The Defrauded Famous | Billy Joel and Dane Cook

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Caleb: I'm not really into poetry, but I found a good one that felt appropriate for this episode On celebrities. It's called Fame is a Bee by Emily Dickinson. And I'm going to read it because it's very short. Fame is a bee. It has a song. It has a sting or two. It has a wing. It's. And just like all other poetry, I go, I think I get it, but I probably don't. Yeah, that's it. Fame is a bee. It has a song. It has a sting or two. It has a wing. So, yeah, fame is fleeting, right? Okay. Yeah. Is the big is the big takeaway. Yeah, but also the sting. Right? Okay. Yeah. Fame and celebrity are great, but they come with some downsides. Yeah. You know, there's a price. There's a price to celebrity that I think. Sure, that's pretty easy to see. I think one of the biggest downsides, well, at least it's appropriate for this show is that it can attract some unscrupulous characters to your orbit. Yeah. People who will take advantage of you or make you feel insecure so that you feel like you need them. Okay. That level of dependency and trust can put famous people in very vulnerable situations, situations that can make them susceptible to. Yeah. Fraud.

Greg: If you'd like to earn CPE credit for listening to this episode, visit Earmark Cpcomm. Download the app, take a short quiz and get your CPE certificate. Continuing education has never been so easy. And now on to the episode.

Caleb: This is all my Fraud. A true crime podcast where instead of murder, most foul. We have numbers. Most false. I'm Caleb Newquist. And I'm Greg Kyte. Greg, should we read a review? Absolutely. I love reading reviews. Here's one that was actually left on the earmark app. It says, quote, The nonprofessional cursing throughout the podcast was unnecessary. There's enough interest in the topic alone. I may curse, but it's not a great presentation of the profession to include it in a, quote, professional unquote education class. And that was followed by them leaving us exactly one star. Why? Yeah, right. I agree that the non professional cursing was unnecessary, but fortunately, as we have discussed, Greg, like 99% of our cursing is very fucking professional. So, so, so goddamn professional. Also, I like how they said that there's enough interest in the topic alone without the cursing. But I like to think that at least 5% of our listeners don't care at all about the fraud, and they're just listening because they're swear enthusiasts. I am not kidding you. I am. I am not making this up. I have had multiple people, which is more than to say to me that they like the way that I say fuck and I am. And I don't know what it is like, whatever. I mean, I've been cursing a long time and I've been and I will say I have also been paid to curse for now going on. Yeah, probably close to 15 years.

Caleb: So like. That's true. It is. It is professional cursing reviewer of this podcast. Yeah. Yeah you are. You are. If you're getting paid to do it, you're a pro. So there you go. Yeah. Anyway, we love getting reviews, even the one star ones. So so whether you're but we we much prefer the, you know the five star variety. But anyway, if you're a fraud enthusiast or a swear enthusiast, leave us a rating and a review on Apple or Spotify. Wherever you listen to the podcast, leave us a review there or a rating and we much appreciate it. Yeah, do it. Greg. We share a strange characteristic, don't we? Yes, we are both swear enthusiasts. Yes, but that's not what I meant. Oh, did you meant that we're both hardcore Disney adults? No, no, never mind. Just me, do you not? I mean, maybe I'm a Pixar adult. Don't. Is that a. I don't know. It's like a subgenre. Okay, well, no, wait, wait, wait, wait. I know what it is. It's. It's the lactose intolerance, right? And which is okay, because we both agreed to never eat Ben and Jerry's on days that we record, So that's. No, no, that's not it. Um, what I was referring to is that we enjoy. I don't know if that's the right word. We enjoy some. Yeah, we, we or we have some low level fame. I think you may enjoy a little bit more local fame as a as a stalwart comedian in the Greater Salt Lake City area.

Caleb: But what I'm actually referring to is our low level fame in the accounting profession. Yeah. And yes, I would I would agree with you, but I also have to emphasize that it's an extremely low level of fame because because I think you didn't you I remember you saying that you were kind of proud that you felt like you sort of coined the phrase accounting famous. I didn't coin that. What's that? You did I No, come on. No, that wasn't me. But. But you embraced it, and and. And the whole idea of accounting famous is also synonymous with. So not famous. Yeah. And and but but, yes, there have been a couple of times that that I have met people for the first time and they've kind of geeked out meeting me. Yeah, they've been podcast listeners but but they also pulled it together pretty quickly, you know, after realizing how extremely low the level of accounting fame was. Yeah. So and it was and I don't know if you, if you get the same when you do kind of feel that vibe coming off of somebody, it's I don't know the right word. It's not disconcerting. It's just it's but it's definitely surprising. You're kind of going, huh? You're. Yeah, you're. You're feeling weird to meet me. Yeah. Oh, well, all right. You know. Yeah, it's. I have. I have, uh, several encounters that are people who either were introduced to me or saw my name on a name tag or just recognized me for.

Caleb: And again, unsure how. But I you know, it used to be I try not to be dismissive because in the cases where they're excited, I'm like, Oh, they're having a nice time. I don't want to like, I don't want to I don't want to rain on their parade. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's flattering. It's nice. You don't want to be super. It's super flattering. And I think it's also it's one of those things where I remember someone I don't remember who said this, but the, the right level of fame is where when you go someplace and lots of and, and people know you're going to be there and then they show up to see you because you're going to do whatever it is that you do. But then you can walk out of that place and go to Whole Foods and people won't recognize it. Right? It's just totally fine. Right? Right. You know, if you're Mike, if you're Michael Jordan, you can't fucking leave the house, right? Yeah. Leonardo DiCaprio doesn't get to be a Disney adult, right? That's just not. That's the sting of fame. Thanks, Emily Dickinson. You're absolutely correct. Yeah. But anyway, rather than continue talking about our petty celebrity, Greg, I thought we could talk about some real celebrities. Yeah. Specifically those who have been victims of fraud. The celebrity.

