The rich are not like us

Another story about Jacob Wohl — I’m still waiting for his 15 minutes to end. But he’s such an egregious liar and grifter that he’s a magnet for attention.

The son of lawyer and Fox News contributor David Wohl, Jacob showed an early eye for manipulation — though not for execution. As a teenager, he founded a series of hedge funds, claiming to manage 178 clients and $10 million in assets. But after an investor reported that he hadn’t been paid out in full by Wohl (who called himself the “Wohl of Wall Street”), the National Futures Association (NFA), the derivatives industry’s self-regulatory organization, quickly realized Wohl had been lying to investors about his experience and prowess as a means of securing their funds. In reality, he had 13 clients and $500,000 in assets. He also appeared to be funneling some profits into his mother’s account. Wohl was banned for life by the NFA, ending his nascent career as a hedgie.

Barred from the investment world, Wohl turned his sights on following in the footsteps of his father, a vocal Trump supporter. In 2017, Jacob began tweeting earnestly about the president, praising his stream-of-consciousness tweet storms as “the modern day version of FDR’s Fireside Chats.” It wasn’t long before Wohl built a sizable following, eventually amassing 185,000 followers. Around the same time, he also set up Surefire Intelligence, an unlicensed private investigation firm. He created a personal alias for that company: “Matthew Cohen.”

This story, however, is not primarily about Wohl. It’s about a woman named Carolyn Cass, who was willingly set up by Wohl to claim she’d been raped by Robert Mueller. She had apparently been assaulted by another man, but Mueller had an airtight alibi — he’d been in a different city at the time — and like all of Wohl’s schemes, it rapidly disintegrated into a shambles that would have humiliated a man with any shame. He does not have any.

The horrible part of the story is the oblivious Cass, a trust-fund baby who later receives a large inheritance and seems to fritter it away on a life of careless privilege. Whenever the money starts to run out, she decides to charge off to another “career” in pop music or art, seemingly unaware that those professions do require talent, skill, and discipline, all of which she lacks. It’s just a horror story of incompetence all around.

Then she wakes up and realizes that Wohl is a bad actor, and engages legal assistance. Smart, right? Except the lawyer she hires is…Michael Avenatti.

So in March, she called Michael Avenatti — yes, that Michael Avenatti. The onetime lawyer for Stormy Daniels was publicly on the hunt for Wohl. Less than two hours after they spoke, Avenatti claimed in a tweet that Wohl was under investigation for possessing illegal firearms, information Cass says he only could have gleaned from their call. (These assertions haven’t been confirmed; the LAPD doesn’t comment on information that could jeopardize a potential active investigation.) Five days later, Avenatti was arrested for embezzling from clients and attempting to extort Nike for more than $20 million, and is now under investigation for embezzling $300,000 from Daniels, too.

It’s one disaster after another, and all of it of her own doing. Yet she’s a pretty white woman from a wealthy Texas oil family, so you know she’ll just bounce back from it all and move on to another stupid pratfall.

I don’t think I like any of the people in this story.


  1. brucej says

    “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”

    As true today as when Fitzgerald wrote those words in 1925…

    On the other hand, frittering away her wealth “on a life of careless privilege” is certainly far better than weaponizing it for malevolent purposes like so many other wealthy folks.

  2. PaulBC says

    “Yes, they have more money.” (Hemingway I think)

    Glib response, but I’m surprised nobody said it yet. I don’t really mind people having a lot more money than I have, but it is true that a lot of them think they’re better than the rest of us. This gets reinforced by the fact that they get away with things, providing additional proof that they really must be better people.

    A true sign of being rich is that you don’t even have to spend your money, because people will give you stuff just to bask in your glow. And no worries that you’ll become a freeloader. I mean, how could that happen when you’re so rich? But give that bum a french fry and you know he’ll be back tomorrow for more.

    At least nutrition has evened out enough that there is less of a physical dimorphism. The rich are not literally taller and stronger. They do tend to live longer because medical care is a lot more expensive than food.

  3. blf says

    But how do they taste?

    Very oily, lots of grease. Difficult to prepare due to all the slime. Frequently toxic. Quite possible the lions would spit them out. The toxic oil, grease, and slime means they are hard to dispose of (each tends to be an EPA SuperFund site), albeit active volcanoes are said to a safe method of disposal — and may also be a way of rendering safe to eat, chargrilled obviously… Probably with a very robust rogue, such as a Zinfandel or Gigondas; should also go well with Grog or perhaps Mead. Cheeses to follow…

  4. brucegee1962 says

    I’m not sure how it could be implemented, due to rich folks’ tastes for lawyers and hiding money in various places, but damn if Warren’s wealth tax isn’t sounding better and better. The fact is, in the US, a six-figure income and a million dollars in assets ought to cover any person’s reasonable needs and wants. Maybe multiply that by 10 to be generous. Really, though, more than 10 mill is more than anyone should necessarily be allowed to have.

    It’s interesting to think about what an aggressive wealth tax would do to society. Charitable giving would go way up, since giving money to charity gets you seats on boards and fancy dinners and prestige, whereas when you pay taxes you don’t even get a handshake from Uncle Sam.

  5. Akira MacKenzie says

    It’s posts like this that inspire me to down a large amount of cheap whiskey, put on my earphones, and play “The Internationale” at max volume while I imagine Wohl, Cass, and others I could name (but I’d rather skip a visit from the U.S. Secret Service) are marched to the firing squad.

    Especially, when my father is in his room, blaring WWII era German martial music from his computer. No shitting. He actually listens to that shit.

  6. Rob Grigjanis says

    blf @6: That reminded me of a classic from Fafblog! Not about the rich, exactly, but still…

    Remember to bring lots of umbrellas an sunscreen because your Republican is not used to the harsh light of open nature. He has been raised in dark squalid caves filled with toxic poisons where he hunts bats an small elves for sustenance. Do not take your Republican to a museum! He comes from a “Red State” where all art is banned an has been replaced by very large engines eternally pumpin greenhouse gases into the atmosphere for no reason whatsoever. Exposure to the culture shock of an art installation or even a sidewalk painter could cause him to choke on the industrial waste that flows through his body in place of blood.