Craig Rabinowitz’s Gratuitous Crime

Fraud and Murder for Tip Money
(“Summer Obsession,” Forensic Files)

The Forensic Files episode about Craig Rabinowitz —  a  popular Philadelphia husband, father, and entrepreneur who turned out to be a murderer running a fraudulent investing scheme — has racked up 708,819 views on YouTube.

Craig Rabinowitz after his arrest in 1997
Craig Rabinowitz after his arrest in 1997

Meanwhile, the other five cases I’ve covered on “True Crime Truant” to date have attracted barely 1 million views combined.

The closest runner-up, “Grave Danger,” got only 378,577 views, despite that the story of Molly and Clay Daniels’ grave-robbing insurance fraud plot was a global sensation, attracting not only Forensic Files but also Dateline NBC and news outlets as distant as Japan.

Dancers in the dark. Of course, the Daniels fiasco distinguished itself mostly for the ineptitude of its underemployed perpetrators whereas the Rabinowitz case involved a tragic, deadly crime committed amid affluence and social prominence.

Still, I think a great deal of the popularity of “Summer Obsession” comes from one particular factor: It had a stripper.

In this case, one Shannon Reinert (spelled “Reinhart” in some media outlets), who danced under the name Summer.

Gentleman's club at the center of a murder case.
The gentlemen’s club Rabinowitz frequented

Rabinowitz spent upward of $100,000 on her at Delilah’s Den, the club where Summer danced.

Tempting subject. He led a double life, ultimately swindling his friends and killing his wife, Stefanie Newman Rabinowitz, in an effort to keep himself in lap-dance funds.

Apparently, even a true-crime series as tastefully done as Forensic Files can’t pass up any opportunity to show scenes from a strip club.

The show also featured an on-camera interview with one of Reinert’s former colleagues, Miss Bunny.

That kind of thing is, it seems, what the people want.

Miss Bunny went on to appear in HBO's "G String Divas"
Miss Bunny, seen here on “Forensic Files,” went on to appear in the HBO documentary series “G String Divas”

Actually, I can attest to that, although I’ve never been inside a gentlemen’s club.

Brush with the biz. Years ago, at a back-office job at a commodities trading firm, I shared a quiet office with two other women. One of them, Shari, augmented her $18,000-a-year salary by working as a topless dancer on weekends.

Come Monday, she’d indulge our curiosity about her avocation.

We were fascinated by the details like the fact that most of the dancers wore wigs on stage to lower the odds a patron would recognize them outside the club.

Or that Shari kept a small satin purse off to the side of the stage to stow the cash in discreetly during her sets. She made hundreds of dollars a night, which she hid under floorboards in her apartment.

Similarly to the way Summer interacted with Craig Rabinowitz, Shari had a couple of faithful customers who gravitated to her and gave her bigger tips than the other men in the audience.

Of course, my co-worker and I were only interested in learning about the life of a stripper.

Shannon "Summer" Reinhart in a screen shot from "Forensic Files."
Shannon Reinert, seen here in 1997, was a dancer and single mother when Rabinowitz met her

Craig Rabinowitz wanted to actually become part of a stripper’s life.

Think accounting’s dull? Next week’s post will give more detail about the crimes committed by Rabinowitz.

And the blog post coming up after that one will feature an interview with forensic accountant Ricardo Zayas, who used his CPA skills and a bag of receipts to help police build their case against Rabinowitz.

Until then, cheers.RR 

Update: Read Part 2 of the Craig Rabinowitz story.

1 thought on “Craig Rabinowitz’s Gratuitous Crime”

  1. Sounds like a modern day version of Zola’s “Nana,” where a normally reasonable businessman gradually ruins himself chasing after a woman he’s obsessed with. What’s wrong with people?!

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