Wall Street Scammer Ducks Prison by Working for CIA

Felix Sater tracked down Stinger missiles on the black market

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 9, 2012 3:26 PM CDT

(Newser) – A Russian businessman charged with cheating investors on Wall Street struck a deal with the CIA: Reduce my punishment to nearly nothing, and I'll help you buy missiles on Russia's black market, the Miami Herald reports. Felix Sater apparently pulled off the plan, tracking down the Stinger missiles and paying a measly $25,000 fine—even though his victims lost $40 million. Now, investors fuming over alleged racketeering in another Sater deal—the Fort Lauderdale Trump Tower—are trying to reveal his past in a new lawsuit.

A New York federal judge is expected to rule next month on whether to reveal Sater's 1998 securities fraud charge, but says it could "significantly affect matters of national interest." Yet the wheeler-dealer's past has already emerged in a tell-all penned by another defendant in the Wall Street swindle, Salvatore Lauria. "We were hoping for a free ride or a get-out-of-jail-free card for our crimes on Wall Street," Lauria wrote in The Scorpion and the Frog: High Crimes and High Times. Tracking down missiles was perfect, because "the CIA was worried the weapons would be sold to our enemies."

A resident of a luxury apartment building on Wall Street walks through the lobby of his building.
A resident of a luxury apartment building on Wall Street walks through the lobby of his building.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
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