* Former Wall Street trader accused of fraud wants TV show
* Ross Mandell says show about "clearing my name"
* No TV deal yet, but says he has "serious interest"
By Karina Ioffee
NEW YORK, July 26 A former Wall Street trader
accused with associates of swindling more than $140 million
from investors is angling for his own reality television show,
eager to prove his innocence in the court of public opinion.
Ross Mandell, former head of Sky Capital Holdings, was
indicted in July 2009 on charges he and five others defrauded
investors in a scheme U.S. prosecutors claim pressured people
to buy stock from what they called a "trans-Atlantic boiler
room" with operations in London and New York.
Released on $5 million bail, the 53-year-old Mandell faces
up to 25 years in prison, if found guilty.
Mandell has yet to secure a television deal for his show,
but insists he has "serious interest" from TV networks. Eager
to prove he's got a hot story and a cast of intriguing
characters, including his wife and his mixed martial arts
buddies, Mandell has already begun filming.
"This is not about money for me," Mandell said in
explaining his rationale for the show, tentatively titled
"This is about facing the public, clearing my name and the
legacy of my wife and children," he said.
He also wants to humanize himself.
"People think that I'm a beast, that I'm an animal," he
told Reuters. "I'm not...I'm a loving human being, I'm a sober
man, I'm God-fearing and a member of Alcoholics Anonymous."
If he gets a TV show, Mandell would be among a growing
number of people who have sought redemption on prime-time TV
after getting in trouble with the law.
Following his impeachment, former Illinois Governor Rod
Blagojevich appeared on NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice." NFL
football star Michael Vick, convicted of animal cruelty, was on
the BET network with a show, "The Michael Vick Project," in an
attempt to reveal his softer side that included scenes of him
volunteering at an animal shelter.
Mandell, who lives in Boca Raton, Fla., claims he was set
up by the U.S. government because of his work helping bring
U.S. companies to the London Stock Exchange.
"I took the business from them, that's why I'm being
targeted now," Mandell said.
And, like the boxer he is in his spare time, Mandell
refuses to go down without a fight. "I'd rather die on my feet
than live on my knees," he said.