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[00:00:06]

It's a warm evening in Los Angeles on June six, 1984, the toll windows in Ron Levon's impressive Beverly Hills duplex are wide open, welcoming any breeze Los Angeles has to offer on this balmy summer night.

[00:00:23]

It's around seven p.m. when the doorbell rings. Eleven clocks the time, the kids early, he thinks. But then again, Joe was never one to follow directions. As someone crosses his sunken living room, he readies himself.

[00:00:39]

He should be the hospitable host when he greets Joe at the door.

[00:00:43]

Ron Levin is used to stalling Angry Business Associates, but Joe is relentless.

[00:00:50]

Joe reminds Levin of a young version of himself confident, arrogant, able to talk anyone into anything. But lately, Joe's been a pain in the ass. He hasn't stopped phoning and coming over unannounced since Levin told him he made ten million dollars off a bogus trading account. But Levin's aware that Joe is skeptical about whether the money ever existed at all.

[00:01:17]

Smart kid. He can smell a liar. Of course he can.

[00:01:22]

He's a liar, too.

[00:01:26]

Now Joe's at his door. You're early. Joe holds up a bag from La Scala's. I brought dinner. You packed? Joe asks. He moves toward the kitchen to get plates and a bottle of wine. Joe doesn't drink, but he knows what Levin likes.

[00:01:44]

Levin is leaving on a long business trip in the morning.

[00:01:48]

Joe wanted to treat him to dinner before he went, but Levin knows why Joe is really here.

[00:01:54]

The money he kosher. Joe's as excited to see Levin Shetland Collie as he is to see Joe. Joe was a heartbreaker. Tall and slender, Joe towers over most people at six foot five. The 24 year old is dark and handsome, with jet black hair and deep set dimples. Joe is 20 years younger than 11. He smiles and Lhevinne can't help but smile back. Levin has a reputation for surrounding himself with handsome young men. Rumor has it he's gay, but as far as anyone knows, he never puts the moves on anyone.

[00:02:36]

The two men sit down on Levon's white couch.

[00:02:39]

Levin lights two candles on his glass and chrome coffee table, and Joe pours him a glass of wine and seizes the conversation, talking about his art collection, his pending business trip to New York, upcoming appointments in Italy and Switzerland.

[00:02:55]

Anything to avoid talking about the money. Tonight, it seems to work. Joe plays along with idle chit chat. This is unusual. Levin has never known Joe to willingly relinquish control.

[00:03:10]

It's always about the money, but tonight they're talking. His friends, Joe, smiles when Levin points out his latest acquisition, a Picasso.

[00:03:22]

Levin almost relaxes. Joe holds out a piece of chicken for kosher. Kosher is the light of Levon's life and possibly the only true friend he has. Then Joe makes the move Levon's been waiting for. He shifts the conversation to money. Leverne, I need you to pay me my share of our profits. This has gone on too long.

[00:03:47]

Nobody move. This is a man Levon's never seen before. African-American, built like a linebacker. Who the hell are you?

[00:03:57]

Levin demands Joe Springs' up from the couch. There's a real fear in his eyes.

[00:04:03]

Joe's voice is shaking. They're going to kill me, Joe says. I owe the money.

[00:04:10]

The intruders, still silent, whips out a 25 caliber pistol and points it at 11. Levon's heart jumps into his throat. Joe tells Levin he owes money to the Mafia and that since Levin owes him money, Joe told the Mafia they'd get paid when Levin paid him. Levin is incredulous.

[00:04:31]

The Mafia, Joe. Really? The large man with the gun reaches in his jacket pocket, he slowly screws a silencer to the barrel of his pistol as he stares Levon down. Levin can't feel his body. All he knows is fear. How much is in your Swiss bank account? Joe demands 11 regrets. Ever telling him about it at all? About one point seven million. Joe tells him to write a check for one point five million. To be sure.

