In the summer of 1999 Mark Yagalla, a 21-year-old Wall Street fund manager, met Sandra Bentley, a blonde model who was dating Hugh Hefner at the time. They went to a Cher concert in Las Vegas—what could be more romantic?—and the next day Yagalla bought her a Mercedes 500 SL valued at $95,223.
Apparently Sandra turned out to be a motoring enthusiast, because over the next 14 months Yagalla would give her seven MORE cars, including a Range Rover, a Mercedes 600 SL, a $293,500 Bentley Azure (to match her surname, no doubt), a Cadillac, a red Ferrari, a black Ferrari, and, for her mom, a BMW 323. But how could this woman truly be the love of Yagalla`s life unless jewelry were involved? So how about a platinum-and-diamond necklace, three Rolex watches, a 14-carat white gold bracelet with 13 claw-set round brilliant diamonds, a diamond necklace set in platinum and yellow gold, an 18-carat yellow gold bracelet with 30 diamonds on it, an 18-carat white gold bracelet, an 18-carat white gold necklace set with one 16-carat emerald-cut tanzanite inset with baguette-cut diamonds, a canary yellow diamond ring, a platinum necklace with rubies and diamonds with matching earrings and bracelet, and a $500,000 Chopard watch, for those days when a Rolex just won`t do. Did we mention furs? Several of them, all bought at that bargain joint, Bloomingdale`s. How about vacations? Chalk up the Bahamas, Hawaii, Switzerland and Mexico. Oh hell, why not just an American Express card of her own? She put $1 million in charges on it, in addition to the $470,000 he wrote out of his personal checkbook. Then there were all the little housekeeping details, like the $3 million in renovations on her Las Vegas mansion, the $55,000 for her twin Mandy`s house payment in L.A., and $327,888 to pay off her older sister Cecilia`s Oregon house. The two of them were soooooooooo in love—until last summer, when those pesky federal investigators showed up at Yagalla`s Ashbury Capital Fund and suggested that maybe, just maybe, some investors money was being diverted for personal use. No way, you say? Manhattan Federal Court Judge Richard Casey has decided that, since investors are suing the fund for $40 million, he`ll order Sandy not to sell any of those gifts just yet. She can`t be bothered, of course, because they broke up many months ago. And suddenly on Wall Street you`re hearing the impolite word "swindler." That`s a little harsh, we think. Does Dr. Dobson have Multi-millionaire Relationship Counseling at Attica? We certainly hope so.