how justice works

‘Solomon-Like’ Judge Gives Internet Scammer Money for a Car

Kenneth Marsh, owner of Gryphon Holdings in Staten Island, is accused of operating an Internet scam that defrauded investors out of $17.5 million for phony stock tips from imaginary experts. But that didn’t stop Jack Weinstein, a district judge in Brooklyn known for his “unique rulings,” from ordering prosecutors to give Marsh $5,000 for a used car. The money came out of the sale of Marsh’s Porsche, which he purchased with $88,749 in proceeds from his criminal activities. The judge reasoned that Marsh needed a car to get to a potential employer in New Jersey, where mass transportation is “poor,” and to get to his ex-wife’s house to see his son. Marsh’s lawyer, Fred A. Schwartz, called the decision “very Solomon-like.”

According to the Talmudic scholars at Wikipedia (and one of our co-workers), the story of the judgment of Solomon refers to a trick the king used when two prostitutes both claimed a baby as their son. He offered to split the baby in half. The prostitute that wanted to save the child’s life was revealed to be the mother. This story seems to have little relevance to a man who was willing to give up visitation rights to see his kid because he lost his Porsche.

There is also this interpretation of Solomon’s significance from a different Wikipedia entry: “King Solomon sinned by acquiring too many wives and horses because he thought he knew the reason for the Biblical prohibition and thought it did not apply to him.” Then Solomon’s prestige dwindled until he was considered a commoner. See, now that sounds more like Schwartz’s client than the judge.

Accused Fraudster Loses Porsche, But Gets $5000 for a Beater [WSJ]
The Judgment of Solomon [Wikipedia]
Solomon [Wikipedia]

‘Solomon-Like’ Judge Gives Internet Scammer Money for a Car