The downfall of the Billionaire Boys Club, an exclusive group of mostly wealthy Beverly Hills and Greater Los Angeles men who followed a charismatic Joe Hunt. These men lavishly spent their new found fortunes in style in parties and luxury cars and just living the good life. A man of very modest beginnings, Joe was not above murder and kidnapping stay in the big leagues to keep this investment firm afloat when the groups short-lived fortunes were dwindling from their euphoric successes in 1984.
The Billionaire Boys Club (BBC) was an investment-and-social club organized by Joseph Henry Gamsky, also known as Joe Hunt, in southern California in 1983. It was originally simply named BBC; the initials of a business named the Bombay Bicycle Club, a restaurant Gamsky had frequented in his earlier years while growing up in Chicago.
The club enticed the sons of wealthy families from the Harvard School for Boys (now Harvard-Westlake School) in the Los Angeles area with get-rich-quick schemes. Given their inexperience and difficulty proving themselves in legitimate businesses, an organization like the BBC proved attractive to these boys. Due to the reputation of the organization being composed of young, inexperienced boys from moneyed families, it was jokingly referred to as the Billionaire Boys Club. During his high school years, Gamsky and his brother were high-profile members of the Harvard School debate team. However, Gamsky was thrown out of the USC Summer Debate Institute in 1975 after admitting he fabricated evidence. The story was recounted in the 1987 movie Billionaire Boys Club. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal agreed to hear his appeal on July 1, 2014.
The organization was run as a Ponzi scheme, and money contributed by investors was spent on supporting lavish lifestyles for young members of the club. When funds ran short in 1984, Hunt and other club members turned to murder, and at least two people were killed as Hunt tried to raise more money.
When authorities began to investigate the murders, Dean Karny, the clubs second-in-command, and Hunts best friend turned states evidence in return for immunity from prosecution. Hunt and club-security director Jim Pittman were charged with the murder of Ron Levin, a con artist who had allegedly swindled the BBC out of over $4 million. Hunt, Pittman, club member Arben Dosti, and Reza Eslaminia were charged with the murder of Hedayat Eslaminia, Rezas father, allegedly to acquire his fortune which was reputed to be $35 million.
In 1987, Hunt was found guilty of the 1984 murder of Ron Levin and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Pittman had two trials, and both ended in hung juries. He later pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact and was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison. After his release, he admitted in an interview to have participated in the murder, knowing he could not be re-tried due to the restriction on double jeopardy.
Dosti and Reza Eslaminia were later convicted of murdering Hedayat Eslaminia and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. Hunt acted as his own attorney during his trial for the Eslaminia murder and contended that star witness Karny had killed Eslaminia. The result was a hung jury, 84, in favor of Hunts acquittal. Joe Hunt is the only person in Californias legal history to represent himself in a capital case and not receive the death penalty. The convictions of Dosti and Reza Eslaminia were later overturned. Hunt remained in prison for the Levin murder but maintained his innocence.
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