DINA REIS: After prison sentence, the NYC Socialite Con Artist Surfaces in Miami still wearing Haute couture!
- November 13, 2014 at 1:03 am
This notice above published recently by www.ArtDaily.org stating that Whitney director Max Anderson and architect Richard Gluckman visited Miami last month to check out a 15,000-square-foot warehouse in the city’s projected new downtown arts district.
The space, the story goes on to say, is owned by Miami real estate developer Avra Jain, whose partners include Whitney Chairman’s Council member Dina Wein Reis. That’s surprising in itself since that level of membership costs $20,000.00 usd. (You can get the entire multi-million dollar indictment below).
The article goes on to say that “a” Whitney Miami would need $3 million for renovation and perhaps another $500,000-$700,000 annually from the city. The museum said that it was too early to comment.
We should mention that a call to Richard Gluckman of Gluckman Mayner Architects in New York City found Richard Gluckman in his office. He was in a meeting but stated through his office staff that it is not the first time he has been mistaken for another architect by the name of Richard Gluckman.
We asked him if he was aware that there are no other New York architects by the name of Richard J. Gluckman currently recognized by the Office of Professional Licensure or that match his license number.
We called a second time and asked a staff member if Gluckman’s middle initial is “J” which it is and verified his license number. Gluckman himself said he has not been to Miami in years. The only possibility is, he suggested “that someone is using the name architect Richard J. Gluckman’s as an identity.” There are no other architects in New York with the name of Gluckman. Gluckman eventually came on the phone and said he has no business with Avra Jain or Dina Reis. His current officially registered place of business is located at 250 Hudson Street in New York. City.
Dina Wein Reis has surfaced in Miami, Florida. She had been sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jane E. Magnus-Stinson in the Southern District of Indiana and ordered to pay restitution of $5,678,190 and a fine of $1 million.
Reis is featured in the SocialMiami wearing what else? Haute couture of course!
Here she is in Art Basel’s Miami celebration of 2013 which tells me that her love of high fashion and expensive art hasn’t waned.
Dina pleaded guilty on May 19, 2011, to a criminal information charging her with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
But why is this story interesting now in November of 2014?
Because the fraud she pulled off while living in her 75th Street mansion was neatly tied up in a bow! A neatly tied Family Trust Bow….
According to plea documents, between June 2003 and July 2006 Reis owned and operated a marketing business based in New York and used fraudulent means to obtain consumer goods at discounted prices from manufacturers and distributors of consumer products.
Participants in the scheme “cold-called” executives at large consumer product companies to solicit their products, falsely promising that if each manufacturer sold its products to Reis, the products would be distributed to a variety of outlets that were typically difficult for these manufacturers to reach on their own.
And now Dina Wein ‘Reis’ (Reis is actually a made up name Dina and her husband David Ruiz invented. David is a former Colombian soccer player. They legally changed their last name, ‘Ruiz’ to Reis because Ruiz sounded too Hispanic and hoi polloi for Dina’s trend setting friends.
But now Dina Reis sprouts up in Miami of all places and to establish an art museum no less! An employee at The Whitney Museum told me yesterday that to be able to hold the title of “Whitney Chairman’s Council member” costs $25,000.00 USD and it’s tax deductible save for a mere $425.00 of it which is not.
Photo below: From left, Kevin Maloney, Gil Dezer, Carlos Rosso, Eric Trump and Avra Jain.
You have to wonder how many of the people Dina and her co-conspirators Suzanne Carrico, Sarah Golden, Chaya Cooper and other victims of Dina’s grey market scam have a ‘Chairman’s Council Membership’ to the Whitney Museum. Not a one.
It’s a startling state of affairs when the victims of one of the largest New York City grey market scams are not members of The Whitney Museum yet the primary convicted felon not only has a ‘lofty’ membership to The Whitney Museum but is now going to be opening a Whitney in Miami. That’s like asking Sandusky to open up a boy’s school when he gets out of prison.
Both girls are absolutely beautiful and successful in their own right. Both earned scholarships to Perdue University and each graduated with degrees in industrial engineering.
Avra has become a serious Miami real estate developer and her sister Anna Bakst is now the president of footwear and accessories for Michael Kors Holdings Ltd in New York City.
You have to stop and wonder… Consider that Reis went to prison for bait and switching product, grey market distribution, buying on the promise of goods going to charities when she in fact sold them for profit. All in all, a nasty crime that affected lots of people.
And one of the biggest points of contention that added further insult to injury, were the lists of valuable art pieces she purchased with the stolen money. A judge had the art returned to her so that she could auction some off and pay off her victims.
