American Greed Episode 13: Fraud in Cyberspace

Case File

Fraud in Cyberspace

  • The "Evil Genius"
  • Barton Watson. The high-flying chairman of Cybernet. He had it all. Success. Money. Cars. By all outward appearances, Cybernet appears to be a successful company and Watson is living large.
  • The Deception
  • Cybernet seems to be thriving, but in reality, it's drowning in debt. To keep afloat, Cybernet inflates its financial reports to the banks to secure loans. Staff members become suspicious. One contacts the FBI.
  • The Raid
  • Federal agents raid Cybernet's headquarters. Watson's elaborate scam totals $120 million and leaves behind the shattered dreams of investors and employees. Cybernet executives face the music in court, but Watson determines is own tragic fate.

Web Extras

  • Barton Watson

    Click to learn more about Barton Watson's journey into fraud in cyberspace.

  • The Scam

    Mark Gottlieb tells how he was tricked twice by Barton Watson.

  • Barton's Office Behavior

    Hear the shocking details of how Barton fired Elaine VanSuilichem from Cybernet.

  • Wheel of Fortune

    Find out what a life of crime buys. IRS Agent Rodney Urlaub explains the "Wheel of Fortune."

  • Read a 1972 article from The Belding Banner, where at the age of twelve, Barton Watson names himself CEO of The American Horseman, a publication boasting a distribution of nearly 500 issues.

  • John Straayer finds it odd that Barton Watson’s wife Krista signs the company documents, such as this banking form. Little does Straayer know that Watson is an ex-con.