By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: February 9, 2015
For the second time in seven months, an employee of JPMorgan Chase is alleged to have brutally murdered his wife and then taken his own life.
According to Bergen County, New Jersey Prosecutor John Molinelli and police reports, 27-year old Michael A. Tabacchi and his wife, Iran Pars Tabacchi (who also went by the name Denise) were discovered dead on Friday evening, February 7, in their home in Closter, New Jersey. Their infant son was in the home and unharmed. He is under the care of the paternal grandparents. A text message from the home had been sent to the father of Michael Tabacchi asking him to come to the home, according to media reports. The father found the couple.
County Prosecutor Molinelli seems to have made short work of his investigation, tweeting yesterday: “Autopsy on Closter couple shows wife died from strangulation and single stab wound to chest. Husband died from self inflicted stab chest.” On the very evening the bodies were discovered, before any autopsy had been performed, Molinelli characterized the deaths in a tweet as a “probable murder suicide.”
Michael Tabacchi’s LinkedIn profile lists him previously as an Operations Analyst at JPMorgan and currently as an Associate. That a seemingly endless stream of bizarre deaths among JPMorgan workers has been occurring since December 2013, concentrated among young workers involved in information technology at JPMorgan, does not seem to raise the curiosity of either the police, the FBI or corporate media; nor does the fact that JPMorgan is currently operating under a deferred prosecution agreement for two felony counts, which effectively means it has been put on probation for serious crimes by the U.S. Department of Justice. One might also think prosecutors might be interested in the serial nature of the alleged crimes by JPMorgan, which two veteran attorneys are comparing to the Gambino crime family in an extensively documented on-line book.
This hastily investigated, alleged murder-suicide comes just seven months after the alleged murder-suicide of another couple living in New Jersey. The husband was a high-ranking technology executive for JPMorgan Chase. The bodies of Julian Knott and his wife, Alita, ages 45 and 47, respectively, were discovered by police on July 6, 2014 at approximately 1:12 a.m. in their home in the Lake Hopatcong section of Jefferson Township. After a two-day investigation, police announced that they believed Julian Knott shot his wife repeatedly and then took his own life with the same gun. The Knotts had three teenage children, two living at home and one in college.
Knott had worked on JPMorgan computer networks in London since 2001, initially as a subcontractor for Computer Science Corporation and, later, IBM. Knott formally joined JPMorgan Chase at its London operations in January 2006 and remained there until 2010 when he transferred to JPMorgan’s large complex in Columbus, Ohio and rose to the rank of Technical Director of Global Tier 3 Network Operations. Knott was transferred again in 2012 and began work in JPMorgan’s high tech Global Network Operations Center in Whippany, New Jersey. Six months before his death he was promoted to Executive Director.
Knott’s career at JPMorgan in London overlapped with the years spent in London by Gabriel Magee, a JPMorgan Vice President who worked in computer infrastructure. Magee, aged 39, is alleged to have leaped from the rooftop of the 33-story JPMorgan London headquarters at 25 Bank Street on the evening of January 27, 2014 or the morning of January 28, 2014.
London newspapers initially reported that the jump was observed by “thousands of commuters” and JPMorgan colleagues. To date, despite a formal inquest into the matter, not one eyewitness to the jump has been produced. Based substantially on evidence produced internally by JPMorgan, the coroner ruled that Magee’s death was a suicide.
Three weeks after Magee’s alleged leap from the rooftop of JPMorgan’s corporate offices in London, a JPMorgan employee in Hong Kong, 33-year old Dennis Li (Junjie) is alleged to have leaped to this death on February 18, 2014 from the 30-story Chater House office building where JPMorgan occupied the top floors. Despite multiple requests from Wall Street On Parade to JPMorgan’s communication team, it is still unclear exactly what role this young man performed for JPMorgan. The South China Morning Post called him an “investment banker” in three separate articles; the Standard newspaper in Hong Kong said he was an accounting major who worked in the finance department at JPMorgan. The China Times called Li a “Forex trader.”
In the same month that Li’s death was reported came reports that JPMorgan Executive Director, Ryan Crane, age 37, had died suddenly at his home in Stamford, Connecticut on February 3, 2014. It was approximately three months before the Medical Examiner released the cause of death, assigning it to ethanol toxicity/accident. Crane was not directly involved in computer technology but his work in computerized trading may have resulted in his interaction with technology employees at JPMorgan Chase.
The following month, on March 12, 2014, yet another alleged leap occurred, this time in Manhattan by a former JPMorgan analyst, Kenneth Bellando, age 28. Bellando was discovered dead outside his six-story apartment building on the East Side of Manhattan. Bellando was the brother of John Bellando, a JPMorgan employee who had figured in the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations’ report on how JPMorgan had hid losses and lied to regulators in the London Whale derivatives trading scandal that resulted in depositor losses of at least $6.2 billion in the FDIC-insured bank of JPMorgan Chase.
Just six weeks before Magee’s death in London, another sudden death of a technology worker at JPMorgan Chase occurred in Pearland, Texas. Jason Alan Salais, age 34, was standing outside a Walgreens on the evening of December 15, 2013 and died of a sudden heart attack according to a family member. Salais had joined JPMorgan in 2008 with a strong background in computer technology, having previously worked as a Client Software Technician at SunGard and a UNIX Systems Analyst at Logix Communications.
On May 7, 2014, Thomas James Schenkman, age 42, died suddenly in Connecticut. Schenkman was Managing Director of Global Infrastructure Engineering for JPMorgan Chase. Schenkman began his technology career with Microsoft, where he worked for 11 years. He took a job with Goldman Sachs in 2000 and worked there for six years. In 2006, Schenkman moved to Bear Stearns and was there at the time of its collapse in March 2008. Schenkman had been with JPMorgan from 2008 to the time of his death.
According to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Connecticut, which only gets involved in an investigation if the death is “sudden, unexpected, or violent,” the initial cause of Schenkman’s death was listed as “pending.” It has since been updated to “atherosclerotic coronary artery disease.”
Raising additional alarm about so many deaths among young workers employed by JPMorgan is the fact that JPMorgan takes life insurance policies out on the lives of its workers with the death benefit payable to the corporation. The policies are called Banked Owned Life Insurance or BOLI. As of December 31, 2013, JPMorgan held $17.9 billion in BOLI assets. According to insurance experts, that $17.9 billion in BOLI assets could represent as much as $179 billion or more in life insurance in force on employees, both past and present.
Other large Wall Street banks also hold significant sums of insurance on their workers, payable to the corporation. But JPMorgan stands out for the sheer number of untimely and unusual deaths among its workers, particularly those engaged in information technology.