Former FBI agent and senator recall ABSCAM scandal, say 'American Hustle' isn't accurate

The Oscar-nominated film "American Hustle" portrays the unfolding events that led to the ABSCAM scandal and the arrest of several government officials in the late 1970s.
Posted By Aileen Graef   |   Feb. 3, 2014 at 4:16 PM   |   Comments

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J., Feb. 3 (UPI) -- A former FBI agent and a former senator remember the ABSCAM public corruption scandal that led to the arrest of several government officials in the late 1970s, and say American Hustle, the film based on the scandal, isn't quite accurate.

In an interview with the Press of Atlantic City, former FBI agent Larry Schneider and former U.S. Senator Steven Perskie from New Jersey both recall their memories of the scandal and say that while the film is good entertainment, it is not a factual account of the sting operation.

Schneider had seen the movie recently and said it was, "Not very accurate. The most accurate part was when at the end they said six Congressman and a Senator had been convicted. But the premise was there."

He said that Melvin Weinberg (Christian Bale) was a cooperating witness and they indeed targeted politicians. Regarding the details of the operation and the involvement of Weinberg's girlfriend (Amy Adams) and his wife (Jennifer Lawrence) were not accurate. He considered the movie a disappointment but entertaining.

Perskie said that most people now haven't heard about the ABSCAM scandal or don't remember it and, "it is important, even if it comes by way of an entertaining half-truth movie about it, it is important that people keep remembering the need for constant attention to the idea that public officials and particularly public officials who are responsible for an industry like gaming with a lot of cash on the table, should always be very careful."

American Hustle was nominated for an Oscar for best film of 2013.

[Press of Atlantic City]

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