For anyone living in the New York metropolitan area throughout the s and s, Crazy Eddie was inescapable. A chain of electronics stores that eventually spread to 43 locations across four states, the business bombarded consumers with print, television, and radio ads that guaranteed name brand products at major discounts. I was trained to be a criminal. A high school dropout at the age of 16, Eddie Antar wasted no time in exploiting the burgeoning world of consumer electronics. It was the late s, and smaller, more portable transistors were about to usher in a new wave of products that would make Japanese brands like Sony and Panasonic household names. Before long, video game systems, VCRs, and camcorders would expand the market.
The U.S. government is losing the war against white collar crime.
For the latest business news and markets data, please visit CNN Business. That's the message from Sam E. Antar, one of the masterminds of the massive Crazy Eddie fraud of the s. My biggest regret is I should've been a criminal today rather than 20 years ago," Antar told CNNMoney on the sidelines of a New Jersey securities fraud summit.
Crazy Eddie was a consumer electronics chain in the Northeastern United States. The chain rose to prominence throughout the Tri-State Region as much for its prices as for its memorable radio and television commercials, featuring a frenetic, "crazy" character played by radio DJ Jerry Carroll who copied most of his shtick from early TV-commercial pioneer, used car and electronics salesman Earl "Madman" Muntz. Unable to sustain his fraudulent business practices, co-founder Eddie Antar cashed in millions of dollars' worth of stock and resigned from the company in December Crazy Eddie's board of directors approved the sale of the company in November The entire Antar family was immediately removed from the business. The new owners quickly discovered the true extent of the Antar family's fraud, but were unable to turn around Crazy Eddie's quickly declining fortunes.
Sure, his prices were insane, but for a generation of TV and radio fans, Crazy Eddie's commercials in the New York City market in the '70s and '80s were outrageous and outrageously fun. He was Antar started in the early '70s with a single electronics store in Brooklyn and his empire eventually grew to 43 stores in four states. After about a year run, Antar was indicted on securities fraud and insider trading charges and eventually served time in prison. Yet, everybody knew the commercials. They featured pitchman Jerry Carroll screaming maniacally about the chain's latest sale, usually tied to a holiday.