Former Blake’s owner Lee Farkas, also the gay man who orchestrated the biggest bank fraud in U.S. history, was a chicken hawk who liked strippers, lived extravagantly and was as generous as he was vicious. Ever been Farkased?
Earlier this month, the CNBC documentary series “American Greed” focused on Farkas, who’s now serving a 30-year sentence tucked inside a North Carolina prison cell. With the booming voice of Stacy Keach narrating the sordid tale that is Farkas’ con man life, the show offered new nuggets about this gay crook that even his Atlanta acquaintances might not know.
The highlights, which you can watch in the video above:
Get Farkased. For all of his popularity, at least before his scams were exposed, he was mean. Very mean. A bullying hothead so vicious that those who fell victim to his tirades referred to the experience as getting “Farkased.”
Gay entrepreneur. Residents in Ocala, Fla., where Farkas built his empire of financial fraud, took a liking to this gay man who “didn’t fit the typical mold.” But he wanted to prey on the area’s large senior population with his “charisma of a Gatsby.” And then there was the local gym he bought and the restaurants. A gay guy’s gotta work out, right? Right.
Chicken hawk. With his financial shenanigans at Taylor, Bean & Whitaker fueling his lavish lifestyle, Farkas dumped his partner of 35 years, Coda Roberson, and hooked up with a much younger man. Roberson helped fund the construction company Farkas started when he first moved to Ocala.
Extravagant queen. Thanks to the millions from his ill-gotten goods, he acquired a taste for the finer things in life. Classic cars, investment homes, party pads, an airplane and more. And he got it all by running his personal expenses through the company. Let’s not even get into the palatial headquarters with onyx walls and caviar served in the executive dining room.
Strippers. Of course there were strippers. Farkas picked up Atlanta gay bars Blake’s, Blue and WETbar in 2004. That we knew. But at some point, he also used the proceeds from his fake mortgage loans and cooked financial books to purchase an Atlanta strip club, which the documentary does not name. With that came strippers, whom Farkas then hired as account executives at Taylor, Bean & Whitaker.
Farkas was found guilty in April 2011 on 14 counts of conspiracy and bank, wire and securities fraud. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison for his role in a $3 billion mortgage fraud involving fake mortgage assets as chair of Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp. In the process, Farkas pocketed more than $30 million.
Farkas is expected to be released from prison in 2041. He’ll be 88.