Self-help author Jeffrey Locker helped himself to the services of homeless man Kenneth Minor. Locker, you see, had a debt problem. And being "murdered" by Minor would allow his family to cash in an $18 million life insurance policy.
The Daily Mail:
Even the prosecution agreed that Locker, 52, had orchestrated his own death - but the trial became a matter of whether Minor had been hired to kill Locker as a hitman, or whether he was hired to assist in Locker's suicide.
According to Minor's statement to police, Locker had approached him and offered him money to kill him and make it look like a robbery so his family could collect as much as $18 million in life insurance.
Locker's business was on its knees. In the wake of the recession bookings slumped and he maxed out his $16,000 credit card limit.
In the six months before his death his savings fell from $86,000 to $5,800.
He had a large mortgage and was on the verge of declaring bankruptcy after losing $400,000 in a Ponzi scheme run by boy-band impresario Louis Perlman, the mastermind of 'N Sync and the Backstreet Boys.
He was facing a federal bankruptcy court trustee's demands to return at least $121,200 the court said he had made from his stake in Perlman's enterprise.
Locker felt trapped. Aged 52, everything he had worked for was about to fall apart.
Going bankrupt he would have lost his name, his wealth and his standing among all those who knew him in New Jersey.
The prospect of dragging the entire family into the gutter could have proved too much for him to handle.
Defence lawyers have said that his death had been an elaborate plan to defraud insurance companies, having taken out policies worth $14million.
This stuff wouldn't happen if people didn't get in over their heads in debt. If you don't have debt, you can survive the business downturns and other bumps in the road. But debt makes a downturn fatal.
The next time somebody tries to get you to take on debt for a house, or a business proposition, or an overpriced college degree, or a spending spree, ask yourself, "Is this thing worth killing myself over?"
Greenspan's Body Count stands at 153:
Michael L. Cour
Thomas S. Piazza
Cynthia Dunn Cannon
Byron Reed Sr.
Byron Reed Jr.
Debra K. Gibbs
Kevin Daniel O'Connell
Siu Fong Ng
Ernest Scherer Jr.
Betty J. Lipply
Del Mar man
Wayne "Mike" Anderson
Jeffrey M. Pearson
Ervin Antonio Lupoe
Steven L. Good
Dallas Dwayne Carter
Lt. Michael Howe
Palmer C. White
Dianne Pittman White
Edwin F. Rachleff
Scott M. Coles
Dawn E. Armstrong
Jonathon Calvin "40-Cal" Jacques
Little Boy X
Little Girl X
Rufus Shaw Jr.
Lynn Flint Shaw