in

Known As Crazy Eddie, He Was The King Of Retail Electronics During The 1970s And 1980s Until His Massive Financial Fraud Scheme Landed Him Behind Bars

bravissimos - stock.adobe.com - illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

In the mid-1980s, Crazy Eddie became entangled in one of the largest fraud scandals in United States history.

The scheme persisted for 18 years. If you’ve never heard of Crazy Eddie, also known as Eddie Antar, he was the face and founder of the company Crazy Eddie Inc., a chain of consumer electronics stores with locations throughout the northeastern U.S.

The company gained notoriety in the 1970s and ’80s due to flashy and aggressive advertising campaigns.

Eddie was featured in these commercials, where he portrayed a wild and eccentric persona, drawing customers in with promises of “insane” deals and discounts on electronics. Back then, business was booming.

But behind their apparent success, something darker was lurking in the shadows. In the mid-1980s, Eddie Antar and several of his family members were accused of running a massive financial scam.

Since day one, skimming cash sales had been part of the business plan. Managers were given low salaries and were compensated by under-the-table cash payments. Additionally, they inflated the company’s earnings and manipulated the share price.

Furthermore, Eddie and his family members came up with a plan they called the Panama Pump. It involved taping bundles of cash to their bodies and flying to Israel to deposit the money into a bank account there.

The money was transferred to bank accounts in Panama and then to the U.S. They laundered the money back into the company, which helped make Crazy Eddie’s revenues and profits look like they were growing.

Eventually, Eddie was no longer able to keep up with his fraudulent business practices. In December 1986, he cashed in millions of dollars worth of stock and resigned.

bravissimos – stock.adobe.com – illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

Sign up for Chip Chick’s newsletter and get stories like this delivered to your inbox.

1 of 2