Caleb: Billy Joel, singer, songwriter, drinker, maybe a heavy drinker. You know the piano man. Greg, are you a fan of Billy Joel? No, I am. I am unequivocally not a Billy Joel enthusiast. If if I was if I was a listener of our podcast, I'd probably stop listening to this podcast knowing that Billy Joel was part of the topic of this episode. I, I can't say I've ever actually left a business establishment. When Billy Joel started playing on their speakers as background music. I have left a store when Neil Diamond came on, so he's Billy Joel's maybe not the bottom of the list, but he's pretty damn close. You got it. I this. This rings a bell for me. If you listen to episode 36 of Oh, my God, it is about Selena, the Tejano icon. And there is a discussion about Greg's intense dislike of Billy Joel and a few other artists that I'm not going to spoil. You should go back and listen to episode 36. But in any case, this this this is now all coming back to me. Yeah. Anyway. Billy Joel. So, Greg noted, Greg's dislike has been noted for the record, but we, we have a we have a show to do, so I'm going to press on. I'm a professional. I'm not. I'm Yeah, I, like, quit the podcast right now, right? Yeah. Caleb I just can't do this. I can't work like this. Not with this. You're on your own.

Caleb: All right. Billy Joel first rose to fame in the 1970s with his second studio album, Piano Man, and then his breakout fifth album, The Stranger. In 1977. From 1971 to 1993, he released 12 albums in total. He's one of the world's best selling musical artists, with over 160 million albums sold worldwide. He has many hit songs that you've no doubt heard. Yeah. Uh, the Piano Man. Just the way you Are. Only the Good Die Young. Uptown Girl. River of Dreams. Oh, my God. There's countless Billy Joel songs. Everyone knows I went onto iTunes because you know how you can listen to just a snippet of the songs. Yeah, right there. Because I. Because I was convinced that there was a Billy Joel song that I that I was like, That's a good one. And I couldn't find it. So it might so I might just be wrong that there it was funny. I was like going, Yeah, I know this one. Yeah, I'm familiar with this one. Yep, I've heard this one and I just listened to enough of it to go. Still hate, hate, hate it, hate it, hate it. Yeah. And then I gave up and I was like, I don't. Maybe there's not one. Oh, well, sorry, Greg. Yeah, I mean, anyway, but, but, but as you said, they're all familiar. I mean you'll. Yeah, he's guy the guy, the guy ubiquitous. He wrote a lot of hit songs, a lot of pop records, a lot of pop pop hits.

Caleb: He he also had a very successful touring career. He was one of the first US artists to play in the Soviet Union when they lifted the ban on rock music. I didn't even know. I guess I forgot that that was a thing. But yeah, they didn't have rock music in the Soviet Union for a long time. Yeah. For those of you too young to know what the Soviet Union is, Jesus, go read a book. Okay. Yeah. But welcome. We're glad that you're here. But yeah, we're glad you're listening to the podcast. Um, you fucking imbecile. We're so glad you're here. Go to a history class. As of this recording, we're recording this in August of 2000, 2023. He is still playing monthly concerts at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Yeah. Yep, he is. And my wife. My wife has seen him at Madison Square Garden in New York City. And from what I can tell, some of the fans are they do not appreciate the people standing oh for the show sit down. Didn't come here to get exercise. Yeah yeah I that was one of her big takeaways from the show. That's awesome. I, I did a quick I did a quick Google of of his concerts and apparently with these the Madison the monthly Madison Square Garden residency he he makes $2 million per show. Yeah. So he's not there that doesn't 2 million bucks a month for one show Not a bad gig And and maybe this will improve Mr.

Caleb: Joel's standing in the eyes of one Gregory Kite. It is my understanding that he leaves a couple of the I think either the first row or the first few rows of those shows. He leaves them empty and he brings people from the nosebleeds, I think, Oh, to put them into the front row or something like that. It seems it is some kind of like, you know, you know, like there is something about those first few rows at his shows that he he ends up filling with. People that are in the way back or something, Right? See, and that might sound altruistic to some. To me, it sounds desperate. Where? Uh, I understand. No one's willing to pay the money to sit in the front row of a Billy Billy Joel concert. So I'll take. I'll take you. You people who clearly, for whatever reason, desperately want to see me, even though you can only see me on the Jumbotron and bring you up here. All right. So needless to say, Billy Joel Rapp, a couple cars around. A couple of trees, too, in Long Island. Yeah, He's had. He's had his share of bad driving incidents. Yeah, Yeah, for sure. Motorcycle wrecks, all kinds of stuff. Yeah. Anyway, needless to say, when you sell 160 million albums and have many hit songs and a very successful touring career, uh, you have made some money.

Caleb: Yeah, quite a lot, actually. Yes. Anyway, during the early years of his career, Billy Joel began a relationship with a woman named Elizabeth Weber. Small, small issue with this relationship was that Elizabeth's was then married to Billy Joel's former bandmate, John Small. Uh huh. Yikes. Yeah. Small matter. Yeah. When the affair was discovered, Elizabeth left both of them, but then she reconciled with Joel later on, and they were married in 1973. And oddly, she became his manager. Yeah. Wow, That's. That sounds, uh, exhausting. Yeah. As as as as Greg and I are experienced in the in the Institute of Marriage, so that. Well, I'm just saying my wife is the boss, no doubt about it. But in a professional context, she's not. So, you know, there's some relief there. And I just I mean, just this the scandal and the reconciliation and then all of that, that just sounds like oof, that's that's the part of the biopic that would be tough to sit through right where you're just. Yeah, you're and you're kind of shaking your head like, oh, I this is going to go wrong. Right? Right. You don't you don't badly for him. You don't need a literary style foreshadowing to just go. Okay, Yeah. All right. Let's see how this plays out. Yeah. According to a New York Post account of a Billy Joel biography from 2014, lots of people around him considered Elizabeth, uh, quote, controlling, manipulative, rude, and far more enthralled with the rock and roll lifestyle than Joel.

