A few weeks before the publication of Born to Steal, I had the great pleasure of meeting a man I had previously known only by reputation. His name was Kevin Barrows, and only a month before he had been a special agent for the FBI. In 1999, Kevin and his partner John Brosnan tracked down and arrested the elusive "one-man stock fraud army" Louis Pasciuto—the youthful Mob moneymaker who was the subject of Born to Steal.
Like me, Kevin Barrows and John Brosnan had spent grueling hours interviewing Louis and corroborating his dramatic account of criminality on Wall Street. Using the full resources of the FBI, they found that Louis was a truthful and uniquely valuable source of information-"the Forest Gump of securities fraud."
Kevin is now a vice president of Stroz Friedberg, LLC, a leading computer crime investigative and consulting firm in New York City. He was kind enough to provide the following unique, insider's perspective on Louis Pasciuto and Born to Steal:
"My partner and I tracked Louis for a long time, initially without knowing his true identity. Finally, one of my cases led me to an informant who was able to help put the pieces together. The guy we were looking for was not 'Louis Delouse' or any of the other names by which he was known, but rather Louis Pasciuto, a one man stock fraud crime wave. I referred to him as the 'Forest Gump' of securities fraud, having shown up in every infamous chop house and bucket shop in lower Manhattan.
"The greatest hurdle of working with Louis was the same hurdle I faced when working with every other 'reformed' criminal; how can you trust that what a compulsive liar tells you is true? So we spent countless hours debriefing him and comparing his information to what our other informants were telling us and what we knew was true. We then recorded conversations between Louis and those about which he provided information with the intent to further confirm that he was being truthful. In the end, the information that he gave us proved to be invaluable. It led to the indictment of countless gangsters and corrupt brokers. Louis was a top flight informant.
"In Born to Steal, Gary Weiss tells the story of Louis Pasciuto and his gangster milieu with accuracy and fidelity to truth, but in a manner that captures the imagination. It is the inside story that only I, my partner John Brosnan, and Louis would have been able to tell. It is a compelling inside look at modern organized crime and stock fraud. For those who think that the mob on Wall Street is dead, think again. Louis is living proof that it is alive and well."