Mustang May Have Taken Investors For A Ride

Regulators have seized its books-and the founder is in hiding

In December, 1994, a crowd of 150 gathered at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., to celebrate the holidays and another successful year for their employer, Mustang Development Corp., and its brokerage affiliate, Columbus Financial Inc. With five open bars and a 25-piece band, the mood was joyful. That year, Columbus brokers had sold $30 million worth of Mustang's limited partnerships in oil and gas leases. The company was apparently so flush that its founder, Neal B. Stein, gave away a new BMW in the evening's raffle.

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