[00:05:05]

Clear's. Then Joe turns to the man with the gun. Is that enough? Yeah, yeah, it's fine, says the gunman, it's brief, but Levin catches Joe's furrowed brow, Joe shoots the gunman, a look that says wrong answer. Levin doesn't like having a gun pointed in his face any more than the next guy, but he also wasn't born yesterday. Where's your checkbook? Joe asks.

[00:05:35]

Levin leads them into his bedroom and then Joe hands Levin a contract. What's this? Levin demands it's a purchase contract for Microdevices. Joe says Levin remembers Joe trying to sell him on it a few years ago.

[00:05:49]

Joe, what are you playing?

[00:05:53]

The gunman has kosher by the scruff of his neck gun pressed to his little head.

[00:05:57]

No, no, don't shoot him. Joe just stands there. This is not a game, Ron. OK, put the dog down and I'll do whatever you say. The gunman drops the dog. Levin signs the contract. Then he writes a big fat check to Joe for one point five million dollars. I've done what you want. Now get the fuck out.

[00:06:25]

Joe just looks at him for a moment, his face completely devoid of any emotion. He tells everyone to lie face down on the bed. He's calm when he tells the gunman to handcuff Levin. And when Levin starts to whimper and beg for his life, Joe says nothing. The gunman shoves the 25 caliber into the back of Levin's head. Levin can hear his suitcase unzipping and see Joe packing out of the corner of his eye. He can see kosher on the other side, whimpering and peeing on the carpet.

[00:06:59]

The gunman turns to Joe and says, Now, Joe says nothing. He doesn't have to. We get support from Audible, we're all fatigued from screens, and listening is a great way to occupy your mind while giving your eyes a much needed break.

[00:07:22]

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[00:07:36]

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[00:08:05]

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[00:08:08]

I promise you, there's something for you on Audible to start your free 30 day trial, visit audible dot com slash boys club or text boys club. All one word to 500 500. Again, that's audible dot com boys club or text boys club to five hundred five hundred. From One Tree, I'm Tracy Patten with Timothy Olyphant, and this is Hollywood and Crime Billionaire Boys Club. Let's make America great again. Sound familiar? It was the slogan of Ronald Reagan's 1980 presidential campaign.

[00:09:00]

After a decade of recession and war, Americans wanted change. Former movie star in third governor of California, Reagan won the presidency twice and his trickle down economics changed the country forever. The yuppy became a symbol of the 1980s, the baby boomer with a college education, a well-paying job and very expensive taste, with them came greed, excess materialism. And in Los Angeles, a city already run by the wealthy and ambitious, a group of young men came to embody these ideals better than almost anyone.

[00:09:44]

But what they wanted was simple the riches and status they'd been promised since birth. And they'd stop at nothing to get it. Not deception, not embezzlement, not even murder. This is the story of the Billionaire Boys Club and its charismatic leader, Joe Hunt. This is the first episode in our six part series, Boy Genius.

[00:10:13]

Here's my co-host, Timothy Olyphant.

[00:10:18]

It was beautiful spring days like today that lured all the UCLA undergrads out of their dorm rooms and into the sunshine of Westwood Village in West Los Angeles. It was March 1980 and Dean Kanae was riding high. Dean was a junior, but definitely had senioritis. He wanted to be done with school being the real world. It was great being a guy like Dean at a place like UCLA.

[00:10:44]

He was slim, each blonde with a great sense of style.

[00:10:49]

Some called him a pretty boy. Dean had plans to meet up with his friend Ben Dosti at Acromion Union on campus. Ben and Dean had been best friends since they were 14. They met as freshmen at the Harvard School in Beverly Hills. Ben was shorter and stockier than Dean, but he was handsome and easygoing. Together, they were known around campus for being especially good with the ladies. No one could resist these two L.A. born and bred, good looks and family money.

[00:11:18]

It was Dean who saw Joe first. He lowered his Versace sunglasses and squinted through the crowd of students.

[00:11:26]

What are you looking at? And asks, is that Joe gansky? If Dean hadn't seen Joe for himself, he wouldn't have believed it. The last time Dean saw Joe was at high school graduation. Now he look like a completely different person. Joe must have grown six inches in the past three years, and he filled out into his long face and high cheekbones.