Caleb: Wait, wait, wait. Which means she was more enthralled with the rock and roll lifestyle than she was enthralled with Billy Joel. It seems to be. Yeah. Okay. Or that she was, I mean, either way or that she was more enthralled than the rock and roll lifestyle than Joel was enthralled with the rock and roll lifestyle. I think he was pretty enthralled with the rock and roll. So too, he seems like he seems pretty into it, especially like you see old pictures of him from the 70s and he wears like fur coats and stuff and like, Yeah, it's like he's enjoying himself for sure. Yeah, but maybe she just enjoyed herself even that much more. I don't know. Right. Enjoyed the trappings. You bet. And I'm sure there's plenty of trappings to enjoy. Indeed. In 1982, I'm fast forwarding a bit, but in 1982, the couple filed for divorce. What? Yes. I thought nine years, though. Yeah, nine years. Nine years. That's a run for a for a rock. For a rock star. That's. That's till death do us part. Basically. Yeah. Uh, that same New York Post article said that when Joel was in the hospital after a motorcycle accident. Uh huh. Uh, Elizabeth Quote came to visit. Contract in hand, Joel recalls her asking him to sign everything he had over to her, end of quote. Wow. So, like the divorce.

Caleb: The divorce papers, while he's hooked up to a to a heart machine. Yeah. In a in a body cast or something. Yeah, that's what I'm seeing. Yeah. Anyway, Elizabeth's brother, Frank Weber, who had been working for the couple, sided with Joel in the divorce and became his manager when the couple eventually separated. In August 1989, just before Joel was releasing his 11th studio album, Stormfront, he fired Frank Weber after an audit of Joel's finances revealed some serious discrepancies. Okay. Yeah. Joel sued Weber for $90 million, 30 million in compensatory damage and 60 million in punitive damages. Wow. Alleging fraud and breach of fiduciary duty. And this is a 1989. I mean, 99 million. Nine is a lot of money in $2,023 in 1989. Money That's that's back when when state lotteries were just starting off and everybody was like, oh, if I won $1 million in the lottery, oh, I would be set. I'd be the richest guy for the rest of my life. Totally. And these days, these days, people, if you if they win a million bucks, they're like, I gotta stay. Keep working. Right. He's just like, Is this even? But, but back then he's suing the guy for. And let me let me see if I can pick that apart because this is what I'm reading in there. So 30 million of compensatory damages basically means you stole $30 million from me, give me my $30 million back and then correct.

Caleb: The 60 million in punitive is like you're also just a bad person. And because you're such a bad person, I'm demanding that you pay me an extra $60 million for just being an asshole. Also. Correct. Okay. You have it. You have it exactly right. Perfect. Yep. A September 1989 report from the Los Angeles Times listed a sampling of the allegations, which included. First, a 2.5 million in loans were given without Joel's knowledge or authorization to various horse breeding and real estate partnerships and other businesses controlled by Frank. Okay. Frank Weber lost more than 10 million of Joel's money in investments of a highly speculative nature, many of which involved Webber's own companies. Hoof Weber, double billed Joel for his music videos, cheated him on expenses, including travel and accounting fees, and mortgaged Joel's copyrights for $15 million without disclosing it. On Billy Joel's financial statements. And finally caused phony financial statements to be issued to Billy Joel, which painted an unrealistic picture of his finances and the value of his investments and failed to reflect liabilities, guarantees, loans and mortgages. So there's a lot going on there. There is a lot of which. Here this is this is certainly this is gross mismanagement at the least. Yeah. Or at at best, it is gross mismanagement and at worst, probably fraud, wouldn't you say? Oh. Oh, yeah. Well, well, it's absolutely fraud. I mean, once once we're saying that there's things that aren't being disclosed on Joel's financial statements and phony financial statements and that there's things that are happening without Joel's knowledge or authorization.

Caleb: Yeah, I mean, I'm saying all that stuff is, is that's a that'd be a breach of of fiduciary duty. Fiduciary duty. Absolutely. Yeah. And and again, because you got to. Because, because, I mean, if we really want to get technical about fraud, the way I understand it from a criminal perspective is it's not just that you it's beyond mismanaging money. It's not just that you you know, that you made some bad bets. Right. Right. Like like you said that there was what? What? He lost more than $10 million on highly speculative investments. And it's like that's one thing where it's like, okay, we're risking a lot. And they were bad bets and we lost a bunch of money that that happens to people. But but it's it's it's like they were highly speculative because it was going into my companies that I was doing moonshots with. Then you go okay so you did intend to actually divert these funds to your there was scienter is the specific right which is like criminal intent. So right. And like and like you said, I think the the idea that he borrowed against Joel's copyrights. Yeah. $15 million and then didn't tell him right. So then not only did he used an asset that didn't belong to him, borrowed money against it, and then just didn't tell the person who actually owned the asset.

Caleb: Yeah, exactly. That that that's. That's beyond shady I suppose. Yeah. Yeah. It's beyond it's definitely beyond mismanagement. And I guess that's the thing is beyond mismanagement is probably. Yeah. Is what I mean to say. Yeah. And if and if things go to and I would have to assume when things went to court but I think this was settled out of court ultimately. Yes. Which we will get to here in a second. But but if it were to go to court, that would be the entire argument that the defense would make was it's like this. He wasn't trying to rip him off. He was just trying to take care of business. And he was that was what he was put in charge of, was taking care of business. And then they're like taking care of business. Wasn't even a Billy Joel song. That was a Bachman Turner Overdrive, correct? Ultimately, Frank Weber declared bankruptcy in 1990, so it wasn't even that long. And Billy Joel was only able to recoup about $8 Million in a settlement out of court. There was a bunch of lawsuits that went on concurrently or in the aftermath of this. Frank Weber, Frank Weber, excuse me, sued Billy Joel and his then wife, Christie Brinkley. Both of those were dismissed. Joel sued his former accountants and former lawyers, according to everything I could find. None of this really amounted to much except lawyers getting rich. Right? That's what it sounds like.

