Before entertaining questions, Marin hammers some rivets into a section of a Mongolian ger (a collapsible tent-like structure) he's been building. He says he's going to attend the Burning Man Festival in Nevada for the seventh year in a row and plans to fly there in his Cessna 310, a six-seater.

He says he takes on the persona of a major airline pilot at the popular festival, donning a uniform with epaulettes and insignias for kicks. He spends some of his time giving festival attendees free rides in his plane, saying with a wink that whether the folks choose to join the mythical "Mile High Club" in the six-seat craft is a private matter.

Marin leads the way to his garage, cluttered with bicycles, exercise and climbing equipment, tools, a mannequin, and, improbably, the guts of a half-finished Glasair plane. He says he's been building the slick, pre-molded composite kit plane from scratch.

Marin at his Gilbert home, shortly before his arrest, with one of his “sculpture paintings.”
Paul Rubin
Marin at his Gilbert home, shortly before his arrest, with one of his “sculpture paintings.”
The early-morning fire on July 5 totaled the beautiful multimillion-dollar mansion.
Phoenix Fire Department
The early-morning fire on July 5 totaled the beautiful multimillion-dollar mansion.

Finally, Marin steps back into his unlighted living room and plops down on a couch next to a piano, greeting his cat as she jumps onto his lap.

Within eyesight are pieces of his artwork (a marriage of sculpture and painting) and mementos of his many years living in Japan. But conspicuous by their absence are Marin's Picassos, which he says usually hang on the wall a few feet away in the dining room.

"The nuts came out of the woodwork after the fire," Marin says by way of explanation. "All those ugly calls and comments. I felt like I had to put them [the Picasso prints] in a safe place."

Books of all stripes are on several shelves. The titles include Nietzsche For Beginners, Excuses Begone!, Dating For Dummies, World of Macaws, and Lowering Your Handicap.

"Where do I start?" Marin asks.

Born into a large middle-class family (his father George was a U.S. Navy lifer), Marin was raised on beautiful Whidbey Island near Seattle.

His parents were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Marin dutifully went on his two-year mission in 1978.

He was sent to Japan, a baby-faced 19-year-old who, years later, would sell derivative securities to the Japanese for a living. (He says he no longer considers himself of the Mormon faith.)

After returning home from his mission, Marin graduated from Brigham Young University with honors. He then enrolled at Yale Law School, where he excelled academically and was an editor of the Yale Law Review.

Marin's then-wife Tammy gave birth to the second of their four children while he was in law school. Soon after that, he was a fledgling attorney at a large New York firm specializing in transactional law.

"I had an art, music, and literature background," he says, "but here I was on Wall Street developing cold-blooded, reptilian trading instincts."

From the mid-1980s until the late-1990s, his ride included stints as head of the legal department for Salomon Brothers in Asia (after the 1991 bond-trading scandal), head of derivative finance for Lehman Brothers in Asia, and a director of Merrill Lynch in Tokyo.

During that time, he self-published a book, Fluctuations, which he described as "the inside story of how Wall Street eff'd Asia without a kiss."

In it, Marin warns potential litigants: "The bulk of my personal net worth is now safely hidden in a geometrically complex series of offshore trusts that would make the Clinton Whitewater arrangements seem simple by comparison."

But Marin needn't have worried about getting sued. Unlike Michael Lewis, whose classic Liar's Poker covers much of the same subject matter and time frame as Fluctuations — and did name names — Marin instead gave pseudonyms to his main antagonists, occasionally in a clever way.

Marin's book also provides insight to his personal life. In one poignant passage, he describes how his wife divorced him, allegedly unexpectedly, in 1993 after she and the couple's four young children had moved to Arizona. Marin writes (and his son Schuyler confirms) that he subsequently traveled back and forth from Japan once a month to spend time with his kids.

He notes in the book, "You know you're in trouble when you come to the realization that all you've ever really known — all you've ever really been capable of feeling — is abandonment, rejection, betrayal, pain, shame, guilt, and depression."

Marin's last job in the finance industry was with Lehman Brothers, which fired him in 1997 after, according to what he says, was a massive changing of the guard.

"I was in good shape money-wise at that time," he says.

Around that time, Marin says he bid on and won the original Picasso etchings that included a set from the "Sable Mouvant" series. Completed in the mid-1960s, the etchings were done as illustrations for a posthumous book of poetry by the master's old friend Pierre Reverdy.

"It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Marin says. "It's one of those things where you sell the ranch and mortgage your mother to get it done." (Actually, Marin's mother had died before he bought the Picassos.)

Marin won't say exactly how much he paid for them. ("Seven figures, okay?" is as close he gets.) But he says, "I made a major mistake when I bought them. I thought I would buy and sell and make some money. But what makes a piece of art valuable is what grabs you emotionally, and I've never wanted to part with them."

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