Life Real Loud
John Lefebvre, Neteller and the Revolution in Online Gambling
At age 50, when some people start planning for retirement, John Lefebvre hit the digital motherlode. Neteller, a tiny Canadian internet start-up that processed payments between players and online gambling arenas, rocketed into the stock market. In its early years, Neteller had been a cowboy operation, narrowly averting disaster in creative ways. Co-founder Lefebvre, a gregarious hippie lawyer from Calgary, Alberta, had toked his way through his practice for decades, aspiring all the while to be a professional musician.With the profit from Neteller and his stock holdings, he became a multi-millionaire. He started buying Malibu beach houses, limited edition cars, complete wardrobes, and a jet to fly to rock shows with pals. When that got boring he shipped his fine suits to charity, donned his beloved t-shirt and jeans, and started giving away millions to the Dalai Lama, David Suzuki and other eco-conscious people, as well as anyone else who might need a pick-me-up.And then the FBI came knocking on his Malibu door . . .
Bill Reynolds is graduate program director at the School of Journalism at Ryerson University. He lives in Toronto, Ontario.