Posted on: August 25, 2021
By: Haley Chitty

Bill Atkinson headshotIn 1996 when I was a business reporter at The Baltimore Sun, reporter Gary Cohn and I wrote a blow-by-blow story about a financial scandal that bilked Signet Bank and six other financial institutions out of $350 million. It was an incredible scam engineered by two nobodies: Ed Reiners and John Ruffo.

ABC News recently launched a podcast, Have You Seen This Man? that digs into the story 25 years later. (If you listen, you can hear me describe the intricacies of the scam, dubbed “Project Star” to ABC News reporter Matthew Mosk.)

What makes this story worth a series today? Ruffo is still on the run and the U.S. Marshals are still trying to nab him. There are also lessons for business leaders about trusting those you do business with, asking basic questions, and conducting even rudimentary due diligence before agreeing to a deal.