hank lee out of jail

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Rick Ruhl
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hank lee out of jail

Postby Rick Ruhl » September 22nd, 2014, 4:49 pm

Looks like he got released last Thursday...

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby Richard Kaufman » September 22nd, 2014, 5:07 pm

I hear he's thinking of getting back into business as a magic dealer.
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billmccloskey
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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby billmccloskey » September 22nd, 2014, 5:55 pm

I hear I won't be giving him my credit card. :)

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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby NYCJoePItt » September 22nd, 2014, 6:26 pm

If you happen to hear that he is starting up a new business under an alias name, please let us know so we can avoid him like the plague. Thanks.

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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby Richard Kaufman » September 22nd, 2014, 6:44 pm

I wasn't making a joke. I think he should seek a new line of work--flipping burgers at McDonald's would be a good start.
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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby jason156 » September 22nd, 2014, 7:54 pm

Seems like a bad idea, kinda like a recovering alcoholic getting a job as a bartender.

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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby Richard Kaufman » September 22nd, 2014, 8:08 pm

Actually it doesn't matter what the job is, if it entails handling people's credit cards in any way.

Seriously, is there anyone who would give Hank Lee a credit card number?
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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby magicrobharv » September 22nd, 2014, 9:47 pm

Don't forget Richard, you hit the nail on the head. Hank Lee said to hold onto your Magic Factory gift cards for later use. You called him on that garbage, then he sold his entire magic inventory to someone else. Gift cards now worthless. Just that act alone makes him the last person in the world I would buy magic from.

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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby Carlo Morpurgo » September 22nd, 2014, 9:49 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Actually it doesn't matter what the job is, if it entails handling people's credit cards in any way.

Seriously, is there anyone who would give Hank Lee a credit card number?


I would. (well maybe not... ;) )
Last edited by Carlo Morpurgo on September 23rd, 2014, 9:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby Syd » September 22nd, 2014, 10:20 pm

Richard,

McDonald's accepts credit cards so I think that too is a bad idea.

I'm willing to bet he tries his hand back in the business.
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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby Rick Ruhl » September 22nd, 2014, 10:33 pm

Doesnt he still owe you money, Richard?

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jjsanvert
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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby jjsanvert » September 23rd, 2014, 3:41 am

I did not know he was in jail. How long and for what?

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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby Dustin Stinett » September 23rd, 2014, 4:24 am

Over a period of several years, Hank Lee charged the credit card of a very wealthy client and magic aficionado for products that were never ordered. It added up to a very significant amount of money. He pleaded guilty to credit card fraud and went to federal prison. Apparently he has been released but I would suspect that he will be on some form of probation for a period of time.

Here is a short article about it.

http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Noted_magic ... al_charges

By the way, though many know who the victim is, here at the Genii Forum we have tried to keep his name out of these discussions per his request.

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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby AJM » September 23rd, 2014, 5:11 am

Yes I'm sure he would wish to keep it quiet given, despite his wealth, he clearly had no control whatsoever over his personal finances.
A fool and his money etc etc..
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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby Bill Mullins » September 23rd, 2014, 8:13 am

The person involved is no fool -- his accomplishments in several areas belie that pretty quick. He's someone who has worked hard and got a little luck. And a nice guy as well.

He trusted someone who took advantage of that trust and stole from him. I hope that never happens to you.

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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby Carlo Morpurgo » September 23rd, 2014, 9:22 am

I understand it was a very bad crime, but given his profile (other than that crime) and given that he's paid the price for his crime, shouldn't he be given a second chance?
I guess maybe I don't know the guy well enough other than what I've read here and there....

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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby NCMarsh » September 23rd, 2014, 9:36 am

A second vote that the individual involved is far from a fool. Brilliant, bold, kind, innovative. You don't wish this on any one, but when I heard who was targeted I was even more outraged.

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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby AJM » September 23rd, 2014, 9:42 am

I know know who he is and what's he's achieved - so I'm sure he's feeling rather sheepish after letting this fraud take place over such an extended period. Could have nipped it in the bud a whole lot sooner if he, or heaven's above his accountant, had just checked his credit card statements one on a while.
Almost deserved to be in the same cell as Mr Lee on account of his stupidity.
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Bob Cunningham
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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby Bob Cunningham » September 23rd, 2014, 9:49 am

Carlo Morpurgo wrote:shouldn't he be given a second chance?


"The quality of mercy is not strained … " Your inclination to show mercy to Mr. Lee does you credit.

But wasn’t his very short prison sentence (for $500,000 in credit card fraud) already a huge display of mercy?

More importantly, he has a second chance to live out the rest of his life in freedom. That’s a pretty big second chance!

