Master conmann, entrepreneur, billionaire, hedonist.
"Big Manni" builds a mind-boggling snowballsystem, scamming banks and investors to lose more than 3.5 billion €uros!
Seven years, from 2000-2007. Until 2021 several appearances in court for crimes like hiding stolen money, expensive art, cars etc. He manages to avoid further jailtime and even gets €2.1 million from court for compensation of prolonged trials.
Fraud bigtime! Still until today the largest scam in german history, merely second to the Wirecard-scandal!
Lives with his ex-wife (divorced so she could keep "some" of the money") in Mallorca in a Luxury villa in Son Vida.
Works as a consultant for a small company.
TOO BIG TO FAIL
Simply put: 90% of the company "Flowtex" only existed on paper.
On his 50th birthday, just months before "Big Manni" is arrested, he is surrounded by party guests from highest rankings politicians, royals, CEO's and celebrities.
Some are there because they took some of the 86 million €uros he used to bribe certain people to "look the other way".
Others simply enjoy being in the presence of one of the most successfull german businessmen, who owns huge villas in the most expensive places in the world, an own airport, has a private zoo, two privat jets, the 55 meter long private yacht "Maalana" he bought from the Prince of Brunei and a helicopter that takes him to work every morning- for a 10 minute flight...
His crazy lifestyle was financed by an ingenious scam that had never been pulled off in that magnitude.
At some point he got whatever loan he wanted from any bank, they thought he was "too big to fail".
Think again :)
The rise of the former used car dealer Manfred Schmider to a successful entrepreneur began in 1986. The former Flowtex boss hires two gangsters through a business friend to fake a robbery on his home. Jewelry and valuables worth two million marks are "stolen" during the robbery. Schmider is reimbursed by his insurance company. The two million €uros are his starting capital.
In the 1990s, "Big Manni" Schmider is regarded as a model entrepreneur in Baden. His company, Flowtex, makes horizontal drilling machines. But the drills are not in such high demand on the world market. Nevertheless, Schmider can get millions of loans to supposedly build 3142 machines.
The trick: Flowtex sells them to investors and then leases them back. In fact, Flowtex only builds 270 devices to which they simply screw new serial numbers. But in order to be able to pay the leasing installments, more and more fictitious machines have to be sold - a pyramid scheme.
Over 40 people involved are sentenced to do jail time. Just like Schmider, several of his accomplices "gave away" hundreds of millions €uros as "presents" to their wives and friends, stopping justice to lay their hands on the stolen money. Several politicians and civil servants had to step down after public reports about the "party donations" they received.
The amount of people involved shows, how greed brings people together to collective blindness, as it is impossible to keep up a scam like this over a full life span. And the banks and investors, smelling big money, preferred to "believe" rather than to actually seek proof of the business.
Today "Big Manni" is living in a villa on Mallorca, which belongs to his ex-wife. Just a few years ago he gave his first interview regarding the whole business, explaining how he "slipped into the whole situation".