Welcome to Uncaged! Your newest book, God’s Ponzi is a financial thriller which releases on March 3rd. Can you tell readers more about this book?
Gregory Portent takes you, the reader, on a wild scheme to defraud. And you’re going to love it. Gregory is not your typical Ponzi schemer. He created this Ponzi scheme in order to get revenge against evil lawyers and other nasty white collar criminals for destroying his best friend. All is under control with the help of artificial intelligence, until — an unexpected black swan event in the market. Think Silicon Valley meets the Wolf of Wall Street.
What is the most difficult scene for you to write? What is the easiest?
There’s a scene toward the end, where the leader of the scheme, Gregory Portent, is at the precipice of facing prison or his own murder, if he doesn’t come up with millions of dollars to fill the impending collapse if he doesn’t fill the financial hole in the Ponzi scheme. Gregory makes a series of calls on his computer to all his friends on his team, while he’s waiting for the outcome of his last “throw of the dice,” to save himself. The talks paid homage to each of them. Gregory confesses his flaws and no matter what the outcome of the scheme, he was a better person for knowing them. It’s a very cathartic. We should all participate in this act as needed, but at least once in our lives. But his confessions of vulnerability and fallibility were emotionally hard to write.
The easier and fun parts to write were the schemes prior to the Ponzi scheme. It was fun to create and build the schemes that served as the foundation for the ultimate Ponzi scheme Gregory and his team started and had to maintain.
Do you have a favorite character you’ve written? Has there been a character that’s been hard to write about?
One character is named Jeffrey Gogolas, nicknamed, “Googol.” He is a law and technology professor at M.I.T. He is a quiet hero. He will be there when you need him because he promised he would be there.
Writers are actors in some sense, in that we have to tap into the darkness when a character takes us to that place. There are dark corners in God’s Ponzi.
How do you come up with the title to your books?
Titles are fun. I enjoy naming chapters too. My formula for coming up with a title? I ask: What is this novel about; what will intrigue?
What behind-the-scenes tidbit in your life would probably surprise your readers the most?
I live in Florida, the most “Ponzi” place on the planet. When lawyers that I’ve worked with participated in one of the largest Ponzi schemes in the country, I was disappointed, but I also knew there was a novel buried in this tragedy.
Read the rest of the interview in the issue below
Robert Buschel has a storied career as a trial lawyer. His cases compel him to dive deep into politics, medicine, and computer science. Although Robert writes to live, not to re-live, he filters and refines the stories of the world around him for a never-ending supply of fresh tales for his readers to enjoy.
Gregory Portent demands revenge. Revenge is best served cold and when the prey begs to be the target. With his skills and charisma he lures them in easy—using an investment bank to launch a Ponzi scheme. Gregory Portent has one advantage—artificial intelligence. At a critical point, he loses his way. A ‘black swan’ event follows and the Ponzi scheme borders on the brink of collapse. It’s not about revenge anymore; it’s about survival. Greedy lawyers, the FBI, and international syndicates pursue him. Greg must go on the run. Everyone he cares about is now in danger. He must win. The strange thing? You’ll be rooting for him the whole time. Will he win big and get his vengeance? Robert Buschel proves beyond a reasonable doubt, he is a rising storyteller. Pick up God’s Ponzi and unlock the secret behind the world’s most diabolical Ponzi scheme.
Suppose your friend’s girlfriend is a stripper. Would you go to the gentleman’s club and pay her for a lap dance? Is that wrong? It’s your good friend’s friend. On the other hand, stripping is her job. And if it’s something she’s willing to do for a stranger, why’s it wrong if she does it for you? What if she’s really good and you pay her extra? You know, tip her well. Money isn’t the issue? Fine. What if you then see her at her work all the time and it becomes a regular thing? What if because you’re friends with her friend, she considers you a friend, and now she feels there’s nothing wrong with a little extra in the V.I.P. room because you won’t talk, and she’s comfortable with you? You’re now her friend, and it’s your birthday – and you’ve already seen her naked nearly a hundred times and wondered what it would be like to touch her. Any of this wrong? Before today, I would have been able to make the right decision, the ethical decision, even before my private naughty orgasm released a rush of regret to my anterior cingulate cortex.
People who have the luxury of doing the right thing for the right reasons would disapprove of what I’ve been doing for the past several years -committing crimes. But I’ve been committing these crimes for the right reasons. When I’m done, the world will be in a better place, and I’ll have my satisfaction – my revenge. Revenge for me, turned into a blood oath. But the problems erupted quickly because revenge made me myopic. Yesterday, I was content to act like a criminal. Before then, I wouldn’t have had a problem answering those ethics questions. No, it’s not complicated either. It’s simple. It was simple for me and it’s simple for the world. People just like to make the answers complicated in order to justify their bad behavior. Before, I wouldn’t have even gone into the club. I never would have allowed myself to be tempted to make the wrong move. Because even though my friend ‘s girl would take her clothes off and grind up against other sleazy, horny toads if he or she had the money, the point is – that’s my friend’s girl, and I wouldn’t disrespect my friend.
Others may know what she looks like naked, what she feels like, and what it’s like to pay to look at her. Hell, these strippers’ boyfriends or managers, have to pay the girl’s rent so they can see them naked. The world of other seedy men could know these things – but I shouldn ‘t. I needed to know everything else. I needed to know who was willing to violate that friendship. Who was ethical and who was a lying, unscrupulous piece of shit. Others have called me a sophisticated and treacherous Machiavellian. Pick the blue pill or the red pilJ.2 But it’s simple. I already know what you’re going to say, “You picked the blue pill.” Because when the shit goes down, the FBI, SEC, IRS, or some politically-motivated state prosecutor who wants to become a judge, throws around some accusations, “queen for a day” immunity letters, or just plain want to snap the handcuffs on the rare members of the privileged investment class, for some sexy headlines and a perp walk3 – you want to be able to portray yourself as living in the believable reality of blissful ignorance. You didn’t know a thing. You would never do something like that. You’re moral. World, hear me! Alright, you made four-hundred-percent on your money in ninety-days, but – really, I didn ‘ t know something criminal was going on.
So what’s my problem? Well, I’m part of a criminal enterprise – a Ponzi scheme; and I hold a leadership position in that enterprise. The enterprise has gone international. It’s big and ongoing – worth billions. I wanted to work faster while remaining methodical. I had to run the scheme my way. Of course I wanted your help. I wanted to trap certain treacherous investors and keep the innocent ones out, for sure. But some people can’t help themselves – they ‘re drawn to the bright ultraviolet light in the center surrounded by the electrified grill. Meant to kill mosquitoes, sometimes a friendly lizard will just ride the lightning until its well-done body drops to ground.
Here we are in a simple Ford E350 Econoline van in front of my ocean-front condo. I adjusted the laptop on the passenger seat in order to remove the glare off the screen, and there’s a postcard in the center console with physicist Garrett Lisi ‘s EB physics model in full color on it. I turned it over and my wife, Taylor wrote, “May God’s particle be with you.”s I ‘ll admit it, even under the stress of being chased by international syndicates and the FBI, I smiled and continued to drive. With the aid of cutting-edge artificial intelligence – my best friend, I might be able to survive. Next step, go off-line and finish God ‘s Ponzi.
Read the rest of the excerpt in the issue below