A second chance to be trusted with peoples money? Remember what an on-line magic transaction is. The magic dealer describe a trick (the customer relies on the dealer to be reasonably honest in the description), the customer sends money to the magic dealer (the customer relies on the dealer to be honest in his/her handling of the money) the magic dealer ships the product to the customer (the customer relies on the dealer to be reasonably prompt and careful in the shipment). All of this requires a great deal of trust!

Mr. Lee flagrantly, repeatedly and criminally violated that trust. Trust is earned. The first step for a thief to demonstrate his changed character and re-earn broken trust is restitution! Let Mr. Lee pay back ALL of his creditors and customers.

Unfortunately, Mr. Lee is of an age that he probably does no have enough years left to earn back his good name.

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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby billmccloskey » September 23rd, 2014, 10:28 am

"given that he's paid the price for his crime, shouldn't he be given a second chance?"


The short answer is absolutely not. One strike and you are out when it comes to robbery. Once a thief, always a thief.

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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby Bill Mullins » September 23rd, 2014, 10:39 am

AJM wrote:Almost deserved to be in the same cell as Mr Lee on account of his stupidity.


I kind of think we should reserve jail cells for people who actually commit crimes, rather than those who fail to meet AJM's standards of personal finance management.

But that's just me.

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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby Ted M » September 23rd, 2014, 11:44 am

jjsanvert wrote:I did not know he was in jail. How long and for what?


Background on Hank Lee's case and sentencing:

Short version:
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/magic-store ... pe-prison/

A longer account:
http://patch.com/massachusetts/medford/ ... tory-owner

Neither account addresses the large number of mail-order customers whose credit cards were routinely charged for out-of-stock items "on backorder" which would never be restocked and would never be shipped.

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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby Richard Kaufman » September 23rd, 2014, 12:07 pm

All that we may discuss here is the crime for which Hank Lee was convicted.

There doesn't need to be any criticism of the victim for not double-checking his credit card records.

The story is, I think, more complicated than published records indicate. The victim, I have heard, offered to settle for a fraction of the amount owed and Hank Lee refused. The victim only went to the police after that. Give the victim some credit: he tried to be a really nice guy about it. Give Hank Lee no credit: he lied, lied, lied, and lied again.
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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby Chris Aguilar » September 23rd, 2014, 12:09 pm

A lot of very wealthy folks like Lord British, having their own accountants/money managers/etc. are not always in the loop with their day to day expenditures. I think it's odd (and not very appropriate) that some blame him for being victimized.

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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby erdnasephile » September 23rd, 2014, 12:58 pm

I have mixed feelings about this.

I can totally understand the outrage of the people he ripped off and lied to. I have been stolen from by a couple prominent names in magic (a couple have my money even now). Frankly, Hank was not one of my favorite magic dealers for the reasons many have cited.

However, by serving his prison term he has paid his debt to society (whether or not we feel the punishment fit the crime, he has paid his debt as far as the legal system is concerned, restitution notwithstanding.)

Also, with respect, the "once a crook, always a crook" mantra is certainly not always true. While recidivism is a huge problem, there are many success stories of people who were jailed, yet used the experience to turn their lives around. Just because someone has been convicted and sent to jail does that mean they have no hope of ever contributing in a meaningful way to society?

I'm no Pollyanna, as I deal with violent offenders on a weekly basis--some of whom are ridiculously horrible people who have committed the most heinous of acts. I am, therefore, acutely aware of the sinful nature of man, and how evil people can be.

However, I truly hope that Hank uses this experience to repent, to pay back what he stole, and to use the rest of his life for good.

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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby magicrobharv » September 23rd, 2014, 1:11 pm

I think TED M said it best. It was more than just a single wealthy customer that was ripped off. Many average magicians, like myself, were treated very badly by Hank Lee. It was not uncommon to order something in winter and in the middle of spring you finally received what you had paid for. Years ago I ordered Roth's Rosin (a coin palming aid) and it took forever to receive it. When I called about it, I was told David Roth was in Europe, they were having trouble getting a hold of him to get some more of the Roth's Rosin (which is excellent by the way), blah, blah, blah, excuse, excuse, excuse. The crazy thing was I BELIEVED HIM. I TRUSTED HIM (and those who worked for Hank Lee) to tell me the truth about my order. Never again.

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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby Ted M » September 23rd, 2014, 1:21 pm

erdnasephile wrote:However, by serving his prison term he has paid his debt to society (whether or not we feel the punishment fit the crime, he has paid his debt as far as the legal system is concerned, restitution notwithstanding.)


Hank Lee was only punished for the multi-millionaire from whom he stole a large sum of money. My point is that he was not charged or tried for the many, many smaller customers from whom he routinely stole smaller sums.

His many additional acts of theft have gone without punishment, redress, or even, for the most part, acknowledgement.

