In­ves­ti­ga­tor nailed­wall St. swindlers

Helped to con­vict Ivan­boesky for in­sider trad­ing

Chicago Sun-Times - - Front Page -

As an in­ves­ti­ga­tor for the U.S. Se­cu­ri­ties and Ex­change Com­mis­sion, Stan­ley Whit­ten hunted down Wall Street swindlers who were part of multi-mil­lion-dol­lar in­vest­ment scams.

He was in­volved in the pros­e­cu­tion of Ivan Boesky, a no­to­ri­ous stock trader who made a for­tune off in­sider trad­ing in the 1980s, and spent years track­ing Thomas Quinn, the ring­leader of an in­ter­na­tional scheme who eluded au­thor­i­ties for decades with aliases and fake pass­ports.

Mr. Whit­ten also aided Evel Knievel when the mo­tor­cy­cle-rid­ing stunt­man fell vic­tim to fraud. As a to- ken of ap­pre­ci­a­tion, Knievel painted a pic­ture of ducks and gave it to Mr. Whit­ten, a former North­brook and High­land Park res­i­dent.

“Stan is one of the best in­vest­ment fraud in­ves­ti­ga­tors,” said Ed Kohler, who works for the U.S. At­tor­ney’s Of­fice. “He un­der­stood the in­dus­try very thor­oughly and was able to in­ves­ti­gate just about any kind of al­le­ga­tion of se­cu­ri­ties fraud.”

Mr. Whit­ten died from com­pli­ca­tions re­lated to blood can­cer and Parkinson’s dis­ease on Nov. 13 in Madi­son, Wis., where he had been liv­ing the past few years. He was 76.

Mr. Whit­ten be­gan his ca­reer as an in­ves­ti­ga­tor in 1974 in Washington, D.C., and was trans­ferred in 1978 to Chicago, where he re­mained un­til re­tir­ing in 1995.

A former stock bro­ker, Mr. Whit­ten had a good nose for de­tect­ing mar­ket ma­nip­ula- tion, ac­cord­ing to Tim War­ren, as­so­ci­ate re­gional di­rec­tor of the SEC’S Chicago of­fice.

Known as a dogged in­ves­ti­ga­tor, Mr. Whit­ten once de­liv­ered a sub­poena at a hos­pi­tal to a per­pe­tra­tor who was on his way to the op­erat- ing ta­ble.

Deal­ing with “white-col­lar crim­i­nals” was some­times dan­ger­ous. A wit­ness of his was once shot and killed while stand­ing next to him in an el­e­va­tor, ac­cord­ing to his daugh­ter, Cos­mas Skaife.

“It was a dif­fi­cult job,” said his brother, Les­lie H. Whit­ten. “He went af­ter sleazy but in­tel­li­gent crim­i­nals. Stan was real smart. He was able to nail them.”

In his free time, Mr. Whit­ten cre­ated crossword puz­zles that were na­tion­ally syn­di­cated and pub­lished in the New York Times, Chicago Tri­bune, L.A. Times and Washington Post.

“There were a lot of sides to Stan,” Kohler said. “He prided him­self in be­ing a cru­civer­bal­ist.”

Some­times he would de­sign crossword puz­zle clues for cer­tain peo­ple and sur­prise them when they saw the pa­per. An el­derly wom- an once asked for an au­to­graphed crossword puz­zle, so Mr. Whit­ten learned more about her life and cre­ated a puz­zle just for her.

“It just made it so spe­cial,” said his daugh­ter. “My dad had never met this per­son in his life, but he did this for her.”

In 1991, Mr. Whit­ten ap­peared on the tele­vi­sion game show “Wheel of For­tune” and won three days in a row, earn­ing $14,850 and a car. He ended up in a le­gal bat­tle with the IRS af­ter de­duct­ing on his tax re­turn travel ex­penses and other items re­lated to the trip, claim­ing they were “wa­ger­ing losses.” Mr. Whit­ten even­tu­ally lost the case.

Mr. Whit­ten “liked to play lawyer” and had pre­vi­ously taken the bar exam in Cal­i­for­nia just to see if he could pass, and he did. He hung the cer­tifi­cate in the em­ployee re­stroom at work.

“He was al­ways with a sense of hu­mor and al­ways jok­ing around,” said his daugh­ter.

A na­tive of Washington, D.C., Mr. Whit­ten was born Feb. 2, 1935. He grad­u­ated from Cor­nell Univer­sity in 1957 with a de­gree in me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing.

He served in the U.S. Navy for three years as the chief en­gi­neer aboard the USS Ni­cholas, sta­tioned in Aus­tralia, the Philip­pines and Hong Kong.

In 1963, Mr. Whit­ten mar­ried Rose Marie Mc­n­er­ney, a one-time teacher. Later in life the two loved to travel and spend time at their va­ca­tion home in Florida. She pre­ceded him in death.

Mr. Whit­ten is sur­vived by an­other brother, Har­vey; two sons, Burt and Lewis; an­other daugh­ter, Mary, and four grand­chil­dren.

Ser­vices have been held.

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