[00:11:47]

Joe might have been mistaken for a movie star except for his ill fitting J.C. Penney suit. His jacket was clearly too small, pants too short. He still doesn't have a clue how to dress, Dean said.

[00:12:00]

But he finally sprung for a good haircut when Joe Gansky had been their high school classmate in the exclusive Harvard School. Joe knew he didn't fit in. The other boys showed up in BMW and Mercedes wearing Italian loafers and blazers. Joe rode his Schwinn to school and dressed in worn vans and faded Levi's. Harvard was the best prep school in L.A., and it cost more than most colleges. The city's elite sent their young men there to be educated. Joe's mom was the one who suggested he apply for Harvard.

[00:12:33]

He tested at genius levels, and he wasn't being challenged at his high school. He won a full scholarship, but once he was in, he faced challenges. Joe was the smartest kid in the room, but now the poorest kid in the room at Harvard. It was real competition and they had money and cars and looks. The only thing that gave him any confidence was his intellect, and he showed it off whenever he could. Joe, played by his own rules competition, fueled his ego and now seen him again three years later, reminded Dean of Joe's desire to win at all costs, like when he was accused of cheating during a debate tournament.

[00:13:15]

Debate was a requirement for every student at Harvard School, but for Joe, debate was a calling. He was a natural, able to talk his way out of any situation. The more he did it, the better he got. He stopped relying on facts and social niceties. He would raise arguments just to see if he could win them. He usually won, but not always. Like in his final competition in 74, Joe was fuming.

[00:13:43]

How dare this kid know? This punk from Sacred Heart called him out. He was the best debater on the stage that day and everyone knew it, except this one kid who had the nerve to claim that Einstein never compared religion to science. I challenge Mr Damski Einstein quote, I believe he's falsified his evidence.

[00:14:05]

How did he know? Did he read everything Einstein had ever written?

[00:14:10]

It was a risky move to make up a quote by someone famous to bolster your argument. It was also cheating. It usually worked for Joe, but not this time. The judges confirmed the accusation. The quote was made up and the coach cut Joe from the team. Then shit really hit the fan. Joe stormed out of the gym and never looked back, the other boys just watched Dean had never really given Joe gansky another thought until now.

[00:14:41]

Well, if it isn't Dean Carney and Ben Dosti, Joe called out still best buds, I see Joe walked over and stuck out his hand. Wasn't just the difference in Joe's appearance that struck Dean, it was his demeanor, his self-confidence. Ben asked Joe what he was doing there. They'd never seen him on campus before. Joe told him he worked at a commodities firm nearby. What about you? Joe asked. Dean said they go to school at UCLA.

[00:15:11]

I graduated early USC. After chatting a bit, Joe offered to take the guys to dinner and and Dean agreed to come. Never in a million years would they have imagined that Joe, the poor, angry kid from high school, would be taking them out to dinner. This Joe was affable, friendly. Even Dean and Ben couldn't say no. Detective Les Zoller pours himself a third coffee around 11:00 a.m. He's rationing, he tries to limit his intake to a two day.

[00:15:51]

It's his job as a keeper of the peace for the Beverly Hills Police Department to be alert and ready at all times to tend to the emergencies called in each day, a cat in a tree, a towed car. This morning, Zola is hot on the case of the missing patio furniture. Zola likes Beverly Hills. It's a safe community, steady work, and the pay is OK.

[00:16:20]

On the morning of July 7th, however, an unusual call comes in.

[00:16:24]

It's an older woman says her name is Carol Levin says her son is missing. Carroll says she spoke to her son early last night. She talks to him every day. They're very close. But this morning he didn't answer the phone. He was supposed to leave for a business trip to New York and he always calls her before he travels. Then his maid called her and said he didn't pack in a panic. She rushed to his condo. Suitcases were still here, even his wallet.

