Bill Rancic Defends His Wife Giuliana After Fashion Police Controversy: 'I Tried to Get Them to Release the Footage' 41 years, 2,187 covers and 55,435 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- Boyfriend of Slain Legal Diva Star Loredana Nesci Acted in Self-Defense, Attorney Says
- The Style Top 5: Reese Witherspoon Channels Elle Woods,
Steal the Styles from Wet Hot American Summer and More
- Gisele Bündchen Gets Back to Yoga After Allegedly Being Spotted in Burqa
- Defiant Valerie Harper Gives Update on Health: 'I Am Not, Nor Have I Been, in a Coma'
- Is Scott Disick Regretting Split with Kourtney Kardashian in New Photo: 'The Grass Isn't Always Greener'
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- September 23, 1974
- Vol. 2
- No. 13
Paul Erdman: From Jailbird to Billion Dollar Author
Erdman jumped $90,000 bail in Switzerland last year, moved to San Francisco while awaiting trial (he was sentenced in absentia to nine years) and has now made another killing in the literary marketplace. His second novel, The Silver Bears, sold 50,000 copies in the first month and raked in $500,000 in paperback and movie rights.
For the elegant looking, 42-year-old Erdman, fiction is very much a second career. After taking a Ph.D. in economics at the University of Basel in Switzerland, he worked for the European Coal and Steel Community and the Stanford Research Institute. At the age of 31, he had the bright idea of opening an American-owned bank in Switzerland that would combine go-go management with advantageous Swiss banking regulations. The bank's assets rocketed from $3.1 million in 1966 to over $49 million by 1969, when the United California Bank, one of the 15 largest in the U.S., bought up Erdman's booming institution for about $12 million. He continued to run it.
From then on its corporate history reads like one of Erdman's plots. The bank's commodities department took a beating in silver when the price dropped. To recoup the loss, it bought, he says, about "one half of the cocoa in the world." When cocoa went sour, the bank lost somewhere between $40 million and $66 million.
Swiss authorities, who regard their banks as inviolable as the church, jailed Erdman and six other bank officers. At the time Erdman sheepishly owned up to some fault in the fiasco. But now, socked with a $50 million lawsuit from United California Bank, he blames his former underlings.
Meanwhile Erdman passes the time relaxing with his family at their isolated Marin County retreat near San Francisco, promoting The Silver Bears, and writing a new novel with the grim working title of The Crash of '79. It is an event he claims could be touched off by the Arabs, "a thin but well-educated elite controlling the biggest pile of dough in the universe."
Now and then he gives lectures on such "academic" financial topics as the worldwide economic situation. "People want to grasp what's going on so they can manage things themselves instead of relying on their dummy stockbrokers," he says.
Aside from cashing royalty checks, though, Erdman says he is finished with the funny-money game. "It's a world of strong men wielding power in terms of money. It is filled with people totally devoid of any humor. I like being responsible only to myself."
August 01, 2015
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!