Why decent people that have never been in legal trouble before, would want to partner up with a convicted felon that just finished a prison sentence and still hasn’t paid the State of New Jersey more than half a million dollars defies logic. And that half a million dollar tax bill is only one of Dina’s many creditors that she’s ignored.
Dina’s scheme included a marketing venture called the “Goody Pak Program,” which distributed products free of charge to schools for school fundraisers and helped generate marketing information for the manufacturers.
Reis admitted that she negotiated a discount from the manufacturers based on the possibility of future profitable business for the manufacturers arising from her marketing efforts when, in fact, she made few efforts and sold the majority of the products to wholesalers for a profit.
She would pay stores in New Jersey to let her restock their shelves with her own products. Then she’d take the ‘patsy’ to see the stores and imagine his or her company products on those shelves. Those weren’t even her stores! A lot of these executives thought they were going to take over one or several of her bogus companies. They basically got into the binds they wound up in because of greed. I doubt any of them actually went back to their employers and told them that Dina had offered them a job.
And a lot of repackaging went on at a 58th street office where lots of very obedient, religious and generally uneducated ethnic women repackaged lots of product and none knew enough to read the boxes that stated PROHIBITED TO SELL IN THE UNITED STATES.
I asked a couple of them if they knew what the printing on the box meant and most said it was a printing mistake that they would correct by covering the box with very strong obscure packing tape.
As a result, a manufacturer in Indiana lost $180,000, and a Missouri manufacturer lost $500,000. Reis also agreed through her plea agreement to make restitution to manufacturing companies not specifically named in the information.
The cases were investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service. The cases were prosecuted by Trial Attorney Matthew Klecka of the Criminal Division’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, formerly a Trial Attorney in the Division’s Fraud Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Winfield Ong of the Southern District of Indiana.
The information above came directly from a Department of Justice Press Release received in 2013. I knew the name immediately but was not at all surprised. I just thought about the many loose ends I know they’ve never tied up.
What is posted past this point comes from personal memory… I remember learning about Dina Wein Reis, many years ago, when a job recruiter friend mentioned she needed help for a woman that couldn’t keep an assistant due to her horrific behavior. She told me the employer was a west side socialite who was cruel and insulting to everyone she hired.
The recruiter and I enjoyed laughing at all the possible ways a person like that could be referred to by his or her employees. But she knew I always enjoyed a challenge and just about begged me to help her out with this client since she knew I was free for the next few months. The recruiter told me quite liberally and innocently that the woman I was about to meet dealt in the “grey markets”. I asked her “Isn’t that illegal?” and she said it wasn’t.
The recruiter told me that Dina couldn’t keep staff past a month or two. Some worked the morning hours, left for lunch – never to return.
It was a dreary day when I took the subway uptown to go meet Dina at her Manhattan townhouse. I got off at the 72nd Street subway stop, walked up to 75th street and turned left towards the 322 West 75th Street property.
It was raining the morning I arrived, I remember the house was mostly draped in scaffolding. It was hard to tell what was being repaired but I could see it was intensive. I knocked on the door but no one came. There was muted movement behind the paper draped glass double doors and I could sense an adult sized weight, skipping down the stairs nearing the front door where I was waiting – then the movement suddenly stopped as if the person froze in place.
Meanwhile, out here on the steps where I was, there must have been at least 10 to 12 Hispanic men behind me coming out of a van, carrying things into the house next door on the Riverside Drive side of the block. That’s when I realized the men were employed by whomever was inside the house I was standing in front of and further realized that the house had two entrances.
One entrance, 322 was on 75th street and the other was on Riverside Drive. And yes, they received mail at both addresses. The mens’ accents gave them away, I heard accents from Ecuador, Peru, a few from Colombia and several more from the Dominican Republic. Having shopped on Queens Boulevard, I knew these were day laborers and guessed they were likely undocumented but a few days later, they would actually tell me so.
I asked one of them in Spanish if this was the right address and he assured me I was in the right place, adding that I should wait until someone came to the door. He said; “la casa sabe que estas tocando la puerta”. Translation: The house knows you’re knocking on the door. It was odd that he referred to the occupants as “the house” as if the house were a person of its own. I thought I was about to meet the Addams Family (and in many ways… I did).
The right side of the double doors opened and there was David. A tall, relatively good looking, humble character that was clearly without authority. He looked back up towards the stairs almost cowering in startled response to the woman screaming at him from some higher floor. I was certain he must be the butler. Listening to the screeching, I thought, “Ah then… that must be the lovely Dina I’m coming to meet”.
Latin as I am, there was no way David could hide his ethnicity from me. I politely addressed him in Spanish and remember being annoyed when he made believe he didn’t know what I was saying. As Pitbull often says in his songs, I thought, “No te hagas…” (translation: stop fronting / pretending).
