Michael Marin

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Michael Marin
Michael James Marin

December 2, 1958
DiedJune 28, 2012(2012-06-28) (aged 53)
Cause of deathCommitted suicide by suicide pill
Alma materBrigham Young University (B.A.), Yale Law School (J.D.)
Tammy Marin
(m. 1980; his death 2012)

Michael James Marin (December 2, 1958 – June 28, 2012) was an American financier, lawyer, ex-Wall Street trader, and millionaire who committed suicide by cyanide ingestion after being convicted of arson.

Early life[edit]

Marin was raised in Oak Harbor, north of Seattle, Washington. As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he attended Brigham Young University and served a mission in Japan, where he learned Japanese. After college, he attended Yale Law School, and was admitted to the New York State Bar Association in 1987.


Marin went to work in the legal departments of banks, which sent him back to Japan. He made a fortune trading in complex investments in the 1980s and 1990s, working for Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and Salomon Brothers mainly in their operations in Asia. His children were raised in Asia and in Chicago. His wife, Tammy, left him in 1992, after 12 years of marriage.

In the late 1990s, Marin returned to the United States, after being let go by Lehman Brothers in 1997. He led a lavish life buying a multimillion-dollar home in Arizona, also acquiring works of art including Pablo Picasso etchings. He traveled extensively in Asia. A book he wrote under the title Fluctuations about investment banking in Asia tells about his adventures in Papua New Guinea, Cambodia and Malaysia. He was an avid thrill seeker and climbed the highest peaks on six of the continents including Mount Everest, engaging in trips and adventures into exotic places.[1]

Arson charge[edit]

Marin bought a 10,000 sq ft (930 m2) mansion at 71 Biltmore Estates Drive in September 2008,[2] after a friend and business partner lost it to foreclosure, and he paid for it through a complex series of transactions. It came with a monthly mortgage payment of $17,250 and an imminent $2.3 million balloon payment. In spring 2009, Marin devised a lottery to sell the house with profit, with some funds going to a charity he had chosen, a crisis center for children. The state authorities determined that the lottery was illegal and shut it down. The lottery drawing was supposed to be on July 4, 2009. The following day, on July 5, 2009, Marin called 911 to report that his house was on fire. He reportedly climbed from the second floor of the burning estate using a rope ladder and wearing a scuba-diving suit. Fire department investigators determined the fire was deliberate after finding several points of origin for the fire throughout the estate.[3]


Marin was tried on suspicion of arson for setting his home on fire. Court hearings started on May 21, 2012; conviction would have led to decades in prison. Soon after hearing the conviction on June 28, 2012, and learning that he was to be taken into custody immediately after the hearing, he committed suicide in court. He was seen in court videos closing his eyes as the verdict was being read before appearing to put something in his mouth and drinking a liquid in a plastic water bottle. He then fell to the floor a few minutes later in convulsions. He was rushed to a central hospital in Phoenix and was pronounced dead. Authorities confirmed he had taken a lethal dose of cyanide. He had bought a canister of cyanide in May 2011, from a California mail-order chemical supplier. At time of death, he was married and father of four and a grandfather of two.

In popular culture[edit]

Marin's case was featured in an October 2018 episode of the true crime podcast Swindled.[4]


  1. ^ "The extreme life and dramatic death of Michael Marin". USA Today. Retrieved 16 July 2017.
  2. ^ "Arson in America: The odd tale of Michael Marin". Retrieved 16 July 2017.
  3. ^ "The extreme life and dramatic death of Michael Marin". USA Today. Retrieved 16 July 2017.
  4. ^ "Episode 03: The Tycoon". Swindled | A true crime podcast about white-collar criminals, con artists, and corporate evil. 2018-10-06. Retrieved 2019-04-28.

External links[edit]