Real Estate Tycoon Was About To Plead Guilty To Fraud Charges Before He Was Stabbed To Death

After Andrew Kissel was murdered in his Greenwich estate, police had dozens of potential suspects because of the breadth of his pending real estate and finance fraud charges.

By Erik Hawkins
Andrew Kissel G

Wealthy real estate developer Andrew Kissel’s life was kissed by both fortune and death. He lived lavishly, with a wife that friends called the “complete package,” and owned a collection of classic cars. His investment banker brother, Robert, however, was murdered by his wife in 2003, in an event that proved more prologue than past.

Andrew was found bound and stabbed to death in his Greenwich, Connecticut, estate in 2006.

The latest episode of “Injustice With Nancy Grace,” which airs Saturdays on Oxygen, explores the murder of Andrew, and some of the questions that remain surrounding his grisly death. However, as Nancy Grace indicates on the show, Andrew Kissel was in trouble before he was murdered.

In fact,  just days after his murder, Andrew was scheduled to take a guilty plea on federal charges that he defrauded investors in a series of deals, the New York Times reported.  

In exchange for signing a plea agreement, Andrew was looking at eight to 10 years in prison, and his money had already dried up after his arrest, Nancy Grace said on the show. As much as $40 million of Kissel’s fortune may have come from his “spree” of fraudulent financial dealings, she added.

“Living in a world of nothing but material possessions, he needed more and more money to feed his excess, to feed that picture in his mind of what success was,” Grace said. “In all the cases I’ve investigated, so many times, in the quest for more money, more possessions and more power, the shortcut means crime … and, sadly, that’s the road Andrew Kissel took.”

Andrew developed a taste for the finer things and, perhaps, an insatiable desire for more, when he was young, being raised by his wealthy entrepreneur father, William Kissel, according to friends and associates interviewed for a New York Magazine piece. He had his own Jeep and sports car as a teenager, and his high-school girlfriend told the outlet that while she was dating Andrew in 1977, he bought her a car on a whim.

As an adult, he dove into the world of real estate development shortly after marrying Hayley Wolff, starting a company called Hanrock and buying up apartment buildings, according to the New York Magazine article. He served as treasurer for the co-op he lived in, and eventually his partners began asking questions about the expenses being lavished on the building.

In 2003, Andrew’s partners “caught him” in a board meeting, lawyer Michael Assael told New York Magazine — Andrew had allegedly been creating fake companies to pay for work on the building and sucking up the profit himself. He’d also opened up a line of credit in the co-op’s name and borrowed $2 million using it, according to the outlet.

He agreed to a quiet settlement to the tune of $4.7 million, Assael told the magazine.

Although the co-op agreed not to press charges after the settlement, Andrew was still later charged with grand larceny and more in Manhattan, over the money he had taken from the co-op as treasurer, according to a New York Times article.

“I just want to get this over with,” Kissel told his partners, according to New York Magazine. “I think I need some valium.”

It was weeks after the co-op settlement that Robert Kissel was murdered by his wife, Nancy. After a complex custody battle, Andrew took custody of Nancy and Robert’s three young children and moved them to his estate in Greenwich, with his and Hayley’s two kids, according to New York Magazine.

Andrew accelerated his real estate investing and found more success — after, however, liquidating one of his company’s investments in New Jersey without telling his investors, according to the magazine. His successes, however, couldn’t keep up with his spending, and his marriage was suffering, both from his obsession with earning more money and an alleged cocaine habit, according to New York Magazine.

At one point in summer 2004, Hayley told a friend that she thought Andrew was having an affair, and that his business was “a Ponzi scheme,” the outlet reported.

About a year later, Andrew was arrested and faced several federal fraud charges, including the Manhattan charges related to the co-op, New York Magazine reported. The FBI charged him with $25 million worth of fraud in three states. He sold his collections of watches and classic cars, and he was under home confinement, by the end of March 2006, when he agreed to a plea deal.

On April 1, movers came and began the process of clearing out Andrew and Hayley’s belongings. On April 3, when they returned in the morning to continue the job, Andrew was dead — tied up, with his T-shirt pulled over his head and knife wounds in his back. The basement room was covered in blood, and he initially appeared to have been shot in the head as well, the New York Times reported at the time.

Because of the breadth of Andrew’s shady financial dealings, as well as a drug habit, police initially had a list of dozens of potential suspects for his murder, the Stamford Advocate reported.

For the shocking details of Andrew Kissel’s murder, and to learn about the people or persons accused of the crime, watch “Injustice With Nancy Grace” on Oxygen.com, and catch new episodes Saturday nights at 6 p.m. ET/PT.

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