In my world--one overloaded with journalists, politicians, cops, bureaucrats, lawyers and judges--a sales pitch that, say, a $3 million personal investment will swell into $100 million in weeks is a knee-slapping, cry-laughing joke. That's one of numerous reasons why the case of Stanley Toy Jr. stands out. A Los Angeles County medical doctor, veteran investor, political appointee and major Democrat donor with connections to President Barack Obama, Toy claimed con artists asserting secret, high-level banking-world connections and the ability to deliver rapid returns of more than 3,300 percent suckered him.
|R. Scott Moxley/OC Weekly|
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Sophisticated financial crimes are, of course, an everyday occurrence in Southern California, but Toy's mess is unique. From 2006 to 2007, he counted among his pals then-LA Sheriff Lee Baca and Undersheriff Larry Waldie, who made him a reserve lieutenant sheriff after taking his regular campaign contributions. Orange County experienced a similar unseemly pay-to-play scenario in which, before his FBI arrest and six-year prison trip, Sheriff Mike Carona routinely gave guns and official badges to wealthy businessmen seeking law-enforcement influence.
Toy used his own connections in hopes of buying a hospital that would nab lucrative government contracts for indigent patients, an idea he pitched to Arlene Shih, a senior vice president at Chinatrust Bank. Toy didn't know Shih's job served as front for her real occupation, which a California Court of Appeal later characterized as a serial embezzler with ties to men skillful at luring gullible investors into scams with intricate enticements heavy on mystery and big on promises.More »