Within a short while, I would come to realize that the very quiet and mysterious David who was clearly Colombian – was not the butler – he was Dina’s husband. In many ways, he conducted himself like a quasi-servant because that’s how she liked it. I remember there were only two boys in the house and I thought they might sometimes mention a 3rd child but I never saw him.
I remember a few things very vividly like the round hair salon which had new makeup artists and hairdressers working there almost on a weekly basis. I do not think I saw the same people there any given 2 weeks in a row. And I remember Dina’s particular cruelty with her wardrobe closets. The closets had two rows that I remember (they may have changed them since then)… one was near the ceiling.
The floor length outfits were hung up there so that they hung the distance almost from the ceiling to the floor of the closets. The second clothing rod was underneath it holding skirts, wraps and slacks (yes, slacks). Sweaters and blouses went in very fine bins and baskets and wardrobes. She got a great deal of pleasure forcing her maid to get the clothing onto the top row using a pole gadget similar to the types of roller poles one uses to paint a ceiling. The foot stool stood a few feet away but Dina wouldn’t let her maid use it. As I stood there I thought “What a great lead character in a novel this woman would make – what a witch”.
She had to be absolutely mean spirited I thought, not to let the woman use the step stool to hang the clothing. Dina insisted the maid use the pole while standing on the floor. The pole shook as the woman’s forearms trembled.
During Dina’s ritual of insulting the maid, I stood about 3 or 4 feet behind her and watched the maid’s tears fall on the floor. Standing behind her, I couldn’t see her face until she finally turned and ran past me. Her face was in absolute grief like someone walking away from a burial.
Her hatred for Dina was palpable and frankly, I understood why this woman would hate her. To this day, I have always wondered if this woman was the one that turned Dina in to the FBI.
This was the first of many hateful things I witnessed Dina do in her palace full of stolen treasures. A few hours later after everyone would leave and she was certain we were alone in the house, she would drape herself in a man’s tallit, donned a man’s yamulke and davened while she read prayers out of a book (they were clearly not memorized).
Her religious performance ritual was peculiar enough except she knew I was waiting for her to sign something or accept a delivery from her Manhattan office yet she made me stand there while she ‘performed’ her prayers. There was clearly no religious value in her prayers. The entire performance was pure theater.
Calls would come in on one of her various lines and she would lie to the callers without batting a fake eyelash. The striking thing about it was that her lies were about insignificant issues where the truth would have sufficed. Like with several eccentric people I’ve worked for from time to time, I thought, “I’ll work for this one until her check bounces.”
I knew this was not a person whose company I could ever enjoy. Her hypocrisy and her lack of character were so brazen and outrageous that after awhile I wondered if she simply paid David to stay married to her. She was an absolutely hateful person. She reminded me of a young Leona Hemlsley (a bit better looking but just as vile).
A wonderful source of amusement for those of us familiar with her wardrobe, was when CNN made reference to Dina enlisting the help of her rabbi to help convince a judge that she should not be required to wear an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet.
The reason the rabbi explained to the judge; was because Dina was a practicing orthodox Jew.
Her lawyer said that Orthodox practice forbid women from wearing slacks or pantsuits. Summer was coming, Wein Reis’s lawyer noted, and any skirt or dress shorter than ankle length would reveal the bracelet, which would complicate her efforts to get a new job.
That last sentence about Dina getting a job provoked roars of laughter from people who know her. Dina “get a new job? Dina Weis?” Her wardrobes and dressing room held plenty of slacks and pant suits.
The only kind of work that appealed to Dina was robbing middle aged men flattered by her phony attentions. Who the hell was she, her rabbi and her lawyer kidding?
Likely a goyem judge who must not have known anything about orthodoxy or was feigning ignorance. The judge who agreed to that concession was made a fool of by Dina and her attorneys. They are counting on the judge not knowing any better.
And while Dina was intrinsically involved with the Orthodox community, she defied Orthodox practice daily in a number of ways. Robbing corporations not being the least of them. In all of the investigations in the Dina case, I couldn’t find where the authorities listed the locations where the goods were held. Having been in that house, it seemed like an awful lot of product to me.
And in all the articles I have read about this case, I haven’t seen anyone write about where they kept the goods – grey market or otherwise. I’ve been reading articles anywhere I can find them and no one mentions where the loot was kept. It wouldn’t have occurred to Dina to try to be discrete since she was so insulated, I’m sure she thought no one was suspicious of her so she never thought of hiding anything.
Above is a recent photo of Dina Reis taken in Miami, Florida apparently sashaying down a runway for Art Basel in a Dolce & Gabbana outfit, Giuseppe Zanotti shoes & a vintage alligator clutch.