Caleb: Yeah. A lot of a lot of lawyers sending bills. Yeah. Nice work, Lawyers. Exactly. Actually. But there is one thing. The second song on Billy Joel's River of Dreams album is entitled The Great Wall of China, and that is about Frank Webers betrayal of Billy Joel. Oh, because that's that's how you really get justice. Is is a district. A district, a district. Yeah. Yeah. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight from the early 90s, Joel explained that despite his success, he'd had some Rocky Financial Times. He spent years touring to make all the money back that he lost when he you know, if he had had that money, he's like, he would rather be at home. And so, you know, that's he he did have to earn all the money back. And he's Billy Joel. He's got a lot of hit songs like he can earn the money. He can do the work. Yeah. Yeah. Um, so there's that. Yeah. A little more recently. Yeah. I mean, and again, it's one of those things where it is, it's hard and this is going to come up, I think, with, you know, any celebrity that we bring up is you're also going, you know, you did have like there was a this sucks and you got a lot I mean again alleged $30 million was taken from him. But again, a quick a quick Internet search. And I can't say that this is accurate numbers. And I think they even say it's estimated.

Caleb: But right now, Billy Joel's net worth is 225 million. So he lost. So if he lost 30 million bucks, granted, that's a 10th of what? Of what he of his current net worth. But I'm also thinking you also got 225 million bucks. So likely you probably could have stopped. You probably could have spent that time at home anyways and you just wanted the money. Maybe that's what I'm thinking. Yeah. A little more recently, Billy Joel has given the impression that all of this financial trouble and betrayal is in the past. A 2013 interview with the New York Times Magazine in that he said that he is, quote, not bitter about any of that stuff. End of quote. Okay. He even told a story of how he ran into Frank Weber in the Hamptons. In the Hamptons. Right. Right. So Frank Weber is not doing so bad either. Frank Weber is doing fine, too. He's all right. And they they had a conversation. So quote, I have absolutely no hard feelings. I let all that go. I can't carry that stuff around. You'd be pissed off your whole life, right? So? So he paid. He's not wrong, right? He's not wrong about that. But it's much easier when you can earn $2 million a night doing a concert at Madison Square Garden. Exactly. And I'm also I mean, we were saying that Billy Joel clearly paid a whole lot of money to a whole lot of lawyers.

Caleb: Also, that statement makes me think that he he's doing the work in therapy, too. There's a there's a therapist that's getting a check every week as well from Billy Joel. And I mean, to be fair, again, this will not change Greg Kite's opinion of Billy Joel, but. Oh, he's not about his music. No. Well, yes, fair. He was a little. He's been pretty he seems pretty honest about his own responsibility. I mean, in that same interview, he said, quote, I always had the sense that, okay, I'm an artist and I shouldn't have to be concerned about something as banal as money, which is baloney. It's my job. It's what I do. I didn't pay any attention to it and I trusted other people and I got screwed. Yeah. So, like, you got to give him credit for, like, taking responsibility, because that's what therapists tell us to do. Yeah, yeah, yeah. He that's. He is taking responsibility, right? So, yeah, he. You can tell he feels. I think he knows how lucky he is. Right. I get that sense anyway. Even though he hasn't recorded a record in decades, Billy Joel's residency at Madison Square Garden is still going. It will end in July 2024, which will be his 100th performance in the residency and his 150th concert at the Garden overall. The celebrity. Dane Cook, Comedian. Actor. Alleged joke stealer. Caleb, do you like Dane Cook's comedy? Um, it's weird because I didn't think I did.

Caleb: And then in the process of researching this episode, I caught some of his old stuff, and I. I watched him on a well, yeah, I caught a clip of a podcast that we're going to mention here in a bit. And he's very. I think he's funny. Yeah, he's, he's, he's like legitimately funny and not even like he would be. Not that he's just a good stand up comedian. He strikes me as a funny guy. Like if you were hanging out with him, like you'd probably be laughing a lot and having a nice time. Yeah, Yeah. My my take. So just to full disclosure, I love Dane Cook. I'm okay. I'm a I'm a huge Dane Cook fan. I started listening. Have you seen him perform? I haven't seen him perform live, but I think I've either watched or heard all of his comedy specials and and the thing that that I guess I'm sad about for him is that I feel like Dane Cook has become the Nickelback of stand up comedy where where he just, for whatever reason, just the the population at large just decided, hey, we've loved this guy for a long time, but hey, should we all just start hating him now? Let's all just start hating him now. We had a meeting, okay? We had a meeting and we decided that we're going to hate him now. Yep. Yep. So he's now. Now we all hate him because he's just hack and that's.

Caleb: And. And again. And you and I were talking about him just briefly before we started recording. And and one of the things that I think might be part of that is I think because because and I'm for real when I say he's the Nickelback of stand up comedy, I think when when people look at sort of the the the image of Nickelback and you look at the persona of Dane Cook, it's it's people who are very popular, very successful in their respective entertainment fields. But also there's just a there's just enough kind of hint of douchiness with each of them. Yeah. That that, that I think that's what ends up people just going yeah, okay. Actually we did like him, but now we're not anymore. We're not going to anymore because of that. So deserved or not, popularity is fickle, my friend. It is. It is. It's kind of like fame being a be so. Right. Right. Yes. So fleeting. Fleeting. But but be but for the record, I think he's brilliant. I just I just listened to like literally it was last month I was on a road trip with my fiance. We listened to Dane, one of like something he released. It sounded like during the pandemic, it was like recorded in his home, I believe. Okay. And but it was it was great. It was really fun to listen to it. So maybe not the best special he's ever had, but I was into it.

