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October 5, 2009 12:46 PM

Marc Dreier Gets His "60 Minutes" Close Up

Posted by Brian Baxter

Marc Dreier's prime-time appearance on 60 Minutes was, by his own admission, not what he'd once imagined his TV debut would be.

"I thought if someone ever interviewed me on a program such as yours, it would be for something good I've done, not something humiliating I've done," Dreier told CBS's Steve Kroft Sunday in his first televised interview.

The so-called mini-Madoff told the 60 Minutes correspondent how he misrepresented clients like real estate billionaire Sheldon Solow in order to scam hedge funds and other investors out of an estimated $400 million. Dreier needed the money to finance his law firm, structured as a one-partner business, a model he defended on air.

"The idea for the law firm was very viable, but it needed much more money to get it off the ground than I anticipated, much more," Dreier said. "It wasn't well thought out. I had a good idea, but a very bad business plan."

Dreier at times seemed emotionless during the interview, but when pressed by Kroft on his apparent lack of compassion for his actions, Dreier said that he was doing his best to control his emotions and not break down. (The American Lawyer's Alison Frankel profiled Dreier and his meltdown in the March issue of The American Lawyer.)

In July U.S. district court judge Jed Rakoff sentenced Dreier to 20 years in prison for offering false promissory notes to further what essentially became a $400 million Ponzi scheme. In doing so, Dreier wasn't the first, and surely isn't the last, to take the easy way towards financial success.

On Friday, a Detroit man was indicted by federal prosecutors on 59 counts of mail fraud related to a decade-long, $200 million Ponzi scheme.

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