Steve Shea Busted
How do you get bragging rights in Otisville Prison Camp? You get bragging rights when your crime is big enough to make it on an episode of “American Greed.” I was locked up with American Greed stars Ken Starr and the Romano brothers. Ken Starr ripped off the movie stars. The Romano brothers ran a boiler room that sold coins. The reason the Romanos made American Greed is because one of the Romano brothers tried to hire a hit man to murder his prosecutor and judge. He hired the hit man while he was in prison. He got two life sentences. I never got to meet that Romano. He is locked up in a Pen, not a camp.
The lastest inmate to star in American Greed is inmate Stephen Shea. Shea got 30 months for his role as Chief Operating Officer at Sky Capital. Sky Capital was a brokerage firm that hawked stocks and “private placements.” Sky Capital was run by a guy named Ross Mandell. Sky ripped off investors a total of $140 million. Sky brokers targeted people living in England, finding English investors more trusting than Americans. Sky sent their brokers to London and picked up the tabs at “adult entertainment clubs.”
Sky was run by a flamboyant Jewish guy from Long Island named Ross Mandell. Mandell was highly intelligent and educated, but unfortunately he abused drugs and alcohol. He went to AA meetings for over 20 years. He received many letters of support from AA members at his sentencing. He probably used AA meetings in order to recruit stock brokers. Forbes magazine described Mandell as, “surrounding himself by a staff of ne’er-do-wells who cut every corner in the securities business. He would encourage them to seek help for substance abuse, which was common among staff, and to enrich themselves through hard work … selling stocks! They partied hard, spent a lot of money, tried to make a success of the companies they funded and, in the end, lost a millions of dollars of shareholder money.” One of those ne’er-do-wells was a guy by the name of Stephen Shea.
Shea came on board with Mandell in the beginning of the scam in 1997 and stayed til “the bitter end” when Sky offices were raided by the Feds in 2006. “Ne’er-do-well” is defined by Webster’s as “lazy, irresponsible, good-for-nothing, loafer, idler, sluggard, shirker, drone.” Having worked with Shea in the prison kitchen I would not describe him as a “ne’er-do-well.” He worked hard in the kitchen. He was overweight. When he worked behind the hot ovens his fat body drenched with sweat. There was no air conditioning in the prison.
At one point Shea tried to get out of the kitchen and work at the prison warehouse. He kept losing his temper when he served breakfast. He started yelling and cursing out every guy who he served breakfast. Could you imagine getting cussed out by a big, fat, scary looking guy who handed you a breakfast tray every morning?
Eventually Shea calmed down. The blueboyz probably had a few words with him. When he first came into prison he was a quiet, pleasant guy. It took a few months of prison life to turn him into an animal. When he first came into prison he was getting letters from the American Greed show asking him to appear on the show, or at least give an interview. He said he would never do it. He eventually agreed to do the show.
In his criminal case Shea tried to downplay his role with Ross Mandell at Sky Capital. He claimed he was just a “back office” guy. He said he was there just “to make the trains run on time.” While his case was proceeding he offered to cooperate with the Feds. But by the time he tried to cooperate it was too late. The Feds told him the train already left.
The Feds already had guys cooperating. They didn’t need Shea. And Shea didn’t offer the Feds anything. He tried to downplay his role at Sky. You can’t have it both ways. Either you cooperate and inflate your role in the conspiracy and provide useful “truthful” information to the Feds. Or you don’t cooperate at all, go to trial and deny everything. Shea wanted to cooperate while at the same time deny everything. That’s why he got 30 months in the clink and the rats in his case got probation.
Inmate Neighborhood Mitch yelled at Shea for being a “RAT” while they watched his episode of American Greed. Neighborhood Mitch doesn’t like rats. Yet in Neighborhood Mitch’s illegal gambling case most of the wiseguys ratted each other out and got less than two years. Whatever happened to “omerta,” the Mafia code of silence?