Mark Morewitz had thought he met his financial fairy godmother, Oceansider Laurie Schneider. She ran several businesses and everyone who invested with her was earning money. But Schneider was really running a $6.9 million Ponzi scheme — and Morewitz paid the price.
Now Morewtiz has written a book, “The Ponzi Princess,” which describes how he became friends with Schneider and how his suspicions helped bring her to a prison sentence. “This book is my experience of Laurie Schneider,” said Morewitz. “If she finds out I hope she rots in prison. I hope her children are taken care of and live a happy life, and I hope she doesn’t damage anyone else’s life.”
Morewitz certainly knows the damage Schneider can inflict. He first met her in 2005, when he was living in Brooklyn with his then-husband, and were impressed by their neighbors who renovated their house with funds they received from Schneider. “Ours was kind of a flop house,” he said. “We were of course curious, and [our neighbors] told us about this wonderful fairy godmother who lived in Long Island.”
Morewitz soon became an investor and friend of Schneider, working for her entertainment business and earning money — he was even able to buy his mother a house. He also told his friends and family to invest with Schneider — 45 people total. Morewitz said that after he recoups publishing costs, he will share his book profits with those people, many of who lost their life savings to Schneider.
“It wasn’t just about money being stolen,” said Morewitz. “It’s about human lives being destroyed.” He said Schneider was “amazing at smoke and mirrors,” as well as charismatic and a constant liar.
The scheme began to collapse in December 2008, when Bernie Madoff was exposed and people became more wary of investing. All Ponzi schemes are dependent on investors to pay back earlier ones — and without new investors, a Ponzi scheme will soon collapse on itself.
Schneider was no exception, and she soon was not able to fund her businesses. She confessed to Morewitz about the fake deals in January 2009, and was arrested in April 2010.
Morewitz also said he is angry at the justice system for delaying Schneider’s trial so she could have three children, and giving her three years in prison when she originally faced a longer sentence. Schneider plead guilty in February 2014.
Morewitz said he dealt with his anger by writing this book, which took about 10 months to write and two years to revise.
“I hope my family and friends understand the full story of my experience,” said Morewitz. “I hope they have the ability to see the full story. I hope the community that she lives in will be able to see what kind of person she is.”
Morewitz now lives in San Francisco with his partner. He works in public health. “I grew a new life,” he said. “A regular person living a regular job.”
“The Ponzi Princess” is available on Amazon.