A woman who lived the high life after her live streaming website was sold for $70 million in 2000 was sentenced for her role in a prescription drug and gun selling ring. Jennifer Sultan, 38, pleaded guilty to selling painkillers via Craigslist as well as conspiring to sell a firearm; in exchange, she received four years in prison.
The ring also included a police officer who stole guns from the precinct house to sell (Nicholas Mina pleaded guilty), but Sultan's fall was particularly steep. The NY Times had a profile of Sultan after her arrest, how Live Online, a website she owned with others (including boyfriend Adam Cohen), was "sold for $70 million" and how she and Cohen then "rented a summer house in the Hamptons for $400,000. They bought a 6,000-square-foot loft on East 17th Street just off Fifth Avenue." But there was a flipside:
THOUGH it was valued at $70 million, the Live Online deal involved only $5.25 million in cash. The rest of the price was paid in Digital Island stock, nearly 800,000 shares, valued at about $81 a share...
The Live Online crew never saw that much money. Technology stocks peaked in March 2000. By the time their shares were offered for sale, the value had been cut by more than half. A year after that, Digital Island was bought by Cable and Wireless, a British telecom company, for $3.40 a share, so stock that had once been worth $65.9 million was worth just $2.7 million.
And Ms. Sultan’s share of the deal was relatively small. She received 5 percent of those Digital Island shares, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Mr. Cohen received 37 percent.
No matter: She and Cohen started another company, Global Media Services, which ended badly and the couple "stopped paying property taxes on their loft, according to court records, and had taken out a total of $4 million in mortgages on the loft that required $27,000 in monthly payments." When the pair pleaded bankruptcy, Cohen told the judge in 2011, "We are living like animals, without any ability to provide for ourselves," to which the judge responded, "You’re living it like animals in a 10 million-dollar apartment. I’m really not going to listen to this. I’m really not." The apartment is still for sale, for under $6 million.
Somewhere along the way, Sultan, who started studying holistic medicine, apparently became addicted to painkillers. By last year, she was selling drugs to undercover agents: According to the Times, "Five times from February through June, she sold pills to an undercover officer, according to her indictment. One sale took place at the Starbucks on Union Square. In another, she sold 183 oxycodone tablets to the officer for $4,400 at a Starbucks in the Flatiron district near the school where she was studying acupuncture."
Her lawyer said that Sultan has "come 180 degrees from when I met her... She was unfocused, distracted, drug addicted. And she is now alert, oriented, and ready to get back to what she does best -- holistic healing." Sultan could be out in two years, taking into account time served and good behavior.