Caleb: All right. So for those of you who are unfamiliar with Dane Cook's backstory, his comedy career started in 1990 with his big break coming in 1998 when he appeared on Comedy Central's Premium Blend, which was sort of a a showcase show where they'd have, you know, several. It was just a shorter it wasn't a full special. It was a much shorter set that he had on there. Again, I've seen his premium blend special. Oh, one other thing. If I'm going to give some commentary about Dane Cook, I really love listening to his comedy. I like watching it a whole lot less because he's he's too animated. Like his his like his body language is overexaggerated. And I feel like it distracts me from what he's saying. So I do prefer to listen rather than to watch. Uh, but know noted. Noted. But, uh, Dane Cook started releasing comedy albums in the 2000 and his career really started ramping up in the mid 2000 and peaked in 2007 when he became the second comedian ever in history to sell out Madison Square Garden's arena. And he started an arena tour. And again, he wasn't the second comedian to do arena tour, but he was the second comedian to sell out Madison Square Garden. But, uh, during the time when Dane Cook was selling out Madison Square Garden and going on arena tours, he also, as I'm sure our listeners know, began starring in a lot of movies, none of which you probably remember.

Caleb: But again, in that Dane Cook special that I just listened to last month, I remember him saying something like something like. This. He said, Good luck. Chuck only got 30% on Rotten Tomatoes, but it paid for 100% of my house. So however bad he thought his movies were, he was like the guy for your rom com kind of funny movies for. For what, maybe a couple of years where. Yeah, there's a decent stretch of time there in the 2000 where he was doing a lot. Were any of them nominated for any awards? No, but. But did he get did he get paychecks? Hell yeah, he did. Certainly did. His Dane Cook's reputation in comedy is is mixed, as we've already alluded to, some comedians just hate him. They don't think he's funny at all. Caleb, do you remember it's a syndicated radio show called The Bob and Tom Show? Yeah, of course. Yeah. Okay. A lot of people haven't even heard about it. It was they were based out of Indianapolis, but they they they were syndicated on my local rock station here. It was a morning show. And they had they had standups on there all the time. And they were kind of like an ape. If you were a comedian, you wanted to get on their radio show. And and I remember I think it was Tom of Bob and Tom.

Caleb: He was just like, I don't get it. He's not telling jokes. He's not doing standup. And that was so so even when he was on the when Dane Cook was on the top of his game, there was a lot of people that didn't understand his structure, his delivery, that sort of thing. So so that's not a new thing, that there was people that just weren't. Dane Cook fans, even when it seemed like everyone was. But others, others do think he's funny because they honestly think he's funny. Some of them maybe. I guess some of that. You got to also think he was he was a paycheck. So there might be people who stayed on the Dane Cook team because they were his opening acts or they they were they were getting some sort of paycheck because of their association with him. But wild success, notably in the comedy world, can come with a good share of resentment. And so that's that's a factor in the Dane Cook story because as we've said, he was wildly successful. Dane Cook, as we talked about at the beginning of this segment about him, he was also famously accused of stealing jokes specifically from both Joe Rogan and from Louis C.K., you know, Joe Rogan and Louis C.K., those two universally respected comedians. Uh, yeah, those guys. So anyway, Dane Cook has had a very successful career in show business, and for most of his early career, his half brother, Darryl McCauley, served as his business manager and which was wonderful and was a great relationship until about 2008.

Caleb: And as Dane Cook recounts on a podcast with Tom Segura and Christina Pasinski podcast called Your Mom's House. Dane Cook was buying a house in California, but his business was still being run out of a like a P.O. box in Massachusetts. And Cook wanted to move everything to California. And part of that was hiring a new business manager to replace his half brother, Darryl. And and again, from Dane Cook's perspective, it's like, Hey, you've been great, you've been doing this. And it's very common, Caleb, for I know for stand up comedians and I think for a lot of entertainers as they're coming up, they need someone to fill that role. So they'll put a family member in that role. And but at the same time, it's it's pretty it's pretty clear that the family member's not necessarily like been trained in that they just are better at money stuff than the performer themselves. And they were around and they were willing to do it. So it's to me, I guess I'm kind of reading into it, but I'm seeing this as being a natural evolution of Dane Cook's the business side of Dane Cook as a comedian, where he's like, I'm at a point now where I'm moving across the country and I need to just get like a real legit business manager.

Caleb: So, Darryl, you've been great, but I need to get somebody else. And Darryl was like, Oh, hell no. And he dug in his heels about this, including Darryl, like even refused to send like financial files and things like that to Dane Cook's new business manager. He was like, No, I won't even send this stuff. Which obviously if you're a listener of this podcast, you know, that's a huge red flag. So on this podcast, Dane Cook was telling Tom Segura and Christina Pasinski that that just one night he just sat up in bed and and it hit him. He was like, I. I think my brother stole all of my money. So? So the next day he goes to the bank. Bank of America and goes to, like, the bank manager and was like, Hey, do I have any money in this bank? And the guy was like, Nope, you don't. There's there's nothing in your corporate accounts. And so that was the beginning of of the unraveling of Darryl McCauley's fraud, embezzlement of money from Dane Cook. So what had been happening is from 2004 to 2008, Darryl had been stealing money by transferring money from the business accounts to Darryl's own personal accounts. Again, super easy to do because Darryl's just in charge of all the business shit for Dane Cook. So in that podcast, when Dane Cook was being interviewed, he said that he himself had no access to any of his own accounts.