[00:16:53]

I'm telling you, this is not like Ronnie at all. He always calls Zoila, tries to calm Carol down. I'm sorry, ma'am, but I can't file a report on an adult until they've been missing for at least forty eight hours. This only makes Carol more distraught. She knows her son. He calls before he gets on a plane. She insists there's been foul play. I'm sorry, Mrs. Levin. If you still haven't heard from him in two days, call me back.

[00:17:27]

Zola. OK, I'll be right there.

[00:17:32]

Another day, another barking dog complaint, Zola grabs his keys and stops to check his reflection on the way out. He's 30 years old with five years of service under his belt. The locals like Zola.

[00:17:46]

He's got boyish charm and untidy red hair and a bushy mustache he's been trying out. He straightens is Kmart tie in the mirror. The name Ron Levin rolls around in his head. It sounds familiar, but he can't place it. The dog can wait. Zola decides he puts Ron Levin in the system and gets back a rap sheet as long as the phone book. He's got felony charges for theft and fraud and a bad habit of opening bank accounts all over Los Angeles.

[00:18:21]

He uses six figure checks drawn on other accounts as initial deposits and cancels the account as soon as the checks bounce. But Levin collects passbooks showing large amounts with no withdrawals. He uses these to borrow money and move it around between fake shell companies. He's always 10 steps ahead of everyone. When he does get caught, his fancy lawyers get him out of it. Levin is an infamous con man at the Beverly Hills PD. Maybe now he's got his mom in on a scam.

[00:18:51]

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[00:18:59]

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[00:20:19]

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[00:21:11]

Joe winked as he slipped the hostess a crisp 20 the Westwood Village restaurant was packed, but Joe, Dean and Ben were seated right away. They passed a long line of rich college kids and young professionals, girls in the latest Calvin Klein knit dresses guys and Ralph Lauren summer sweaters loosely tied around their necks. The three boys got up about what they've been doing since high school. Dean and Ben ordered Long Island iced teas. What are you drinking, Joe?

[00:21:40]

Dean asked. Just mineral water. I don't drink. In fact, he didn't do drugs or smoke cigarettes or drink coffee. He said his mind has to be at peak performance at all times. Dean and Ban talked about their classes and how they both want to go to law school. Joe like the law just fine. But he said that commodities trading was where the action was and he had a knack for it. He wasn't bragging, simply stating the facts.

[00:22:09]

Joe took a long sip of mineral water and looked over his glass at Ben and Dean. They were impressed. Another round, boys, Joe said, Remember, dinner's on me. Over dessert, Joe told the guys that he'd been kicking around an idea he wanted to form an exclusive club, a consortium of companies, actually, he wanted to gather the best and brightest guys he can find, attorneys, accountants, architects, everyone would bring their individual talents to the table with Joe's skills and commodities trading.

[00:22:46]

They would build capital to fund the consortium. They'd buy up or create multiple businesses, each member in charge of their own business. But they'd all work under one umbrella. They'd be their own bosses. They'd share the profits from all the companies. It's as if Joe found the one thing Dean and Ben had been missing. We wouldn't have to climb the corporate ladder. No ass kissing, no one telling us what to do. Joe said we'd start at the top.

[00:23:17]

That sounds awesome, Dean said. Joe picked up the 288 dollar tab, Dean watched Joe slip a crisp 100 dollar bill on top of the check. Dean was blown away by who Joe had become in three short years. Dean could only imagine what he might learn from Joe, the idea of a company where they could make their own money plain by their own rules was intoxicating.

[00:23:45]

The three young men made plans to meet again. It's a Wednesday morning, Joe Hunt takes a sip of tea as he waits for the elevator in the marble lobby of the Wells Fargo building in Beverly Hills, his offices on the fifth floor.

[00:24:05]

He can see the ocean from his window. It's been a week since Joe paid his last visit to Ron Levin's condo.

[00:24:14]

Joe takes another sip of tea, but it spills. Damn, he thinks on the Armony to his favorite suit.

[00:24:22]

It's not the start to his morning he was hoping for. Hey, Joe, need a hand?

