The SEC and the U.S. Attorney’s office today charged Kenneth Starr, a Manhattan attorney and money manager whose clients include Wesley Snipes, Sylvester Stallone, Jacob the Jeweler, Steve Brill, Annie Leibovitz, and at least 25 other “socialites and luminaries in the entertainment and business worlds,” according to the complaint, with running a Ponzi scheme in which he used clients’ money to, among other things, purchase a “luxury $7.6 million Manhattan apartment” containing “a recreation room with a wet bar, a 32-foot granite lap pool, and a 1,500 square foot garden.”
Andrew Stein, the former Manhattan borough president and one-time paramour of Ann Coulter was also arrested in conjunction with the fraud, for using funds from a shell company Starr created to pay his own personal expenses and lying to the IRS about it, and we expect assorted other boldface names to surface shortly. For instance, the Daily Beast is reporting of the person the indictment refers to as “Client No. 2”:
Marching! Dramatic! Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara suggested at a news conference today that Starr targeted celebrities in order to brand himself. “Starr … used his access to famous and powerful clients to burnish an image of trustworthiness, inducing them to entrust him with management and control of their financial affairs,” he said. “But as we allege, much of it was a mirage.” Poor celebrities. Even their real lives are illusory.
Update: A spokesman for the financially-challenged Annie Leibovitz sends the following statement from the photographer: “News of Ken Starr’s arrest does not come as a complete surprise to me, and I will follow this story with great interest. Ken Starr no longer represents me and has not for some time.”