Caleb: I feel like that's weird. I don't know what you think, Caleb, but I. I get it. If somebody else is managing my money, I'm never going to say I can't get to that money unless I'm like a heroin addict. Yeah, but. And as far as I know that of all of Dane Cook struggles, that wasn't one of them. Yeah. No, I don't get that impression. Yeah. So. So, yeah. So he didn't have access to the accounts, but he just trusted Darryl to, to handle all of his, all the financial aspects of his career, which. Yeah, that's what a manager is supposed to do. And so when, when he started unpacking this and he got more and more information, he found out that that like one of the the biggest, most glaring things that happened is that in one instance, Darryl forged a check for $3 million. And all told, Darryl and Darryl, Darryl's wife's name was Erika. And the two of them both got busted for this fraud. But way more Darryl than Erika. But together, they they stole at least $12 million from Dane Cook. So the $3 million check that was that was a quarter of what they stole. So obviously that one's going to stand out. In October of 2010, Daryl was sentenced to 5 to 6 years and another 16 years of probation. Erica was sentenced to three years and 13 years probation, and they were also ordered to pay restitution of the $12 million which they had stolen.

Caleb: And in the years since then, Dane Cook, much like we just talked about with Billy Joel, he he has gotten a good attitude about the whole thing. And in 2018, he even posted a video on Twitter where where he was showing that he was a clue on Jeopardy. And specifically, it was like, you know, this person's brother in law stole $12 million from him. And so he posts like a video of him watching that Jeopardy and him being the the the the answer to the Jeopardy question, which I get it that that seems like if you had if Dane Cook had any questions that he'd made it being being an answer on Jeopardy is going to verify it. Yeah that seems like validation. I'd like to be an answer on Jeopardy. That'd be, that'd be nice. Um, but in the in the podcast with Tom Segura and Christina Pasinski, Dane Cook had lots of laughs about this $12 million fraud and and even told that he was able to make money doing an arena tour that just just like his arena tour was able to pay back the taxes that he owed. Because yes, on top of everything else, Daryl hadn't paid taxes on behalf of Dane Cook. And also interesting like little detail about this whole thing. And another thing that Dane Cook was joking around about was that the police apparently opened up a wall in Daryl's house and found $800,000 in behind the the drywall, which.

Caleb: Caleb That's freaking weird. It's pretty funny because I'm going to say if you go to the trouble to yank drywall off of your wall in your house and put $800,000 of into your wall and then you plaster it and have somebody plaster it and mud it and tape it and paint it. I'm not sure exactly how the police are going to find that. I don't know if there's cash sniffing dogs that are going to be able to find where that's at between the the 16 inch center studs in your living room wall. But apparently they did because the LAPD or the Boston PD is in Boston. Yeah, they're not fucking around. I mean, I may be wrong, but I do believe that there are cash smelling dogs. Are there? Yeah. Okay. But anyway, the point is, Dane has a very good attitude about all this, and he was having a good laugh. He was. And like. And then he does. He does his like, phony little Boston accent when he does it. Like, we found some money for you, kid. And he's like, anyway, but yeah, he's a, he's a good sport. Dane Cook Yeah. Which and again he should be. But, but I mean if we're talking magnitudes of fraud again, so it was a $12 million fraud. That's a lot of money. And currently Dane and I'm sure this is down from his peak, but currently the Internet is telling me that Dane Cook's net worth is $35 million.

Caleb: So 12 million, that's about a third of what he's got right now. So that's a pretty good chunk. But also $35 million. He's he's going to be just fine. So, Greg, what did we learn? Did we learn anything? Yeah, I feel like. I feel like. I feel like I did. Okay. And go on. Well, and here's here's the main thing that became that really came to mind. You know, my my day job I'm I'm an in house CPA for a group of medical office buildings. So I, I work with doctors like the the the people who invest in the real estate that I manage. They are medical doctors. And what I found is celebrities and doctors are similar in in how frequently they get screwed. Yeah. And here's the thing. Working with doctors, I didn't realize this until I started doing it, But but the interesting thing about doctors, and it's also true about celebrities is that for a doctor, if you got somebody who's who's in who's an independent doctor, so they're not necessarily hooked up with like a health care system. But if you've got like, say, a specialist who owns his own practice, that's that is that doctor's business. Yeah, but what's weird about it is the doctor is the business. The doctor. But he's like the technician. It's like. It's like if you were a if you were a, like a Hvac, you know, heating and air conditioning repair business and you were the boss, but you were the only one who was going out and inspecting people's furnaces.

Caleb: Right? It's the same kind of thing. So your your time is completely eaten up by getting the work done. Like basically in these cases, providing the services that the business is doing. So because of that, you've got to get other people who are taking care of the business side of things, which is completely flipped around how most businesses operate. You have a business man who is like, This seems like a profitable business to get into and I'm I do business. This is a good business. I'm going to hire the right people to provide the services while I take care of the business. It's flip flopped when you're talking about doctors. And from personal experience, I know that with doctors you're going to be hard pressed to find somebody who at the end of their career has not had at least a couple of times where they've had like an office manager who stole a bunch of money from. That's that's a very common story with doctors. Same thing with these celebrities with you know, we're talking here about a singer. We're talking about a stand up comedian. Yeah, They they have not been trained in business. Not only that and again, I'm speaking mostly from the stand up comedy side because that's that's my, uh, what art form domain.

Caleb: My domain. And I, you know, and I listen to a lot of podcasts where comedians are interviewed. I have a lot of comedian friends and a lot of people like, I am doing this because I don't have any skills that could get me a job anywhere else, including like that. You know, they were shitty in school. They hated math. They you know, all this. That's very common to hear this kind of story. And so you've got somebody who just happens to be great at telling jokes or at at music. But, but, you know, and it is one of those things, you know this I know this. I hear it all the time where people are like, That's crazy that you're a CPA and you do something creative like write and perform stand up comedy because because for most people, they think you're either one or the other. You can't be both. And for the most part, that's a stereotype because for the most part it's true is that you're going to excel in one and not and not in the other. But but then Caleb, add on to that. So so you've got these these, these performers who are busy. You know, they're pressure is to write music or to write jokes and perform these jokes and go on tours and record their stuff and to make all the money. But then in these professions, it's weird how little like going from your your gross revenue to your net that your performer actually sees.