[00:24:29]

Over the last few years, Dean Carney has become Joe's shadow, his best friend and business partner whenever Joe moves. Dean is right there. I'm glad I ran into you, Joe. I have some bad news. Not here, Dean.

[00:24:44]

Let's wait till we're in the office. Joe pushes through the walnut doors of the BBC.

[00:24:52]

He named their company after his favorite bar in Chicago, the Bombay Bicycle Club, but it's taken on a new meaning with the coterie of wealthy young men the company attracts. Its jokingly referred to as the Billionaire Boys Club. Joe loves it.

[00:25:11]

He nods to the receptionist.

[00:25:14]

He takes a seat behind his imposing desk and puts his feet up. Dean begins pacing around Joe's office. Dean says this morning he got a call from the World Trade Bank. The one point five million dollar check that Levin gave Joe, the one he gave him at gunpoint, was just refused by the Swiss bank Deanne's cursing to himself. Maybe they should have March 11 to the bank and withdrawn the cash. Dean starting to panic, but Joe remains unaffected.

[00:25:45]

Dean wishes he could channel Joe's calm. Is there not enough money in the account? Joe asks. Dean takes a breath. He says it didn't clear because Levin gave the bank instructions not to pay any check that's not signed in the upper left hand corner. Fucking Levin. Joe says he screws me even from the grave. There is one more thing, Dean says. Still pacing. It's a long shot, but the bank will accept a new check.

[00:26:14]

He can see the wheels turning in Joe's head. I still have Levon's keys, he says. We go get blank checks, they'll throw a signature party. Joe says whoever can forge Levin's signature the best will get Joe's BMW for a month. We need that one point five million, Joe says, picking up the phone to call in back up to get a new check. This isn't over yet. Of course it's not. With Joe, it seems like it never ends.

[00:26:49]

August 1980, Joe collected the dirty dishes from the outdoor dining table at the Carney house as the sun set over Los Angeles.

[00:26:59]

He brought the dishes into the kitchen where Dean's mother was washing them. Dinner was delicious, Mrs. Garnett, Joe said, thank you for having me.

[00:27:08]

He was in the habit of staying over with Dean and his family more nights than not. And in a lot of ways, the carnies felt more like a family than Joe had ever known. The back deck was Joe's favorite spot. The house that high in the Hollywood Hills and Outpost Estates, the neighborhood was home to some of Hollywood's richest and most famous since the 1920s.

[00:27:31]

Joe had been spending a lot of time with Dean since he ran into him in Westwood Village four months ago, they'd become close. Dean looked up to Joe and his parents, especially Dean's mother, adored him. They thought he was ambitious and enterprising and a good influence for Dean.

[00:27:49]

He had a way of making everyone he met feel like they were the center of the universe. He pushed Dean to work harder, be kinder to his parents and more thankful for everything he had. These parents began to treat Joe like their own son.

[00:28:06]

Joe even had his own bed and Dean's room.

[00:28:09]

At night, Joe like to read thick books.

[00:28:13]

Dean preferred to listen to music. What he listening to. Dean clicked off his Walkman. Depeche Mode, he said, pulling his headphones down around his neck. It'd be so rad to see them in concert. Joe nodded and picked up his book again. That book is huge dainties, it could do some serious damage if you want to hurt someone. Joe Smilde, it's Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.

[00:28:39]

It's my favorite book. It's about a dystopian America. Private businesses suffer under restrictive laws and regulations.

[00:28:47]

Then there's a rebellion.

[00:28:48]

A bunch of people stage a coup and basically blow everything apart to get their way.

[00:28:54]

Rand believed that everyone should do their own thing, exist for themselves only. She said, no one should sacrifice themself to others or sacrifice others to themselves.

[00:29:06]

Joe said that's the kind of club he wants to form. Self-interest is the key.

[00:29:12]

Joe says that they would make the rules, they would do whatever it takes to succeed, and they'd make a shitload of money doing it.

