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Hedge Fund Monster Maybe-Fakes Suicide!

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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In the most ingenious twist to the greatest story of our lifetime, Samuel Israel III—who was on his way to today begin a 20-year stint in federal prison—has disappeared, leaving his 2006 GMC Envoy behind on a Hudson River bridge. Ack. Someone had scratched "Suicide is Painless" on the car's dust. Israel defrauded his hedge fund members to the tune of $400 million. In 15 years, New York magazine will run an article about how they tracked down Israel in some foreign country, where he lives with twin models and regrets nothing, except it won't really be him and we'll never learn what happened. (If only Spalding Gray were alive to give this the fictional portrayal it deserves—and I mean that seriously, not callously.) Some news sources say there was a "rambling suicide note"; others say there was none at all. Israel would be the second convicted hedge fund manager to commit suicide in a month; the manager of the fund for the National Football League hanged himself in jail last month. So maybe Tale of Two Cities really is the correct metaphor for our time.

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