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I first tried heroin when I was 22, and became instantly addicted. Your autographed football and jerseys are hanging on the wall, along with awards and several pictures of you posing with famous actors.
For the next 15 years I would move in and out of rehab centers and in and out of fraud boiler rooms. The pool table is across the room on the left-hand side.
The place housed numerous other scam boiler rooms I had worked in, but you would never have known that from the outside. We'd been running TV ads claiming that investors could make thousands of dollars from computer kiosks placed in high-traffic areas like airports and shopping malls.
postal inspectors and FBI agents with gold badges and guns burst into my office. We occupied two full floors of a nondescript commercial office building. The particular scam here was an Internet-kiosk business opportunity.
I went to work for a Florida company that sold prepaid-calling-card vending machines. But it seemed like a lot of customers were calling back to complain. Believe it or not, for a long time I thought every business was like this. This was lesson number one: Assume a false personality or social mask that makes it easier to pull off the deception.You might be thinking, "Oh, those get-rich-quick scams are obvious, and I would never fall for one." When I hear someone say that only stupid people fall for fraud, I feel like asking for that person's phone number.But here's the thing: I didn't want to talk to stupid people, because stupid people don't have ,000 lying around to give me.Gradually, it dawned on me that this was the dark side of corporate America. So you couple that with my experience selling over the phone in Florida and you have the perfect storm. Swindling is really acting, and you play a character who will help you appear legitimate, confident and successful … I've trained hundreds of salesmen who worked in scam boiler rooms.But by then I had developed my own dark side — drug addiction. And I always told them to picture themselves with the big sprawling office, sitting behind the mahogany desk, with the family portrait on the credenza.
Drug addiction gave me the two characteristics all scam operators want in a closer: selfishness and greed. You are this bigwig whom everybody wants to talk to.