[00:29:20]

Joe always got excited when he was talking about the club and it was infectious. Dean didn't know if it was the summer nights, Joe's conviction or the wine he had with dinner. But Dean felt like his life was changing right before his eyes. He went to sleep dreaming of power and success.

[00:29:47]

It's June 1984, Joe sits alone in his office and stares at the blank page in his typewriter, is supposed to be composing a letter to investors of the BBC, but he can't just say, dear investors, I lost all your money and need more.

[00:30:06]

Some people might, but not Joe.

[00:30:10]

He knows you have to tell people what they want to hear. The skills he honed on the debate team in school are still serving him well, although he was young and hot headed back then. Now he's learned to stay cool and composed as he convinces people. It turns out people have more respect for quiet, calm authority. Then again, it's hard to stay calm when the BBC is bleeding cash. Joe's trading skills aren't as foolproof as he led people to believe.

[00:30:41]

Joe is excellent at raising money from investors, and they think he's a wizard at trading their money on the market. But his results are inconsistent. He sends out doctored statements and pays investors quarterly profits so they believe his trading methods are winning. Quarterly profits also keep them investing. Basically, it's a Ponzi scheme, but Joe needs money now. Money for operating costs overhead in those quarterly profits. Joe was counting on the one point five dollars million from Ron Levin to be the BBC's Tunicates.

[00:31:17]

But if they can't cash Levin's check, they're screwed. It's just like Lhevinne to screw him out of his own money. Joe thinks. I write this letter to announce wonderful news from the BBC group Joe Type's My trading methods require the cloak of anonymity and we are approaching the threshold of notoriety in certain professional circles. The BBC is in danger of saturating the liquidity of the markets just good at a lot of things. But he excels in spinning bullshit with this letter.

[00:31:57]

Johs giving his investors a deadline. As of the end of the month, there will be no additional investments accepted and all profits will be dispersed to investors. He sends the letter to 60 investors. And it works within the next month, investors scramble to give as much last minute money to the whiz kid as they can. An elderly physician who already invested 15000 dollars scrapes together more. He mortgages his office building in Beverly Hills and throws in another 140000.

[00:32:35]

Joe's letter brings in the biggest single influx of investor money yet almost 300000 dollars. That should tide you over till the one point five million comes in. Just then the phone rings, it's the Swiss bank, Levon's one point five million dollar check, the new one they forged has bounced is Swiss account has a balance of thirty four francs, not even 50 bucks. Fuck you, Ron, 11. On the last day of summer, 1980, Dean pulled up to the valley at Old World on Sunset Strip.

[00:33:22]

He tossed his BMW keys to the attendant. Old World was Joe's new favorite restaurant. He reserved one of the dark paneled booths in the back so they could talk. Joe and Ben were already deep in conversation when Dean sat down. Paradoks, Joe argued, is the secret to the human condition. He said that life's lesson was that reality was situational. Morality to thou shalt not kill is a given right. Yet even homicide can be justified by self-defense.

[00:33:56]

And nodded. Dean just drank his wine. Joe loved to talk over people's heads. Sometimes Dean followed. Other times he just admired Joe's intellect. Now, Joe, turn the conversation to what he really wanted to talk about his idea for a private club of entrepreneurs, his consortium of businesses. Joe wants his club to operate on this paradox. Principle, he said. Paradox is a path to liberation. Human actions often have unintended consequences.

[00:34:28]

So why let the outside world dictate what you do?

[00:34:32]

Instead, we should do whatever we must to succeed. Joe really believed that the ends always justify the means. Dean and Ben were riveted by Joe's conviction. It was just one thing they needed. Joe said money and there was enough of that in the world to go around. How much do you think we'll need? Dean asked. Joe said one million would be a nice start. They all agreed that their strongest viable asset was Joe's ability to trade commodities.

[00:35:02]

He'd been doing so successfully in his current job. He volunteered to move to Chicago for a year or two to trade on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. They'll still need some seed money to set him up. No problem. I can get an investor, Dean said, closing his menu. Now, where's that waitress?

