For ten years, Dina Wein-Reis ran a brazen scam in which she convinced major companies to send her samples of their product, which she then sold on the black market for millions of dollars. How did she manage to get away with it, and for so long? Well: She was hot. "She looked like she stepped out of a Beyoncé video," a former employee tells Fortune. She was also a savvy businesswoman, apparently, because she surrounded herself with fellow hotties.
"These were not boneheads," says deKieffer. "These were not bimbos. They were not relying on boobs, but brains." Wein-Reis and her damsels of diversion inflated their targets' egos, got deep inside their heads, and turned their critical-thinking powers to mush. "I would covet the opportunity for you and me to carve out some quality time," Robert Gregerson, then president of Polaroid's instant-camera division, wrote in 2006 after a New York meeting with Wein-Reis. "I am approaching this with full recognition and realistic expectation that you will remain intimately involved. By now, I trust you know my ego will support it!"
According to Fortune, Wein-Reis and her team "left her marks flat on their backs, gasping. She had a genius for turning male vanity into cash." Unfortunately for her, she was not as good with women.
"Dina went through assistants like toilet paper," recalls one employee who was fired. Her behavior could swing from empathy to callousness in an instant. One worker took a Thursday and Friday off to attend her grandfather's funeral and received a call from Wein-Reis the following Monday: "I'm sorry about your grandfather. You're fired." A weeping assistant recounted to the company's top finance official that Wein-Reis had once handed her a pair of dirty panties and ordered her to put them in the hamper.
This, of course, was the flaw in Dina's otherwise perfect plan: Eventually, after she fired an assistant for breaking her foot, the assistant turned her in. Sigh. If only Dina had seen Mean Girls! Then she would have known that if you act like a bitch to your minions, eventually they'll turn on you.