from such money as he may have been able to secrete, he used the money
to amuse himself and his family. Over a period of three and a half
years, for every $100,000 of earned income, he stole another $500,000
from his company, the banks, and various associates for a total theft
of $1.9 million. But that amount was not enough for himhe also
went through a half million dollars of his own WILTRON stock that
he had received as a stock option.
Sams motivation during all these years of thievery must have
been sheer jealousy. Sam obviously considered himself
more important than the founders of WILTRON. Didnt he go to
better restaurants, drink more expensive wines and leave bigger tips,
travel in more style, make faster decisions involving large amounts
of personal money, have a more important relationship with Merrill
Lynch, his stock broker. Wasnt it only he that got Merrill Lynchs
maximum brokerage fee discount of 50%? Just because Sam had not studied
electronics, why should he suffer by comparison with founders of high
tech companies? Using this reasoning, Sam could justify his thefts
from WILTRON and his use of money for his own advantage.
Sam wanted a lot of leverage. He at first got leverage by playing
the stock market. This way he could use the same money over and over.
Being a poor analyst, however, he lost in the stock marketthat
wasnt any fun. Also, the stock market took too long to pay off.
So he tried playing commodities. Of course, only later did these facts
come out. Sam kept his investments very compartmentalized.
It was part of Sams matching wits with the world. He was able
to use his wits to live separate lives. One time, however, noticing
the Wall Street Journal on Sams desk at work, I told him better
not to keep it at his desk and not to receive calls from his brokers.
That wasnt too hard for Sam to swallow since he had apparently
also been losing on commodity trading. Although his trading was a
big ego trip at the time, with lots of stroking by the brokers, the
whole process of matching wits with commodity traders was just proving
to Sam that he was a loser. That must have been hard for him to swallow
because when he made deals for WILTRON with my coaching, we always
After my admonition against stock trading at work, Sam did become
more circumspect about his investing. Now he would do
it away from work. In fact, gambling was to become his new weekend
recreationa continuous game of matching wits and risk taking.
He discovered the underworld of bookies and the real leveraged actionthe
ultimate experience at churning money, receiving mysterious phone
calls at home, speaking in code. On Saturday he would place five dimes
on a horse race or another sporting event. If he lost, he would need
to place ten dimes on Sunday to recoup, or to lose even more.
A dime, which he claims his clever wife never understood, is booky
language for $1,000; so his ten dimes bet would be $10,000. But, alas,
Sam was also a loser at gamblinghis only consolation was that
he lost bigger than those around him. One weekend he lost $200,000,
perhaps the high point of his whole career. Im sure it was an
experience he would relate many times at his meetings of Gamblers
Anonymous. In spite of his losers bravado, obviously the motive
for his big bets was to really make it bigto recoup his losses,
and to get back in the big time.
Sam wound up as a compulsive gambler, but to accept this pat alibi
is to miss the point. It doesnt explain his visit to Europe
in which he took along his babysitter, his extravagant working lunches,
and his wifes visits to posh resorts. Of course, his salary
of nearly $100,000 could conceivably have supported his life style,
so no great suspicions were aroused, especially when nobody was looking
Finally, Sam had real troublehe couldnt cover his gambling
debts. The betting window was closedno more gambling, just a
pile of debts to juggle. With gambling enforcers on his
case he got careless with his thefts. But then, when Sam was caught
red-handed, his first reaction was to seek my indulgence by admitting
to only a small fraction of his thefts. Then he did what I advised
him to doget himself an attorney. He dutifully accepted the
attorneys advice to come clean to the FBI.
The high life was coming to an end for Sam; the bubble also burst
for his children and for his wife, Diane, who immediately divorced
him. In an interview with a reporter Sam confided, I had a built-in
urge to stay in action which means the world to gamblers. He
added, There was always the possibility that something would
go right, that Id get a lucky streak. I always gambled on credit;
so I had already lost it before I borrowed it.
Sam had come full circle. Also he had resigned himself to doing prison
time. Said Sam, Id say the odds are very high that Ill
be going to prison. Cox finally had the odds right: on April
30, 1984 he was sentenced to four years in the Federal Penitentiary
and wound up serving a full two years.
During Sams period of demise I once counted nine different law
suits all pending at the same time and all related to his casecreditors
suing him, creditors suing one another, even his gambling associates
suing WILTRON for the phony stock certificates Sam had given them
as collateral. WILTRON finally persevered in all of the suits. The
only asset we were able to recover from Sam was his WILTRON stock
and stock options, not enough at the time to cover our losses but
if you measured the value of the stock only a few years later, WILTRON
actually came out ahead.
To this day we have a number of outstanding judgments against any
assets Sam might have. However, at the writing of this book it has
been over 15 years since Sam went to prison and none of us would dream
of bothering him with these claims. If Sam should read this book hell
know that I have no malice toward him and would love to see him to
continue his story hopefully with a happier outcome.