Caleb: It's it's dramatic. Yeah. The the difference between it because like let's say you've got somebody who's got, you know, an agent, a manager, a, you know, possibly a PR person, a publicist, maybe a publicist, a designer who's like making sure you're dressing right, all this kind of stuff. So you've got this team of people. So like like with Billy Joel, again, we were talking he's he's getting $2 million every time he does a performance at Madison Square Garden. That's that's great. But if your agent takes 10% and your manager takes 15%, all of a sudden you're already down from two. Million dollars to $1.5 million. So, you know, and so so when you go to your. Even if things seem fishy, you go to your manager and go, didn't we just get $2 million for that concert? And they go, Yeah, man, we did. But it sucks so bad because remember, we got to pay. We got to pay the agent. We got to pay. You got to pay me. You got to pay the venue. You got to pay. You know, we had to pay the publicist. We had to pay for this. We had to pay for that. So at the end of the day, you only got $250,000, man. And which could just be entirely bullshit because maybe all that stuff was really only $1 million. And the crazy thing that I'm thinking about with Billy Joel specifically.

Caleb: Do you remember you remember the part of the story where it said that Frank Weber mortgaged his copyrights for $15 million? Without without Joel's knowledge that he had done so? Yep. And again, allegations. Allegations of. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Right. So but but but I think about that and I go, why would Frank Weber have done that? And I go, It's because the artist is just going to their manager going, Hey, do I have enough money to buy this? You know, buy this home in the, you know, in the Bahamas and, you know, in Martha's Vineyard. And they go and they and the manager wants to be able to say, yeah, you do because you're killing it. And so what? Frank Weber, Billy Joel. Yeah, you're Billy, Come on. And, you know, and if they're embezzling money, they don't want to be found out. So the way that the artist is going to sniff out that that stuff is happening is if they don't have the cash flow that they want to have. So Frank Weber goes and he gets a $15 million loan against Billy Joel's copyrights so that when Billy Joel says, Hey, can I buy a new Bentley? Then Frank Weber can go, Absolutely. You can. Here's the money. It's in the account. Go get the car, that kind of stuff. So so again, you just you just have this it's it's a it's a financial literacy thing.

Caleb: But but I mean, that's what I want to say. But that sounds like too trite even for this. It's it's that these artists, they are the business. That's right. But they need to be they need to have just some basic understandings of their business and how to keep track of that. And that's where it means. It's not like it doesn't mean they have to be accountants. It doesn't mean they have to be. It doesn't mean they have to know how to, you know, the difference between debits and credits. But you're right, there has to be a certain amount of a baseline of kind of business acumen. Yeah. So that when they look at an income statement and they and they see what's going on and they can see or even like, say, the example of one concert and you and they look at, you know, they look at the revenue and they look at the expenses and they can see the bottom line. They can look at that if they if they kind of have a baseline of acumen and and if something feels fishy, they can be like, tell me more about this. Right. I'm just the artist, so please help me understand it. Right. And just knowing to ask questions. There you go. And I think the other thing that comes to mind for me in these situations is like it's kind of a it's kind of a cliche in in show business, but like find the one honest, the one honest person in show business, go find that motherfucker.

Caleb: Right. And hire them. Right. Like, because because they they do exist. Like, you know, because obviously, not everybody in Hollywood gets ripped off, so. Or or show business, whatever, you know, whatever you like. But I guess my point is, is you have to there has to be a certain amount of I think and we talk about it with small businesses, too. And you could think of you can think of performers as small businesses. Absolutely. Yeah. Where you just think, okay, I want to work with somebody I trust, but also I should be pretty much skeptical of everyone. Yeah. Like it's it's everyone is guilty until proven innocent. Yeah. Like if you're an entertainer of some measure, like, that's almost how you have to go into it because you take it upon yourself to be skeptical of people until they've kind of until they've proven it's like, no, man, I'm going to do you right. And and we can both do well. And and and this is the relationship and they might also I think what we've talked about in prior episodes is having that person kind of tell you it's like, hey, this is where you're exposed. Like this is how this is how you can get ripped off and I'm going to do this so you don't get ripped off, right? Yeah. And that's how I and then be honest about like and that's how I, that's how I earn my money, right? Yeah.

Caleb: Yeah, yeah. And I think yeah because, because I think a lot of here's part of what I'm hearing you're saying or at least how my brain's kind of putting this together is that people in this situation, when business isn't your forte, but you still have to. I think there's a little bit of humility that has to come into it because because again, you also go, Oh, I'm the business. And you go, you talk to your CPA and they're saying all these words that you don't understand and you go, okay, I feel like an idiot because I don't know. I can't even understand what's being said. Right? So I don't want to ask these clarifying questions. It's that is your if you're not and I think that's kind of what Billy Joel was even saying when he was taking responsibility for the fraud happening. He wasn't asking the questions. I think these performers need to be able to go to their managers, their CPAs or whoever. Like, again, if it's like we just had a $2 Million performance at Madison Square Garden. You're saying I only got $250,000 from it? Walk me through it. Yeah, show me. Show me where the. And go, Oh, that. They really got that much. Where is that? Seriously? That's in the contract. Let's see that contract. Show me where that's at. You got to.

