Joe Hunt: White Collar Psychopath
Building a Case
Finally, Joe had to face investors. Some of them wanted to take their money out of their accounts. He called a general meeting and told more than 70 startled people that he did not have their money. Then he had the nerve to tell them that in many ways they were to blame for this financial fiasco. He had no legal obligation to pay anyone back, but if they would sign an agreement not to sue, he would sign statements to each of them that provided a repayment schedule. It was another scheme, but most of them were too afraid of this devastating loss to do anything but what he asked. They still believed they could recoup at least some of their investment.
Yet he never did have to pay, because on September 28, Joe was arrested. While Zoeller questioned him, he remained completely calm and in control. He was fingerprinted, and as he sat there, his prints were compared to those lifted from the "to do" list. They had a match.
Yet Zoeller gave nothing away. Joe insisted that he and Levin had been very good friends, and that Levin had bought him an expensive watch. He flashed it at Zoeller. Joe was just beginning to feel cocky, believing that the police had nothing on him when Zoeller showed him his missing list — the seven pages found in Levin's home. Joe missed a beat, but then asked for his attorney. He said the pages meant nothing to him, but Zoeller could see that he was sweating.
They let Joe go, which reaffirmed his feeling they really couldn't get him on anything, and he rallied his core group. He told Dean to prepare an alibi for him for the night of Levin's death, and rehearsed his girlfriend as well. Dean agreed, but grew increasingly more nervous. He was afraid he might be arrested, too.
Meanwhile, in Switzerland, a hasty court order from the U.S. barred Reza from claiming any of his father's funds. He and Ben came back to the U.S., but Ben's mother told them not to come home. The police were looking for them. They acquired the birth certificates of dead children and tried to keep a low profile.
Karny finally confessed everything to his parents. They got him a lawyer who managed to work out a deal: immunity from prosecution for a full confession that implicated all the other players in two murders. Karny would also show them where Eslaminia's body was. Although all they could find were bones, it was sufficient to identify the remains as those of the missing Iranian.
Joe Hunt was arrested again, but got out on bail. He lived with his girlfriend's parents, and they helped him with many of his expenses. Since Joe claimed to be indigent, the court hired Arthur Barens to represent him. There were to be two separate trials, so with the help of assistant Richard Chier, Barens prepared his first case, the murder of Ron Levin. Basically, he would say, there was no body, there were no witnesses, and there was even a woman who claimed that she'd seen Ron Levin alive. That had to be sufficient for reasonable doubt. Or so he thought.
The deputy district attorney, Fred Wapner (son of the People's Court judge), knew he'd have a tough case, but he had a number of hefty weapons: the seven pages that were an obvious murder list, a witness who had been the number two man in the BBC and to whom Joe had confessed the murder, and evidence of Joe's lack of character through all his scams. Wapner's trump card was the fact that Joe had never tried to find Levin or get him to come forward to say he was still alive. If a man's life were dependent on the appearance of another man, wouldn't the first man go all out to find the other? Joe had done nothing.