What do you do when maintaining the artifice of your series of fraudulent transactions is threatened by the credit crunch? Why, impersonate a pension fund lawyer and get $50 million from Fortress, of course.
According to people familiar with the matter, Mr. Dreier was attempting to secure tens of millions of dollars from Fortress Investment Group LLC, a New York asset-management firm, by impersonating an Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan attorney in a sham business transaction. Fortress asked for certain guarantees from the pension plan, which Mr. Dreier represented to be involved in the deal when it wasn't, these people allege. These people say problems arose for Mr. Dreier when Fortress representatives wanted to meet with pension-plan managers in person.
On Tuesday, Mr. Dreier arranged a meeting in Toronto with Ontario Teachers' on an unrelated matter, gaining him access to their offices, the people familiar with the matter said. They said that instead of leaving after the meeting, Mr. Dreier waited in the office for the arrival of Howard Steinberg, a Fortress executive, who thought he was meeting with an Ontario Teachers' lawyer.
The people familiar with the matter allege that Mr. Dreier intercepted the Fortress executive, took him to a conference room, and began a meeting in which he pretended to be Michael Padfield, an in-house lawyer with the pension plan. According to the people familiar with the situation, Mr. Dreier handed out a business card with Mr. Padfield's name and signed documents as Mr. Padfield. Mr. Padfield couldn't be reached for comment.
Mr. Steiberg got suspicious and Dreier wandered off, got in the elevator and vanished.
"Hi, I'm Mr. Dreier...er... Padfield... damn! Can we start over?" apparently didn't go so well.*
*Ok, so we made that up.
Dreier Faces Federal Charges [The Wall Street Journal]