A Strange Story
February 18, 2012, 11:50 AM
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Here's an odd story from the BBC:
'Stolen' $9m jewels found in drawer 
Red faces over 'missing' jewels 
Five years after their disappearance, jewels thought stolen from the wife of the US ambassador to the Netherlands in 2006 have been found in the Hague. 
Dawn Arnall realised her 7m euro (£5.9m; $9.3m) gems were missing months after staying in a Dutch hotel. 
Unknown to her, the jewellery had been found and was held for safekeeping by the hotel, AFP reports, before being given to an employee as unclaimed. 
The employee, assuming the items were costume jewellery, forgot about them. 


Must be tasteful looking if everybody assumed they had to be costume jewelry.

Only after she recently found them in a drawer and took them to a jeweller for valuation did their true worth emerge. 
They were then handed in to police and have since been returned to the US. 
Mrs Arnall, whose husband Roland was the US ambassador to the country prior to his death in 2008, had received an insurance payout for her loss.


What adds interest to this was that subprime billionaire Roland Arnall, whom Bush had appointed Ambassador to the Netherlands for raising $12 million for him, who was the biggest donor to Arnold Schwarzenegger and, before him, Gray Davis, who co-founded the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the brow-beating Museum of Tolerance, was the founder of a couple of the biggest and worst subprime boiler rooms, Ameriquest and Argent. Previously, he had founded the notorious Long Beach Mortgage, which Washington Mutual bought.

In 2006, Arnall paid a $325 million fine to settle a lawsuit brought by 49 state attorneys general. Yet, Congress approved his nomination as ambassador. (Overall, states performed somewhat better in regulating subprime than feds, who mostly egged them on. The states were operating, on average, under older laws, while the feds were operating mostly under the U. of Chicago-style consensus that emerged over the last generation or so.) Here's Arnall's obituary by E. Scott Reckard of the L.A. Times, who covered subprime in real time better than anyone else. Roland invented the "stated income loan," which did so much to help people realize the American Dream.

His widow Dawn is being sued by his brother for $47.6 million. The brother claims that Roland claimed he was strapped for cash because of the $325 million fine.

I've never been tempted to write detective novels, because I have the world's worst criminal mind. I couldn't invent a scam to save my life. But, this jewelry discovery sounds like it would make a good opening chapter in a mystery.

In general, here we are five years down the road from the first subprime collapses, such as that of New Century Financial in February 2007. Has anybody tried to fictionalize the SoCal subprime scam artists yet?