mail said.
Liberty sensed something wrong and stepped up pressure on Wallerstein.
On May 16, Liberty asked a Dallas judge to issue a temporary restraining
order against Corporate Amusements and Joel and Irving Wallerstein
to freeze the company's assets.
Two days later, Joel Wallerstein's body was found at the Omni Hotel.
In court filings, the investors said they concluded that Wallerstein's
company owned no equipment other than some machines in the Dobie
Center and in a small storage facility and did no business of any
kind from 2000 to 2006.
Lawyers for Randee and Irving Wallerstein agree that the company
did little business.
Devastated by loss
Joel Wallerstein's newspaper obituary said his greatest joy was
spending time with his family. His former brother-in-law said Joel's
children have struggled mightily with his death.
Randee Wallerstein's lawyer, Steve Smit of Austin, said she was "devastated
about everyone alleging what Joel did" and is trying to move
on with her life.
Olivarri, the friend of the Wallersteins', said Randee Wallerstein
had been planning a party for the couple's 25th wedding anniversary
at the Driskill Hotel when Joel died.
"It was a terrible, terrible shock for her," Olivarri
Travis County Probate Judge Guy Herman declared this week that the
investors are entitled to $1.2 million in assets held in Wallerstein's
estate and $15.4 million in damages.
In March, Randee Wallerstein and her children agreed to pay the
investors roughly $5 million in cash and assets — which the
investors say was obtained through Joel's fraud — to settle
their portion of the lawsuit, according to Madden, the life insurance
That includes $2.5 million in life insurance proceeds and the title
to the family's house on Pascal Lane. The home is now on the market
for $1.59 million.
The settlement lets Randee Wallerstein keep 15 percent of the profit
from the sale of her home, as well as a 2006 Mercedes CLS 500 worth
about $75,000 and $125,000 in cash and $250,000 in personal property — the
so-called family allowance allowed under Texas law.
Wallerstein's son had to turn over title of the house his father
bought for him and the Ferrari, valued at close to $300,000. All
three of Wallerstein's children must give up their 2006 Land Rovers.
Irving Wallerstein has admitted that because he was a 50 percent
owner of Corporate Amusements, he is partly responsible for his son's
fraud, said Gibson, his lawyer. Irving Wallerstein has moved out
of his house in Dallas and turned over $1.1 million in assets to
the investors, his lawyer said.
In all, Madden said the investors have recovered more than half
of the money they gave to Corporate Amusements and still have legal
action pending against Irving Wallerstein and other parties, including
an accounting firm and the call center.
An FBI spokesman said the agency continues to investigate the Wallerstein
05/07 - By Steven Kreytak AMERICAN-STATESMAN