Here's a tangled web, with a curious local connection. In 2000, investment adviser Dana Giacchetto was convicted of fraud after swindling...
Here’s a tangled web, with a curious local connection.
In 2000, investment adviser Dana Giacchetto was convicted of fraud after swindling clients out of $10 million. Among his clients were Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and other celebrities.
While Giacchetto was still in jail, Seattle journalist Emily White, former editor of The Stranger and now A&E editor at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, interviewed him and soon signed a six-figure contract to tell his story.
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The resulting book, “You Will Make Money in Your Sleep” (published by Scribner in June), was a memoir-biography from the perspective of White, who herself had been swindled by Giacchetto.
Under the terms of White’s book deal, half the proceeds would go to a company called Legis, created the week after Giacchetto’s release from prison in July 2003, by the law firm that handled his defense.
It was a money-for-access deal, White told CNNMoney.com in October 2006. Giacchetto wouldn’t cooperate on the project “unless some money went to his lawyer in exchange for access to him, his papers and forfeiting editorial control,” she said.
Legis received $25,500 from White at the outset.
But when Robert Geltzer, a court-appointed trustee to Giacchetto’s bankrupt investment-advice company, Cassandra Group, got wind of the book deal, he sued Giacchetto, his lawyers and White, calling the deal a “clandestine scheme intended to hinder, delay or defraud” Giacchetto’s creditors.
Fast forward to this week, when settlement papers were filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York. The settlement hearing will be Aug. 30.
Under the tentative settlement, Giacchetto, whose debts now top $24 million, will turn over to the trustee Legis’ stake in White’s book and any future projects related to “You Will Make Money in Your Sleep.” He also will turn over the right to all profit from his life story.
White still gets 50 percent of any income from the book or any subsidiary rights sold in connection with it, with the remaining 50 percent going to the trustee.
But there aren’t many “proceeds” at stake, at this point, as the book has sold fewer than 1,000 copies.
White, who with her husband, Rich Jensen, lost $80,000 to Giacchetto, wasn’t available for comment Friday.
Michael Upchurch: firstname.lastname@example.org
Researcher David Turim
contributed to this article.