What I noticed now in 2014, is that the powers that be gave Dina back most of the art she bought with money she stole in the first place so that she could sell the art and pay restitution.
Most articles such as those published by Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Daily News and others based their accounts on actual court records; internal memos, spreadsheets, and e-mails from Wein Reis’s companies; wiretap transcripts; and interviews with former employees, targets, suppliers, family friends, and others familiar with the civil and criminal litigation against her. Wein Reis, thrived on intrigue, smoke and mirrors.
She used multiple aliases to run more than 100 shell companies. She tithed heavily to gain favor with the Jewish orthodox community (mostly in New York City). She gave millions to charities anonymously, but she was an absolute ogre to her employees — especially her private maid.
What seems to have escaped everyone is that the majority of the wealth went neatly back into the Family Trust and is now tied with a nice big bow!
Considering the little time she did, in Dina’s case, crime paid off very well and considering she’s in Miami representing the Whitney Museum now, after leaving prison, it seems to have paid off handsomely.
What impresses me most is the caliber of people surrounding this criminal. Is it because they already know or is it because they’re orchestrating Act II?
Dina Wein Reis was accused of duping several Fortune 500 companies of millions of dollars. The self-described philanthropist is expected to close this legal chapter with a guilty plea.
Dina Wein Reis, who made a fortune by capitalizing on male vanity and corporate greed, will finally have her day in court.
Fortune had learned that the flamboyant, accused con artist planned to plead guilty to a felony conspiracy charge on Thursday, ending a lengthy federal investigation into allegations that she defrauded a slew of Fortune 500 companies of millions of dollars. (For more, see The alleged grifter who duped corporate giants.)
The deal, if approved by federal district Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson of the Southern District of Indiana, could expose Wein Reis to up to 31 months in federal prison — a dramatic fall from grace for the self-described philanthropist and art collector, who boasted luxurious homes in Manhattan, Westhampton Beach, Bal Harbour, and Jerusalem.
Under terms of the deal, Wein Reis must pay $7 million in restitution to her corporate victims, which include Roche, Unilever and Valvoline, a unit of Ashland ASH 0.66%. Hewlett Packard who was definitely a victim never appears in any of the court documentation. They never admitted to the theft.
Three of Wein Reis’s associates are also expected to plead guilty to felony counts. The government is expected to recommend probation.
Wein Reis was arrested in October 2008 on charges of conspiracy and wire fraud related to a product diversion ring she headed. Diverters operate in the little-known but large gray market in which consumer goods are bought and sold in channels unauthorized by manufacturers.
Her business model was audacious. To obtain product, Wein Reis and her associates would usually begin by cold-calling managers and executives at big-brand companies, dangling an offer of a high-paying job to replace her as the head of her company. At the right moment, with the executive believing that a job offer was on the table, Wein Reis would ask him to arrange a shipment of discounted merchandise from his current employer for a sampling program.
Reis, who disguised her identity with pseudonyms and shell companies, used the same ploy over and over — even retargeting companies that had cottoned on to the scheme.
Two companies — Unilever UL 0.94% and Roche — fought back aggressively after realizing they’d been scammed, and cooperated actively with prosecutors. Roche, which settled a civil suit with Wein Reis, claimed she bilked it out of $10 million of diabetes-testing equipment. Unilever put its losses at $2.23 million in a deal involving detergent. Hewlett Packard would not admit they had been robbed.
But while Wein Reis’s ruses were brazen and unethical, prosecutors realized that they might have difficulty proving to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that her activities in most of the cases they investigated were criminal. Several of the so-called “victims” appeared less than sympathetic, as they had misled their own employers about their pursuit of job offers with Wein Reis. Other supposed victims seemed to know what Wein Reis was up to, and saw her as a way to get product out the door to make their quarterly numbers.
The government will file what is called a “criminal information” in which the government lays out the charge to which Wein Reis has agreed to plead guilty. Under this system, the defendant agrees to plead guilty and waive the right to indictment. The conspiracy count to which Wein Reis is pleading relates to a scam she conducted against the maker of Bon Ami cleaning products.
“Dina wants to put this whole case behind her and get on with the rest of her life,” says J. Richard Kiefer, one of her lawyers. “It is time to resolve the case.”
Wein Reis is expected to seek probation arguing that she is too emotionally frail to spend time in prison. [Yes, I too laughed outloud when I read this line].
And if you’re curious about her co-accused, namely Suzanne Carrico, Sarah Golden and Chaya Cooper – you can rest assured that when the jig was up for Dina, she immediately threw her girls under the bus.
Written by SyndicatedNews