Extorted Exec Mystery Solved!

garywandschneider.jpgThis morning the New York Post names the extorted executive as Gary Wandschneider, a divisional vice-president of Pepsi Bottling Co. According to, Gary pulled in nearly $3 million in cash compensation last year and was awarded stock options worth about another $3 million.
Well, that’s somewhat less exciting than the idea that it was the CEO of a major company. But the good news is that thanks to help from our readers, we were on the right track! We had narrowed it down to a handful of companies based in Westchester, including the Pepsi Bottling Co. So good work team!

‘Pop’ Tart Scams Bigwig
[New York Post] Profile: Gary K Wandschneider

  • 28 Nov 2006 at 9:19 AM
  • CEO

Our ‘Name That Extorted Executive’ Investigation Continues

namethatextortedexecutive.jpgWe’re getting closer and closer to identifying the Fortune 500 executive hit by a Craiglist extortist. In addition to the details we noted earlier, the complaint notes that the company is based in the Southern District of New York. Now, there are around 92 Fortune 500 companies located in New York State. But the Southern District is much smaller, covering just the Bronx, Dutchess, New York, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, & Westchester Counties. And we know the victim is a man so we can cross off all those New York based Fortune 500 companies run by women, narrowing down our investigation considerably a tiny bit.
After the jump, we irresponsibly speculate on the secret identity of the crime victim.

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  • 27 Nov 2006 at 4:17 PM
  • CEO

CraigsList Vixen-Villain Victimizes “Fortune 500 CEO”

jessicawolcott.jpgMeet Jessica Wolcott. Or, rather, you should probably hope you haven’t actually met Jessica. You see, she’s the 22-year-old who pleaded guilty last week to extorting $125,000 from a man identified in a U.S. District Court complaint as the chief executive of a Fortune 500 Company. Smoking Gun has the story.

The CEO of a Fortune 500 company was the target of a six-figure extortion plot hatched by a woman who first met the businessman online and then later threatened to go public with details of his extramarital affairs, The Smoking Gun has learned. According to an FBI agent, the New York executive acknowledged that on “multiple occasions” he trolled for women on Craigslist and a second site “devoted to bringing together attractive women and wealthy men who were seeking romantic relationships.” It was during the CEO’s time on Craigslist earlier this year that he met Jessica Wolcott, a 22-year-old who pleaded guilty last week to extorting $125,000 from the executive. According to a detailed U.S. District Court complaint (a copy of which you’ll find below), Wolcott began sending the executive threatening e-mails in August, warning that unless he paid $125,000, she would tell his wife that “you’ve been looking for a fill in for her…After all these years of being married this is how you repay your vows? You are disgusting.”

The complaint redacts the identity of the victim, of course. But it does offer a few tantalizing clues. Which already has us playing the old guess who game. First, we know he’s the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. So that narrows it down to, well, 500 possible CEOs right? And we learn that the CEO apparently lives in Connecticut. What’s more, after they introduced themselves online, Jessica and our mystery CEO met in person in a Mount Kisco bar, in Westchester County. So we’re probably not talking about the far-off reaches of Connecticut. Think Greenwich or Stamford. Other details: he’s married and has children. And, well, that’s about it for clues.
Fortune 500 CEO In Sex Extortion []

Craigslist Starts Charging Brokers $10

craig_newmark.jpgToday Craigslist began charging apartment brokers in New York $10 for rental listings, in a move the managers of the popular online classified advertising site hope will cut down on frequent and repetitive postings by brokers.
Frequent reposting of offerings by brokers was making the site harder to use, the company said in a statement online.

The high volumes of postings in these categories encourages frequent re-posting of the same listings, creating a vicious cycle. That can be really annoying to everyone, making these categories much less useful. Many brokers and renters have suggested that a small fee could do wonders in eliminating this problem, saving lots of time and headache for all concerned.

Of course, unscrupulous brokers immediately migrated to the still free areas for apartments being rented by owners. At least that’s what seemed to be happening in the first few hours of the new policy. Craigslist operators quickly removed some of the more obviously dishonest listing, however, and seem to be keeping an eye out for brokers posting in the for-rent by-owners section.

$10 Fee for NYC Broker Apt Ads

  • 03 Apr 2006 at 8:25 AM
  • China

Opening Bell: 4.3.06

patriciarusso.jpgAlcatel Jumps on Plan to Buy Lucent in $13.4 Bln Swap (Bloomberg)
It’s official; they’re merging. 8,800 jobs will be cut, Lucent’s Patricia Russo will be the first female CEO of a large French company, and nothing says bubble like Alcatel, the acquirer, jumping 8.8% on the news. The merger will be judged, obviously, on cost savings, which are possible given the bloat that these two aging giants must have — at least they didn’t say synergies. All in all, pipes are back. Om Malik notes the return of second-rate optical stocks, whose shares have surged in the past few months — at least they’re not calling them internet backbone companies.
Microsoft’s Big Year (Barron’s)
Will this finally be the year of Ol’ Softy. After basically flatlining since 2001, Barron’s thinks the company may be back. Of course, they’ve been on the brink of being back before, but this time Barron’s means it. The case for the company is based on an upcoming product release cycle, the biggest in the company’s history, and renewed IT spending among corporations. It’s a bold argument, as the magazine calls the company a growth stock once again. At the same time, the company seems to be poorly run. Product delays, which have always been part of their reputation, seem to be getting worse, and it’s unclear that when (if?) the new Vista operating system will be released, it will have enough features to drive a rapid upgrade cycle. Remember when people were waiting in line on midnight the night before Windows 95 was released? Could you imagine anyone doing that on a cold night this coming January?
Capex Revival, For Real This Time? (WSJ)
Here’s an argument we’ve heard a lot in the last year: When the consumer finally weakens because their credit card is tapped out, and their home stops rising in value so they can’t use it as an ATM anymore, capital expenditure will make up for the loss and save the economy. But will companies actually start investing, or is this just wishful thinking? After several years of saving money, there has been a tickup in hiring and investment, with capex expected to grow by 6.5% this year, slightly higher than the recent average. Still, it looks spotty and the article is only able to cite a handful of examples, like Hasbro buying a puzzle maker (so?), or Guess re-modeling 30 of their stores. Hmm… capex rebound, maybe not so much.
Euronext looking for partner (Telegraph)
Stock exchange merger mania may continue, as Euronext may be the next suitor to try for LSE’s hand. Both Australia’s Macquarie, and more recently the Nasdaq, have been rebuffed when proposing to London. We’ll be really disappointed if, in ten years, we don’t have one single, global, 24-hour, 7-days a week electronic exchange that doesn’t list every publicly available stock, bond and commodity. So from our perspective, get mergin’ quick.

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