[00:35:19]

I'm starting. Two weeks later, Dean hug Joe as he dropped his friend off at LAX, a family friend of Dean's agreed to finance Joe's move to Chicago. Joe left L.A. with two hundred thousand dollars to get an apartment and begin trading. Call me as soon as you get settled, Dean said. I'm going to miss you. Joe was going to the trading floor in Chicago to quintuple that 200000 dollars and come back with the million dollars they needed to start their company.

[00:35:57]

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[00:37:31]

It's not good. In just one month, Joe burned through nearly all the 300000 dollars he collected from his recent letter to investors. And now without Levon's one point five million dollars on the horizon, things are looking bleak. Dean knows that Joe can fix this, but how? He needs to just go in and talk to Joe one on one.

[00:37:57]

Come on in. Joe calls out, Dean peeks his head in.

[00:38:02]

Joe beckons him to come and sit.

[00:38:07]

We're out of money, Joe. He nods at Dean. Yeah, I know, Dean stares at his hands in his lap. It's not just the money, he tells Joe. It's about morale. Members are talking about leaving the BBC. He convinces Joe to tell the group about what he did to Levon. Levin's murder is still Joe and Dean's secret. Telling all the members could be a bonding experience and pull the group together. Dean says you said it yourself.

[00:38:36]

The ends justify the means.

[00:38:38]

The BBC was founded on this philosophy. The boys just need a reminder of how far their leader will go to protect them.

[00:38:50]

Joe started trading in Chicago on November 3rd, 1980, the day before Ronald Reagan was elected president. An auspicious start, he thought he passed the mercantile written test with a perfect score. Joe would call Dean from Chicago almost every day. Joe's profits were in the five figures. By the end of his first week, everything Joe touched seemed to turn to gold. Dean's parents were impressed to Dean's father, threw money at Joe to trade, and he urged family friends to do the same.

[00:39:23]

Cash started rolling in. One hundred thousand here, a hundred and fifty thousand there. Dean pitched in his entire 4000 dollar savings, then matched Dean's investment. Dean's mother threw in one hundred and fifty thousand of her own savings. Joe would report to Dean every night on the phone. He was making a killing in Chicago.

[00:39:47]

Joe loved the thrill of high risk trading.

[00:39:51]

He made a lot of money and he lost a lot of money. But trading commodities is a crapshoot even for people who know what they're doing for Joe. It was like a weekend in Las Vegas. He was calling the shots, so he figured, why not play by his own rules? Joe figured he could make more if he traded more. So he used other people's money to trade on the floor. This was technically illegal at the Mercantile, but Joe never paid much attention to laws.

[00:40:24]

The president of the exchange found out Joe met with him and tried to charm him, then intimidate him.

[00:40:30]

It backfired. The Board of Governors kicked Joe out of the Chicago Mercantile on September 9th, 1981, nearly one year after he first arrived on the trading floor. He was forbidden to trade there for 10 years. When Dean picked him up from LAX a few days later, Joe said he was broke. He told Dean he lost everything trading on the Chicago Mercantile. He didn't mention being kicked out. Dean was silent. Joe insisted it wasn't his fault, but he lost half a million dollars of other people's money.

[00:41:12]

Dean furrowed brow. How would he tell his parents? Joe and Dean sat on the deck of Dean's parents house, they dangled their legs off the edge of the deck and Dean got high and looked out over Los Angeles. This is just one obstacle to told Dean. Are they going to let just one setback stop them the way they're destined for greatness if he can just raise a little capital?

[00:41:41]

Joe said he planned on trading commodities again in L.A..

[00:41:45]

Either way, Joe thinks they should start the club they talked about. Even without capital. They know a ton of rich guys that went to school with them. They just need to recruit wealthy members who can solicit investors. I want to call the club the BBC. Joe said there was a bar in Chicago. I hung out at the Bombay Bicycle Club. I had my fair share of bad days in Chicago, but more good days than bad. I felt like I had a purpose there.

