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Episode 73: Union Bu$ter/The Fool's Gold

Case File

Union Busters/The Fool's Gold
A shady benefits administrator embezzles $42 million from a New York City union to fund an outrageous lifestyle. And one Montana conman sells barrels of "gold concentrate" that turn out to be dirt. The FBI sets a video sting to catch him.

Union Bu$ter

The Sandhogs Local 147, a New York City construction union, whose workers build tunnels and underground passageways, entrusts Melissa King for overseeing union benefits to ensure their retirements. Instead, King uses the workers funds to cut herself checks to the tune of $42 million. The union workers unwittingly foot the bill for King's household staff of maids, security guards and a personal chef. She racks up a $7 million American Express bill and buys her daughter's way into the high-end world of equestrian jumping – spending nearly $5 million on horses and horse-related expenses. The union finds out, but not before many of its members see their accounts reduced by $50,000 to $80,000 and are forced to return to the tunnels to continue working during their golden years.

The Fool's Gold

Carl Estep is a smooth-talking ladies-man who looks for love and money, all to fund his phony gold scheme. The Montana conman spins tales of riches saying that he has hundreds of 55 gallon drums filled with 'gold concentrate' and all he needs is cash to pay for refining the gold ore to make millions. But the only thing in those drums is dirt. When one lovelorn retired investor, we call "Valerie," loses $220,000 to his scam she informs the FBI and wears a wire to so the feds can see him in action. "Valerie" who thought she met 'Mr. Right' and wanted that money to fund her retirement now finds herself back at work with her savings gone wanting revenge.

VIDEOS

  • Living High on the 'Hogs     Tuesday, 9 Apr 2013 | 12:00 AM ET

    Melissa King feeds her insatiable spending habits by embezzling millions from the New York Sandhog Union's retirement fund she was entrusted to protect. Her security guard, Richard O'Keefe sees the extravagance firsthand.

  • Who Are the Sandhogs?     Tuesday, 9 Apr 2013 | 12:00 AM ET

    The Sandhogs Local 147 is a New York construction union whose workers build tunnels and underground passageways. Watch them in action here.

  • Beware of the Man with the Silver Tongue     Tuesday, 9 Apr 2013 | 12:00 AM ET

    Carl Estep is a smooth-talking ladies-man who looks for love and money, all to fund his phony gold scheme. "Valerie" thought she found 'Mr. Right' until she met him in person ...

WEB EXCLUSIVES

American Greed Showtimes

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The Prisoner of Wall Street
Saturday, April 19th 1a, 3a ET/PT
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Sunday, April 20th 1a, 3a ET/PT
Check the U.S. TV schedule for additional showtimes.
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