If you're grading the souls of fraudsters on a curve, Steven Green scores as the most sympathetic in a class full of flunkers. Green gave generously to charities for the developmentally disabled, as well as to those that assisted gay men with AIDS or struggling with addiction. He even made a documentary about the evils of predatory lenders. In Fort Lauderdale, Green kept a tidy $2.56 million home, sharing his legendary art collection and fleet of vintage cars with admirers.
These attributes just didn't quite redeem the other aspects of his life. He was such a terrible landlord that he actually won awards for it in the New York press, living a jet-set lifestyle while his properties went un-managed and his tenants went without hot water. He did not pay taxes, and there was that little matter of the false Social Security number he used on a mortgage application for $9 million. The last two parts the basis for the 33-month prison sentence handed down by a Tampa judge in February 2007. Check out this sprawling biographical article from that month's St. Pete Times.
But it seems karma couldn't wait for Green to pay his debt to society. Before he could head off to prison, Green was struck by a hit-and-run driver while leaving a gay nightclub in Manhattan. He was in a coma for 40 days and according to his lawyer remains unable to make decisions for himself.
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A condition of Green's sentence was the payment of $4.1 million in restitution, and a report in today's St. Pete Times suggests that his Fort Lauderdale mansion, his cherished pieces of art and classic cars will only get him about half-way to that goal -- the product of yet another cruel twist of fate, the economic downturn that's happened since Green's luck took a turn for the worse. Currently a ward in a Rochester, Minn., nursing home, Green still has yet to begin his prison term.