Caleb: And if they can walk you through that consistently and again it's imperative upon the performer to to not let go until they truly understand it and and go, I'm paying you to make me understand why this is all I got out of this. And and if anyone if you're an entertainer and if anyone ever says to you after you've asked all these questions, if anyone says to you, don't worry about it, let me take care of it. Right. Fire that motherfucker. Get rid of that person. Even if it's even if it's your. Your ex-wife. Even if it's your half brother. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, but. But am I wrong that in, like, every, like, celebrity biopic that you ever watch that there seems to be some, like, some part of the story, some beat of the story that's about them getting screwed financially by a manager who's usually a family member? And isn't that I mean, it's it is kind of it is kind of cliche. Yeah, it does. It feels like there's just countless stories about. Yeah. And like, again, this is, this is I guess we'll have a podcast forever, right? Because these are the kinds of things we can talk about. But, but I mean, just because I'll just tell you, here's ones that come to mind immediately. I mean, did you see Elvis? The. I did, yeah. Yeah. That that entire movie was about him getting screwed by his manager. That was 100% that mean there was a little bit more to it.

Caleb: But mostly it was him getting screwed by his manager from start to finish. Yeah, but it was really from the but but the movie was told from the the story was told from the colonel's perspective. Right. Which is so interesting. Exactly. Yeah. Which is very interesting. And then there was also just recently it was it was not nearly as well received as Elvis, but there was a Whitney Houston biopic. It just came out. And I want to say it was her dad. It was her dad. Yeah. Who was. Yeah, who was running the business and absolutely spent all the money. Spent all the money totally mismanaged. And she had to. She eventually fired her dad, but not until after she had been ripped off significantly by her dad. I think about Straight out of Compton, about oh, yeah, N.W.A. And there was who's the I can never remember his name. Who's the the the guy who's also the actor in Sideways. Oh, Paul Giamatti. Paul Giamatti. Yeah. And and again, I would I don't I don't necessarily think that he screwed them. I think that they signed a contract that was very favorable to him because he was taking a wild bet on them and they ended up blowing up. So so that's a little that's a but regardless, the way from the from the narrative of the story, me not trying to defend Paul Giamatti's character in that movie.

Caleb: The beat of the story was they got screwed by their manager. Yeah, right. So so but even even in that, I remember there being part of that story where Dr. Dre comes in and he goes, Hey, listen, I read through the contract. I understand the contract. This contract is shit because we are not getting the, the, the a fair amount of our of the money that we that we make for the company. So again, that's exactly what I'm going to say. That's an exception to the rule that these people are actually reading through their legal contracts for themselves. So so I say, you know, assuming that that was that's historically accurate. Good on you, Dr. Dre, for actually taking that kind of ownership of your own frickin business. And that's what needs to happen for these celebrities to be protected from this kind of mismanagement and fraud. Or we may be on. Maybe. Maybe they'll hire us. Greg, Maybe we're the we're the future of thought about that. I've been like, man, all these guys just need to come knock on Greg Keith's door and be like, Hey, will you be Dane Cook's next business manager? You're damn right Dane Cook. When you hear this episode, give me a call. We'll tell you how to get Ahold of me at the end of the episode. Yeah. Well, speaking of the end of the episode, that's it for this episode. And remember, Joe Rogan said Dane Cook stole his jokes.

Caleb: But Joe Rogan also said ivermectin cures Covid 19. And also remember that fame is a bee. It has a song, it has a sting. It can also make you the target of some shady mofos. If you want to drop us a line at the podcast, please, please do. We'd love to hear from you. Send us an email at Dane Cook. Yeah, exactly. Our email is Oh my Fraud at earmark cpcomm. And Caleb, if Dane Cook wants to get a hold of you specifically, how can he find you? Oh, he can try me on Twitter, I suppose, at C Newquist. And I don't think comedians are on LinkedIn, but I am on LinkedIn still at backslash. Caleb Newquist. Uh, Greg. Greg. Greg, I think you've left the internet, right? No. No, I haven't. I. Okay. But Twitter is now X or something like this and yes, and it won't let me log on to it. So I so don't get Ahold of me on Twitter because I can't even figure out how to access my account right now on there. But I am also on LinkedIn Backslash. Greg Kite or, you know, just, uh, just drop me an email or oh my All of those come to both you and me. Caleb So. So that's how you can do it. Billy Joel If you'd like me to manage your finances. I couldn't do it. I couldn't do it.

Caleb: You don't think so? I couldn't do it, Caleb. Oh, you couldn't work for Billy Joel? No, not for him. I just. Yeah, that's. Which is. That's so weird, I. I would think I would sell out so quickly if Billy Joel wanted me to be his manager, but I just don't think I could do it. You're a man of principle, Greg. No, I just. That's just how repulsed I am by the music. And I don't think I could live in that world. So be. I mean, it's a good opportunity. You can just hear him talking. You can try and talk you into it. Yeah, him trying. Him trying to persuade me. Come on, man. It's like, what if I covered Nickelback songs? Are nice? Then I'm in. I'm in. Great. There we go. Oh, My Fraud is written by Greg Kite and myself. Our producer is Zach Frank. If you like the show, leave us a review. Wherever you listen, leave us a review or rate the show rating. The show helps people find it. We want we want people to find it. You want people to find it because you like this show, right? Yeah, right. Also, subscribe to the show on Apple, Spotify, wherever you listen for the accountants, listen. On your mark, get some CPE. That's helpful. So helpful. Super helpful. Yep. Join us next time for more adverse swindlers and scams from stories that will make you say, Oh my God.

Creators and Guests

Caleb Newquist
Caleb Newquist
Writer l Content at @GustoHQ | Co-host @ohmyfraud | Founding editor @going_concern | Former @CCDedu prof | @JeffSymphony board member | Trying to pay attention.
Greg Kyte, CPA
Greg Kyte, CPA
Mega-pastor of @comedychurch and the de facto worlds greatest accounting cartoonist.
The Defrauded Famous | Billy Joel and Dane Cook
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