The Bank of Sark wasn't really a bank at all, -- not, if you expect financial institutions to be more than some fancy...

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THE FOUNTAIN PEN CONSPIRACY

The Bank of Sark wasn't really a bank at all, -- not, if you expect financial institutions to be more than some fancy letterhead, but it managed to filch about $40 million of other people's money in a fraud of labyrinthine cunning. This enterprise is only the first of a dazzling proliferation of corporate shenanigans that Kwitny, an investigative reporter for the Wall Street Journal, documents with convincing detail. There is also the corporate shell game which converts a legitimate corporation without substantial assets into a con artist's tool; the con-glom game which involves absorbing going businesses in exchange for worthless paper; and various other equally crooked and lucrative undertakings. Kwitny claims the existence of an international ring of swindlers whom the Justice Department, the SEC and other prosecuting and regulatory agencies have been incapable of stopping. The sheer quantity of his documentation, while occasionally confusing, effectively disarms the argument that this is all too incredible to be for real; apparently even American Express can be played for a sucker. The presentation has the entertainment value of a good caper movie, but this is a serious expose of crime as big business and big business as crime, concluding with practical recommendations for enforcement reforms that will at least slow down the guys who do their thieving with fountain pens instead of six guns.

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 1973

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1973