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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby MManchester » September 23rd, 2014, 2:24 pm

Perhaps not something that can be addressed here, but I wonder why the conditions of his release didn't include a restriction from opening a business that involves processing credit card transactions, if in fact that's what he's planning to do. There are many forms of employment. It's not exactly comparable, but child abusers are often prevented from having contact with minors. It seems logical to prevent credit card frauds from having access to credit cards.
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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby JHostler » September 23rd, 2014, 2:28 pm

There seems to be a creepily unhealthy obsession with Hank Lee here. He's out. Who cares? If he deals again, no one is forcing you to buy.

Regarding delayed orders etc. etc., he never struck me as significantly worse than the bulk of magic dealers (a decent percentage of whom could be fairly described as "shady"). Personally, I always got exactly what I ordered with no problems.
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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby billmccloskey » September 23rd, 2014, 2:36 pm

" Just because someone has been convicted and sent to jail does that mean they have no hope of ever contributing in a meaningful way to society?"

Sure, they can. They can do all sorts of things to contribute in a meaningful way to society. they just can't be trusted again with other people's money or working in a retail environment. While the mantra once a thief, always a thief might be harsh and unfair, it will prevent you from getting ripped off by the same guy twice. The fact is that once you breach a buyer/seller trust, there is no going back. It is one of the permanent effects of doing crime, which is one of the reasons most people don't do it.

Once trust is gone, it is gone. and Hank should never be trusted again. period.

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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby billmccloskey » September 23rd, 2014, 2:36 pm

"There seems to be a creepily unhealthy obsession with Hank Lee here. "

an unfortunate bi-product of being a thief.

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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby JHostler » September 23rd, 2014, 3:28 pm

billmccloskey wrote:Once trust is gone, it is gone.


Ummm... OK. [Insert snarky remark about living such a saintly life etc.]
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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby Thurston » September 23rd, 2014, 3:59 pm

I do not condone what Hank did. However I do hope he has re-aligned his priorites and is able to move forward in life. He has a wife and two sons that deserve that.

Many of my best magic memories involve Hank indirectly... time spent with friends at the Conclaves, flipping through the Magic Factory catalogs as a young guy, having my first trick on the market.

That does not excuse what he did obviously but I would give him a second chance. I understand I am clearly in the minority here, but that's OK.

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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby billmccloskey » September 23rd, 2014, 4:21 pm

"Insert snarky remark about living such a saintly life etc."

Not a saintly life, but I've never stolen anything from anyone or ripped anyone off.

I have actually witnessed a number of predators who take advantage of a closed community for years because the community always says, give the guy the benefit of the doubt, give the guy a second chance. And as a result the thief is able to continue on ripping people off.

You don't have to live a saintly life in order to NOT STEAL from people.

Why anyone in their right mind would give this thief a second chance is beyond me.

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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby Dustin Stinett » September 23rd, 2014, 4:40 pm

Forgiveness is an admirable, and uniquely human, quality. Like all other emotional responses, each of us has a different capacity for it. That does not make one person better than the other; just different. I see no need to attack each other over it.

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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby billmccloskey » September 23rd, 2014, 5:57 pm

Forgiveness and trust are two vastly different things. I have no need to forgive him because I didn't get ripped off. Forgiveness (or not) is for those who have been harmed. However trusting someone who has gone to prison for a crime...sorry, not going to happen.

My personally philosophy runs much more to buddhism. Karma's a bitch.

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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby GlennWest » September 23rd, 2014, 6:11 pm

billmccloskey is to this thread, as Chris Aguilar is to the Hollingworth thread.

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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby Carlo Morpurgo » September 23rd, 2014, 7:33 pm

billmccloskey wrote:"Insert snarky remark about living such a saintly life etc."

Not a saintly life, but I've never stolen anything from anyone or ripped anyone off.

I have actually witnessed a number of predators who take advantage of a closed community for years because the community always says, give the guy the benefit of the doubt, give the guy a second chance. And as a result the thief is able to continue on ripping people off.

You don't have to live a saintly life in order to NOT STEAL from people.

Why anyone in their right mind would give this thief a second chance is beyond me.


I am curious, is this very strict moral attitude of yours applying just as well to other situations where trust becomes an issue, or just when stealing money is involved?

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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby Chris Aguilar » September 23rd, 2014, 7:37 pm

Image

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Re: hank lee out of jail

Postby JHostler » September 23rd, 2014, 7:45 pm

Everyone "steals" to one degree or another, in one form or another (time, taxes, Thanksgiving leftovers, etc.). Everyone does something to compromise trust at some point in their lifetime. Pretty much anyone who drives to work breaks the law on a daily basis. Good grief... who CAN you trust?

I'm not defending Hank... simply noting one of the more depressing aspects of an overly Puritanic approach to life.
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