UPDATED: What's The Truth About LIE?

Doesn't this woman look like she's been taken by surprise? Or perhaps that a secret has just been found out?

Actually, the woman in the photo, Stacy Schultz, has been flying under the radar just fine.

Schultz is the "sole proprietor" of a life settlement company called LIfe Insurance Exchange (yeah, I know, classic acronym). Based in Fort Lauderdale, it has much-coveted licenses to broker life insurance policies in 32 states, including Florida.

Here's the kicker: Schultz is the sister-in-law and former close business associate of convicted felon and longtime con man Joel Steinger, who is under federal indictment for allegedly running a billion-dollar Ponzi scheme with Mutual Benefits Corp., a company similar to LIE.  

There's more. Court records show that when the SEC shut down Mutual Benefits in 2004, Joel Steinger improperly funneled at least $145,000 to Schultz right under the feds' noses. At the time, money was also going from Joel Steinger through the same routes to lobbyist (and Mayor Stacy Ritter-hubbie) Russ Klenet to help him purchase his own company, Life Settlements International, which court records reveal was secretly controlled by Steinger. 

Schultz was married to Steinger's brother, Leslie Steinger, until his death last year. They formed a power couple together in Broward County, where they threw around money for charities and, sources say, were close friends with powerbroker Austin Forman and his wife Christine.

Les and Stacy Steinger certainly had plenty of money to spend -- Leslie took many millions of dollars out of Mutual Benefits as part of the Ponzi ripoff, according to government investigative files.

She went by Stacy Steinger until 2004, when the SEC shut down Mutual Benefits. According to an SEC court filing, the feds wrote that she began going by Schultz years prior to her husband's to "attempt to conceal the payments" from Steinger. Both Schultz and Klenet were at the heart of an SEC motion to hold Steinger in contempt for violating a freeze order placed on Mutual Benefits-related accounts. 

Schultz, after all, was described in investigative reports as having performed important function for Joel Steinger at Mutual Benefits. One witness, a former employee, told investigators that she was in charge of "bidding" for insurance policies. Another former employee told investigators that Mutual Benefits would "cut and paste" medical information from one file to another to alter the life expectancies of AIDS patients. The witness "identified that Stacy Steinger very likely knew about this practice," according to the report. 

The extent of cooperation by Stacy Schultz in the investigation isn't known, and LIE may be a perfectly legitimate business, but judging from the past, someone should definitely keep an eye on it. 

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Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman