By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
He had thought of Dietl, he testified, because "I knew that Bo was not a detail person."
Cantor said that after he dreamed up the plan he drove straightaway from his Westchester office to Dietl's headquarters in the old Daily News building on East 42nd Street. There, he had Dietl's secretary type up a backdated letter in which Dietl affirmed that his company had overseen the production of rolls and reels of holograms months earlier.
Cantor said he then walked into Dietl's office with the letter. "I said, 'Bo, do me a favor? Can you sign this?' He said, 'Sure.' He signed it and I walked out."
Dietl barely glanced at the letter, Cantor testified. "Dietl lied, but I don't know that he was aware of the date," said the witness.
On cross-examination, Cantor was grilled by former Manhattan U.S. Attorney Otto Obermaier, now a top defense attorney. Obermaier pressed Cantor as to how his friend could be so naive. "Was he awake when he signed it?" asked the lawyer.
Cantor said he later went back to see Dietl to ask him to fax the false letter, plus a fake report, to Deloitte & Touche, and to tell auditors there that his firm had overseen the hologram production. Dietl complied, according to Cantor.
Dietl was never charged in the affair, although his role was detailed in the criminal complaint, as well as in an SEC action filed against Cantor. Last week, Dietl insisted he was guilty of nothing but trusting the wrong guy.
"I honestly didn't know what the hell a roll or a reel was," the detective acknowledged. "I was never part of a fraud." Dietl said he had signed the bogus letter unknowingly, thinking it would help him collect a $50,000 bill for guard services that Cantor owed him.
The performance hardly jibes with Dietl's self-description in his new book. In a chapter headed "Success Is a Full-Time Job," Dietl wrote: "I'm always on. I'm a hands-on executive."
"Listen," he responded. "If you owe me $50,000, and you say, 'Hey Bo, just sign here and we'll get you your money.' That's exactly what he said. I didn't look at the thing."