American Greed

"Economan: Superthief" Evidence Files

Economan

Al Parish: economics professor, trusted advisor. He gains fame in Charleston, SC as a homegrown financial guru and local celebrity. But the self-proclaimed "Economan" is the suspected mastermind behind an $80 million investment scam."" premieres Wednesday, February 18th at 9p | 1a ET.
Posted 02 Feb 2009
Al Parish: economics professor, trusted advisor. He gains fame in Charleston, SC as a homegrown financial guru and local celebrity. But the self-proclaimed "Economan" is the suspected mastermind behind an $80 million investment scam."" premieres Wednesday, February 18th at 9p | 1a ET.

Al Parish: economics professor, trusted advisor. He gains fame in Charleston, SC as a homegrown financial guru and local celebrity. But the self-proclaimed "Economan" is the suspected mastermind behind an $80 million investment scam.

"American Greed: Economan: Superthief" premieres Wednesday, February 18th at 9p | 1a ET.

Rags to Riches

Long before Al Parish swindled millions of dollars from investors, he was a kid growing up by a salt creek just outside of Charleston. Parish came from humble beginnings, with a father who was a truck driver and a mother who taught at the local school.Years later, Parish would become the celebrity financial advisor of Charleston.
Source: Johnny Parish
Long before Al Parish swindled millions of dollars from investors, he was a kid growing up by a salt creek just outside of Charleston. Parish came from humble beginnings, with a father who was a truck driver and a mother who taught at the local school.Years later, Parish would become the celebrity financial advisor of Charleston.

Long before Al Parish swindled millions of dollars from investors, he was a kid growing up by a salt creek just outside of Charleston. Parish came from humble beginnings, with a father who was a truck driver and a mother who taught at the local school.

Years later, Parish would become the celebrity financial advisor of Charleston.

The Investors

Arnold Hite is looking for a place to invest his money and hears about Parish's investment fund. Hite's wife receives a small inheritance from her grandfather. The couple invests with Parish. Arnold Hite: "My friend told me he was getting rates of return that were about 2% points better than he could do anywhere else."
Arnold Hite is looking for a place to invest his money and hears about Parish's investment fund. Hite's wife receives a small inheritance from her grandfather. The couple invests with Parish. Arnold Hite: "My friend told me he was getting rates of return that were about 2% points better than he could do anywhere else."

Arnold Hite is looking for a place to invest his money and hears about Parish's investment fund. Hite's wife receives a small inheritance from her grandfather. The couple invests with Parish. Arnold Hite: "My friend told me he was getting rates of return that were about 2% points better than he could do anywhere else."

The Investors

The sale of his mother's property nets Marion Robertson $650,000. He also has to manage her bank account. Robertson decides to sign on with acclaimed financial advisor Al Parish, whose services went above and beyond those of the typical money manager. Robertson was told by Al "he would take care of paying all mama's bills... the light bill…insurance on the house…the taxes."
The sale of his mother's property nets Marion Robertson $650,000. He also has to manage her bank account. Robertson decides to sign on with acclaimed financial advisor Al Parish, whose services went above and beyond those of the typical money manager. Robertson was told by Al "he would take care of paying all mama's bills... the light bill…insurance on the house…the taxes."

The sale of his mother's property nets Marion Robertson $650,000. He also has to manage her bank account. Robertson decides to sign on with acclaimed financial advisor Al Parish, whose services went above and beyond those of the typical money manager. Robertson was told by Al "he would take care of paying all mama's bills... the light bill…insurance on the house…the taxes."

The Lifestyle

As Al Parish's client list grows... so does Parish's lifestyle. He's getting rich quick and it shows.Parish takes extravagant trips, purchases cars, jewelry and toys.
As Al Parish's client list grows... so does Parish's lifestyle. He's getting rich quick and it shows.Parish takes extravagant trips, purchases cars, jewelry and toys.

As Al Parish's client list grows... so does Parish's lifestyle. He's getting rich quick and it shows.

