“Yeah, but how is this the con of a lifetime for Hoffman?”
“It’s all about the players, imagine them sitting at a poker table in a dark room. Across the table from Hoffman is John DeLorean, a head of industry and maverick automaker with an urgent need for money. Next to John is me, the top West Coast cocaine smuggler looking to laundry millions in drug money. Sitting beside Hoffman are FBI agent Valestra and DEA agent Gerald Scotti. Everyone has to put something in the pot except for James T. Behind Hoffman is James Walsh, the federal prosecutor who is the pit boss overseeing the action for the Department of Justice. For Hoffman to con this group it is going to take boldness, a web of lies, and serious talent.”
I ask the obvious, “Why doesn’t Hoffman have any money on the table?”
“Because Stephen,” Morgan laughs, “Hoffman is the dealer. He’s controlling the game and he’s pulling cards from the bottom of the deck.”
Hoffman begins by telling DeLorean that he can get him a $60,000,000 loan to save his company. In return, Hoffman wants 1.8 million dollars as a commission, but he wants it up front. Then he lies to Valestra and Scotti telling them that DeLorean wants to put up two million to buy drugs. Remember, Hoffman is lying to both sides, playing both of them to his advantage. That’s the problem, the agents aren’t running Hoffman—he’s dealing the cards and they’re in the backseat along for the ride.”
“DeLorean couldn’t figure out that he was being conned?”
“Not at first, but when Hoffman drops the hint that his investors are Colombian drug lords, DeLorean wants out. So, Hoffman threatens to kill his kids. DeLorean figuring, he needs some serious backup brings the IRA (Irish Republic Army) to the table. He tells Hoffman that the 1.8 million is coming from the IRA because they want to keep his factory in Northern Ireland open. He’s laying down a serious bluff. Imagine the IRA now standing behind DeLorean. However, Hoffman doesn’t bluff that easily and counters with another threat from his Columbian Cartel. So, imagine them standing behind Hoffman.”
John Z., getting desperate to find a way out says he paid the 1.8 million to the DMC receivers. He claims it kills the deal.”
“Therefore, it should have ended there.”
Morgan shakes his head, “The FBI just needs a new angle. They have DeLorean provide the ZIN numbers of 40 DeLorean cars as collateral for the 1.8 million needed to purchase the cocaine. DeLorean puts the VIN numbers for 40 DeLorean’s on the table because he thought he was pulling off a fast one on this supposed banker—40 DeLoreans at $13,500 each are only worth a half mil, not the 1.8 million dollars seed money for the cocaine.”
“Did John Z. actually come up with the DeLoreans?” I ask.
“He moved 40 of them to his residence in Plumas Valley, so yeah, it was real. However, now the agents want DeLorean to sweeten the pot so he throws in half of the shares to DeLorean Motor Cars.
“Well that’s worth millions,” I surmise.
“Nope, they’re bogus. The DeLorean Motor Car is a hollow shell, the stocks are worth nothing. The real company, DeLorean Motor Company was not yet a part of the deal.”
“Not yet?” I ask.
“Wait for it,” says Morgan.
“But why would the FBI and DOJ fall for a scam like that?”
“Simple, DeLorean doesn’t actually get the money. The FBI is provides the 1.8 million to Hoffman, who is supposed to give it to me for the 55 pounds of cocaine. So, put $1,800,000 in cash on the table and my 55 pounds of cocaine.”
Morgan walks over to the cell door to make sure no one is listening, then continues, “This is when the case almost took a very scary twist. They were trying to get me to put $15,000,000 into the real DeLorean Motor Company for a partnership stake.”
“You had that much offshore?”
“Yeah, twice that,” Morgan shrugs. “My $15,000,000 goes on the table, but it is not enough. To buy a 50% share in DMC was going to require $100,000,000 in cash. So, I flew down to the Cayman Islands to talk with the Medellin Cartel.”
Morgan wipes his brow as he remembers the meeting. “Pablo Escobar and the Ochoa Brothers had a serious money problem. They were buried in cash, storing it in closets, mattresses, and in bedrooms filled with 100-dollar bills. We talked about them putting up $60,000,000 as a stake in DMC.”
“That goes on the table? Scary,” I mutter.
“Maybe more than 60 million,” says Morgan, “put Pablo Escobar and the Ochoa Brothers at the poker table behind me. Max Mermelstein knows about the deal; he and Rafa want in. Rafa has a car dealership in Medellin, he’s into cars big time. If those murderous men lost that kind of cash you can imagine what would have happened to me.”
“Pablo Escobar, the Ochoa Brothers, Max, Rafa, the IRA, the FBI, the DEA and the Cali Cartel—that is one scary poker table.”
“There’s one more person at the table,” says Morgan slyly.
“You, you are sitting beside me.”
I gap at Morgan, who grins at me as he says, “Valestra, the FBI Agent slides a paper across the table to you and proclaims that he wants to make a side bet.”
The prosecutor, James Walsh, acting as the pit boss picks it up, reads it, and says, “Yeah, I’ll allow this and flips it up for you to see.
“What is it?” I ask nervously.
“It’s your Grand Jury Indictment with a dozen counts—think life in prison.” Morgan looks at me like he is taking my measure. “You’re not cooperating is you taking that side bet—so, you go into the pot.”
I’m speechless as Morgan continues, “Because it’s a side bet, you and Valestra have to turn your cards face up—but that’s only if you accept the bet.”
“My going to court compromises the FBI’s case,” I whisper.
“Their chance of losing gets very real because of you and they are sweating that big time because there is one more person standing in the darker part of the room.” Morgan pauses for drama, “The President of the United States, Ronald Reagan is very invested in this case. Remember, he formed an oversight committee to ensure that all of the law agencies cooperated.”
“So, what do you do, Stephen? Do you take the bet and go to trial? Are you willing to risk the rest of your life behind bars?”
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