Sam Antar, who cooked the books in the outrageous Crazy Eddie con of the 1980s, doesn’t mind being called a creep. In fact, he sort of likes it. When he spoke recently to a group of students at Stanford University, he got the usual questions. Someone wanted to know if he was sorry for ruining so many lives. He insisted that’s not the point. Another person asked if he ever talks to Eddie Antar, his cousin, co-conspirator, and childhood hero. (They sat down for a joint interview a few years ago…but that didn’t go so well.) The last student at Stanford didn’t have a question. She just wanted to share something. She thinks he’s creepy.
Sam’s face lit up when he told me that story. That’s just the point! That’s exactly right! Sam is a person who will remind you of his basic lousiness and inhumanity as many times as you’ll let him. To make a point, he’ll stretch about as far as a person possibly can into what he freely calls “hyperbole and bullshit.” He challenged me to explain why I’d give him a ride to the airport from Stanford: Would you do the same for a serial killer? Is there any difference? Aren’t white collar criminals just as brutal in the execution of their crimes? I said I thought every interaction is a sort of negotiation. White collar criminals (and serial killers) might be more ruthless and cold-blooded than the rest of us…but don’t we all have an eye out for an opportunity?
I’m glad we took ours and sat down with Sam Antar before he flew back to his native New York City. It was a long and interesting interview with the biggest liar — and the biggest straight talker — I’ve ever shared an afternoon with.
Here are a few short clips from that interview. We’ll post more in the coming weeks. But, for now, here’s Sam Antar on criminality and humanity:
Sam Antar Interview, Part 1: The Rules of Criminality
Sam Antar Interview, Part 2: Humanity, or the lack thereof