More than a decade after the debut of the feature film “Boiler Room” (and even longer since the demise of its inspiration, Stratton Oakmont’s $250-million pump and dump fraud) Long Island still has a rep for cold-calling, high-pressure stock scammers. Partly, at least, it's due to the roles Vin Diesel, Ben Affleck and Giovanni Ribisi played in the 2000 movie.
Just take a look at what former Rangers hockey player Scott Gomez says to ESPN The Magazine in its May 2 issue, in a story titled “Uh-oh, I'm rich: Coming into money changes people, not to mention the people around them.”
Gomez says, "I've had phone calls straight out of "Boiler Room," with some random guy from Long Island calling and saying, 'Scott, don't play games, you have to give me this money now, this is a great opportunity’"
“And I didn't know who it was or how he got my number,” Gomez, now with the Montreal Canadiens, says.
Newsday's Aileen Jacobson, in a 2007 interview with "Boiler Room" director Jennifer Todd, finds a demographic explanation for the link between Long Island and Wall Street wolves.
"On the sociological side, Todd says, Long Island had -- and still has -- all the right ingredients for producing guys willing to overlook ethical concerns as they stalk millionaire status.
"'There's such extreme variation in wealth from town to town. Right next door, you have some of the most expensive property in the world, compared to a few towns over," she (Todd) says. "This couldn't have happened in Kansas."
Stratton Oakmont, based in Lake Success, extracted cash from thousands of investors before it was closed for fraud in late 1996. It gained control over the supply of some thinly traded stocks, pumped up prices with cold-calling squads of brokers, then sold -- before share prices tanked.
Photo: Ben Affleck and Giovanni Ribisi in 'Boiler Room'.