Parish takes extravagant trips, purchases cars, jewelry and toys.

The Collection

Parish had a quirky taste in collectibles, buying items like sixteen clown paintings by comedian Redd Skelton.
Source: Gregory Hays
Parish had a quirky taste in collectibles, buying items like sixteen clown paintings by comedian Redd Skelton.

Parish had a quirky taste in collectibles, buying items like sixteen clown paintings by comedian Redd Skelton.

The Con

By 2007, 600 investors have signed on with Parish. Clients rave about the financial wizard posting incredible 30% returns. But a routine S-E-C check of high-grossing investment advisors raises a flag. Suspicions mount. Is Parish's $134 million investment program a fraud?As federal authorities close in, Al Parish claims he can't remember a thing.
By 2007, 600 investors have signed on with Parish. Clients rave about the financial wizard posting incredible 30% returns. But a routine S-E-C check of high-grossing investment advisors raises a flag. Suspicions mount. Is Parish's $134 million investment program a fraud?As federal authorities close in, Al Parish claims he can't remember a thing.

By 2007, 600 investors have signed on with Parish. Clients rave about the financial wizard posting incredible 30% returns. But a routine S-E-C check of high-grossing investment advisors raises a flag. Suspicions mount. Is Parish's $134 million investment program a fraud?

As federal authorities close in, Al Parish claims he can't remember a thing.

The FBI Agent

FBI Special Agent Frank Worrell believes Al Parish faked amnesia after he realized his Ponzi scheme was collapsing around him. Worrell believes the lost of memory was just another lie…like Parish’s statement to the S-E-C that he has $134 million in the bank when bank records showed he had less than a million dollars.
Source: Kurtis Productions
FBI Special Agent Frank Worrell believes Al Parish faked amnesia after he realized his Ponzi scheme was collapsing around him. Worrell believes the lost of memory was just another lie…like Parish’s statement to the S-E-C that he has $134 million in the bank when bank records showed he had less than a million dollars.

FBI Special Agent Frank Worrell believes Al Parish faked amnesia after he realized his Ponzi scheme was collapsing around him. Worrell believes the lost of memory was just another lie…like Parish’s statement to the S-E-C that he has $134 million in the bank when bank records showed he had less than a million dollars.

On the Case

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin McDonald says Parish blew client money on clothing, private jet trips and custom cars.
Source: Kurtis Productions
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin McDonald says Parish blew client money on clothing, private jet trips and custom cars.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin McDonald says Parish blew client money on clothing, private jet trips and custom cars.

The Verdict

Al Parish arrives at Charleston County Jail after being accused cheating 600 investors out of $80 million dollars. Parish also swindled $10 million from Charleston Southern University, where he used to be a respected economics professor.Parish was eventually convicted and sentenced to 24 years in prison. He's currently serving time in Butner, North Carolina. His earliest parole date is 2029."" premieres Wednesday, February 18th at 9p | 1a ET.Find out more...
Source: Charleston Post & Courier
Al Parish arrives at Charleston County Jail after being accused cheating 600 investors out of $80 million dollars. Parish also swindled $10 million from Charleston Southern University, where he used to be a respected economics professor.Parish was eventually convicted and sentenced to 24 years in prison. He's currently serving time in Butner, North Carolina. His earliest parole date is 2029."" premieres Wednesday, February 18th at 9p | 1a ET.Find out more...

Al Parish arrives at Charleston County Jail after being accused cheating 600 investors out of $80 million dollars. Parish also swindled $10 million from Charleston Southern University, where he used to be a respected economics professor.

Parish was eventually convicted and sentenced to 24 years in prison. He's currently serving time in Butner, North Carolina. His earliest parole date is 2029.

"American Greed: Economan Superthief" premieres Wednesday, February 18th at 9p | 1a ET.

Find out more...

  • Replay Slideshow
  • Review the "Economan Superthief" case file
  • Visit the "American Greed" website
  • Watch Video: What Al Parish Bought