[00:42:16]

I want our new club to feel the same. Oh, and by the way, I changed my last name to Hunt went a few days ago. Why the name hunt sounds important, Easthope people might mistaken for a member of the H.L. Hunt family, one of the wealthiest oil dynasties in history, what Joe didn't tell Dean is that he needed to distance himself from the fiasco in Chicago. Getting kicked out of the mercantile and banned from trading there for 10 years was something he wanted to forget.

[00:42:51]

And wanted other people to forget to. On the evening of June 24th, 1984, Joe calls a meeting for 10 members of the BBC and selected for their loyalty and trustworthiness, Joe knows that this meeting will mark a turning point. It's crowded in the living room of Joe and Dean's posh Beverly Hills condo. Dean stands off to the side and watches as all the boys mingle. Jim Graham, the BBC's bodyguard, is whispering something to Joe Daems, a big guy, African-American, built like a linebacker.

[00:43:31]

But he's only five eight to Joe six five.

[00:43:34]

He almost looks small. Joe clears his throat and waits for the room to quiet. We'll be discussing some very serious matters today. Joe makes eye contact with each boy, one at a time, as if daring them to flinch, he reports on the BBC's current financial condition. Their commodity accounts are depleted. Joe says he took high risks with his trading in an attempt to cover their losses from some of their companies. I have not given up on the BBC, Joe says, and neither should you.

[00:44:09]

We've discussed many times how we achieve greatness. We take risks. We do what's necessary to succeed.

[00:44:17]

Now, what you're about to hear is difficult. Dean holds his breath with his higher level of information comes responsibility. Joe takes a pause to let his words sink in.

[00:44:31]

It's so quiet in the room, Dean can hear the refrigerator humming from the kitchen. Anybody who does not want to take on this responsibility can leave the room right now. No one even thinks about moving. No one questions their devotion. Then you've sealed your fate. There's no going back. The silence is so loud, Dean feels like his head will explode.

[00:45:00]

Jim and I knocked off Ron Levin. He won't be bothering us again. No one breathes Joe's words hang in the air. Someone asks Joe how he got Levin to sign the check. Let's just say Levin was under a little duress at the time.

[00:45:20]

Joe says Levin was a bad character who cheated them out of millions of dollars. Someone else asks how they knocked Levin off.

[00:45:29]

Joe tells them not to worry about the gory details. But I'll tell you this. It was the perfect crime and there's no way we'll get caught. We someone asks where all part of the murder now, Joe says, and we have a responsibility to keep our mouths shut. Dean looks around at the group gathered in his living room. He feels an immense sense of relief now that this secret is out. This was an act of self-preservation.

[00:46:01]

If you truly believe in the BBC's philosophy, Joe said, you already understand that. Next time on Billionaire Boys Club, Joe and Dean lead recruiting efforts and land on a new target, Harriet Islamiyya, an Iranian government official who escaped an oppressive regime with a huge nest egg. And lucky for Joe Harriot, son is desperate to join unlucky for Joe. His son doesn't have access to any of his father's money. They come up with a plot to force it out of him or die trying.

[00:46:39]

This is episode one of six in Billionaire Boys Club from Hollywood and Crime. If you like our show, please give us a five star rating and a review and be sure to tell your friends. Subscribe on Apple podcast, Spotify, the Wonder App or wherever you're listening right now. Join 100 plus in the Wonderly app to listen ad free. You'll also find some links and offers from our sponsors and the episode notes supporting them helps us keep offering our shows for free.

[00:47:08]

Another way you can support the show is by filling out a small survey at Wonderings dot com slash survey. And just a quick note about our scenes. In most cases, we can't know exactly what was said, but everything in our show is based on historical research. I'm your host, Tracy Patton.

[00:47:26]

This episode is written by Michael Selvidge and produced and edited by Leah Sutherland, recorded by Julianne Nicholson at The Invisible Studios, West Hollywood Sound Design by James Morgan and Kyle Randall for Bay Area Sound. Executive producers are Marshall Louis, Stephanie Jenns and Ernan Lopez for wondering.