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Crossing the Line

A Fraudster's Lessons



January/February 2010

 

  

2010-JanFeb-Crossing the Line 

 

Frances Ellen always wanted enough money to be able to make choices. Unfortunately, she and her partner chose poorly. They used illegal practices in their investment firm to make lots of cash for their investors. But their lies eventually destroyed their business and sent them to prison.

More than 25 years later, Ellen ponders on the lessons she’s giving others.  

 

 

Entrepreneurs are an interesting breed. Most of them are ambitious, motivational, and even inspirational at times. But some can be grandiose, self-centered, and, sometimes, criminal.  

“There’s a fine line between the spirit of an entrepreneur and a con man – a very fine line,” says Frances Ellen. 

 

  

 

Ellen was convicted with her business partner in 1983 of tax and securities offenses in their Los Angeles investment firm. They lost $13 million of their investors’ money when their firm collapsed. She served three months of a one-year prison sentence, worked 1,000 hours of community service, and was fined $3,500.  

 

 

 

 

 


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