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Secret Agent: The feds bought Wayne McLeod's lies. He stole their futures.

This front-page story appeared in the Florida Times-Union on Sunday, July 25, 2010. It was the recipient of a Sunshine State Award in 2011 by the Society of Professional Journalists' South Florida chapter for Enterprise Business Reporting.

When Kenneth Wayne McLeod held a gun to his head and ended his life, it left a single bullet hole in the driver's side window of his Hummer.

The dark tint of the black sport utility vehicle's window held the shattered glass together. The film was like the lies the 48-year-old Jacksonville financial adviser hid behind for years, a slick facade that kept investors in his fraudulent bond fund unaware until a convergence of forces pushed the truth from the shadows.

Since his June suicide, his family and many of his closest associates have declined offers to talk about his life. But interviews with dozens of others and public records revealed a lot about the man behind a Ponzi scheme of at least $34 million. They depict a man who developed the cunning of an undercover cop, the swagger of a millionaire playboy and the street smarts of a wise guy as he built his bankroll off the backs of federal employees.
Read more here.

The Wayne McLeod story was one of the biggest stories I covered in my journalism career. As someone with a financial services background, I was shocked by the scope of the fraud, particularly the federal law enforcement officers who were the unfortunate victims of McLeod's scam. I wrote a number of stories during the aftermath of McLeod's death, including one here, herehere and here.


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