It's only a matter of time (hours, maybe?) before the media latches on to the fact that Chelsea Clinton's engagement to childhood friend and college beau Marc Mezvinsky isn't half as interesting as her future father-in-law -- a former congressman from Iowa who in 2003 was sentenced to almost 7 years in prison for 66 counts of bank, mail and wire fraud totaling more than $10 million.
Edward Mezvinsky (AKA "Fast-Talkin' Eddie," AKA "Rat Claw" Mezvinsky, AKA "Crazy Eddie") is a former U.S. Representative from Iowa whom a prosecutor called a "one-man crime wave," according to a 2003 article in the Des Moines Register.
He was an all-state football player in high school who also played on Ames High School's state championship basketball team, a huge deal in Iowa. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1972 and served on the Judiciary Committee's impeachment investigation of then-President Richard Nixon. He even wrote a book about the downfall of the man who famously said, "I am not a crook."
But he got taken in by those African money scams -- you know, the Nigerian prince who wants you to write him a check for $10,000 and he'll pay you back twice that much -- and dragged other people into it as well. He was robbing Peter to pay Paul, so to speak.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Zauzmer told the Register that investigators uncovered fraud in nearly every business deal Mezvinski made since 1980. The fraud charges didn't even cover that entire time.
Mezvinksy was diagnosed as bipolar and also claimed that an anti-malaria drug he had taken impaired his mental state, but the judge did not allow an insanity defense. The official ruling stated:
Upon careful scrutiny, Mezvinsky's proffered mental health defenses are foounded upon a miasma of ifs, hypotheses and conjectures that have no relevance to the mental state Mezvinsky disclaims for the twelve years at issue here. His experts cite nothing relaible from which a jury might link Mezvinksy's PET-identified brain abnormalities and Larium ingestion to his capacity to decieve.
In other words, he's a nut case all right, but he knew exactly what he was doing when he ripped people off. Between 1995 and 2000 alone, Mezvinsky made 165 bank transactions just under $10,000; anything over that amount would have required the bank to file a report. This type of manipulation is called structuring. The Des Moines Register quoted prosecutor Zauzmer as saying:
Mezvinsky was a poster child for structuring. He would go to three banks and get $9,900 on the same day."
That's what most people would call "crazy like a fox."
Mezvinsky was sentenced in 2003 to 80 months in prison. He was released on April 11, 2008, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.