The man behind one of Iowa’s biggest financial scandals of the 1980s has died.
Gary Lewellyn served almost five years in prison in the 1980s after embezzling $17.7 million from two Iowa banks, including one, the First National Bank of Humboldt, where his father was the president.
At the time, it was the biggest financial crime in Iowa history.
He died Wednesday at age 63 in Oklahoma City. The Mason-Lindhart Funeral Home in Humboldt announced his death
in an obituary published today. Funeral services are pending.
During his financial capers in Iowa and beyond, Lewellyn led a life of frequent reinvention that included brushes with fame and brushes with the law in seemingly equal measure.
As a stockbroker in his early 30s at the height of his embezzling, Lewellyn had a wife and children in West Des Moines and a mistress he called his “pampered princess.” He once ate dinner with President Ronald Reagan at a fundraiser. He drove a yellow Rolls Royce, and in 1982 took it all the way to Las Vegas in a bid to win back the money he’d stolen.
Lewellyn used the pilfered funds in a stock-kiting scheme. In court, he attempted to blame the fraud on compulsive gambling, an argument the judge did not find compelling.
In prison for his financial crimes, he reportedly helped prison authorities solve a murder case involving another inmate.
When he was released in 1987, he became a confidential informant to the FBI in a Chicago money laundering scheme – work that led to convictions of other criminals.