Last week it was brought to my attention that the owner of a very well known magic shop (Hank Lee's in Boston) is facing 15 years of jail time for falsely charging a client over $500,000 in fake credit card charges. Hank Lee's Magic Shop on South Street in Boston was where my son spent almost every weekend growing up from age 5 through high school. I was and still am dismayed to learn of this conviction.
As a member of the Society of Young Magicians, my son Greg had meetings in this shop monthly with a group of kids ranging from about grade 2 through high school. Between meeting times and quite often we would head to Boston to purchase new magic tricks as Greg was immersed in the world of magic since attending his first show at age 5.
He was in awe everytime he spoke or observed the shop owner and his staff doing a slight of hand or other type illusion. Aspiring to pursue this hobby, Greg never came home without at least one new trick or book to study the practice. In fact, the quest to learn magic prompted him to become an avid reader at a very young age.
In addition, Hank Lee's hosted a weekend conclave every year at the Seacrest in Falmouth. At this event, professional world renowned magicians would teach workshops and run seminars for the participants and on the Saturday evening of the event host a sold out magic show at Falmouth High School.
Hank had a huge following both domestically and internationally. We have traveled to many magic shops around the country and have seen many a magic show. All the magicians know Hank Lee. The store attracted the likes of well known magicians such as David Copperfield when he toured in Boston. It was a destination shop near China Town and South Station and thus easy to get to even if one didn't drive.
The store closed about 5 years ago and has since become primarily a mail order business. It was during this time that the owner I am guessing became a bit greedy in his practice. Not sure of the motivation but it was very disappointing to learn that someone we had grown to we thought respect in his practice was not an honest man.
I guess the lesson to be learned is that greed and dishonesty may give someone a short-term benefit but this "illusion of success" will catch up with you if in fact it is not truly earned the honest way. I am sure Hank or under his real name Harold Levy is not too happy now knowing that he has literally lost his trust in a world of professional illusionists and aspiring magicians.