The New Yorker profiles the billionaire Bill Bartmann, owner of Commercial Financial Services (C.F.S.), which "by 1998 .. was reporting a net annual take of about a billion dollars and a scale of profits higher than Microsoft's." The story details how Bartmann reached "the highest altitudes of wealth by buying other people's bad debts from creditors at radical discounts and making those debts yield." The report follows the ups and downs in Bartmann's life from his childhood to his biggest successes in his forties, and looks at "Bartmann's potential liability in C.F.S.-related lawsuits."
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