Cohen & Kerwin

It seems like a day doesn’t go by without someone asking me when my book about the life of Chub Anderson will be published and who killed E.C. Mullendore. As many of you may realize it is extremely hard to get a book published in the best of times and in today’s economy unless you are an established author like John Grisham it is even tougher. There are so-called “vanity presses” who will print your book for a fee but they usually do not provide the marketing and publicity necessary to make a book successful on a national scale. I believe in the potential of this story to appeal to people everywhere, not just in the southwest, and so I have been in contact with agents and publishers around the country such as the William Morris Agency in New York as well as several successful documentary film makers.

In the last month the project has captured the attention of a person who has the contacts to make the story into a movie and who is interested in doing just that. Negotiations are currently underway and look very hopeful. I’ll keep everyone in the loop via this website. Thanks for all your support!

This week I am bringing you the profiles of two other shady characters who played a role in this Oklahoma tragedy, the murder of E.C. Mullendore III.

Leon Cohen out of Atlanta and his partner Leroy Kerwin from Chicago were a pair of insurance swindlers who had set up a seemingly legitimate life insurance company based in Atlanta, Georgia. They started selling policies in 1969 and their client list included Mickey Mantle, Harry Belafonte, Cassius Clay and O.J. Simpson along with at least thirty-five others. They sold more than one hundred million dollars in insurance but E.C. Mullendore’s fifteen million dollar policy was by far the largest of all.

Cohen was also a convicted rapist and at the time when the Mullendore policy was issued, the Securities and Exchange Commission was already looking into his business affairs. Leroy Kerwin was  another “inventive” money maker who spent time in federal prison for fraud when in 1961 he was arrested for selling three hundred stolen cars.

The IRS was also investigating the “Bank of Sark”, a phony bank that Kerwin had created which he claimed was located on a tiny island off the coast of England and had assets of 72.5 million. Kerwin sold shares in the bank to investors who were unaware that it was actually a small room above a bar on the island without any assets whatsoever, a fact that was revealed by a local postal service investigator. When the scam was discovered the Wall Street Journal ran an article calling it the “greatest and neatest swindle of all time”.

Mafia king pin Carlos Marcello came into the picture during an investigation into the murder of Leroy Kerwin who was discovered in a shallow grave in Canada. Kerwin had disappeared on his way to meet with Oakland Raiders great Art Powell who was planning to buy life insurance from him.

As for Cohen, with both the feds and the mob after him and fearing for his life, he moved to Florida where he adopted a very low profile lifestyle.

In our internet age these two swindlers would have been easy to see through but back then it was easier for them to deceive a rancher from Oklahoma.

Next week: a filmed interview with another person who was working at the ranch and visited with Chub and E.C. on that fateful day forty years ago.

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