By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Havard was the latter. As a freshman, he seemed like the quintessential pudgy nerd, not especially popular but a straight-A student despite whatever learning difficulty landed him at Winston. "He was this easygoing guy," says one neighbor. "He seemed calm, unhurried, unambitious."
Four years later, Havard had reinvented himself. Captain of the football team, salutatorian and student council president, Havard had shed 30 or 40 pounds and had become the center of social activity. His extracurricular pursuits couldn't have been more shockingly different. Havard quickly blossomed into a street entrepreneur with a genius for sucking others into illegal moneymaking schemes.
"He ran the school," says one former student--we'll call him Weldon. "He was a one-man operation." Though suspected by teachers of pulling all sorts of mischief, Havard was never caught in the act. "In the end, it was like Doug's mafia," Weldon says. "If you were cool, you were in Doug's mafia." Some in Havard's mafia at Winston School are now terrified of him.
Born on September 18, 1982, Douglas Cade Havard grew into the physical and entrepreneurial image of his father, L. Cade Havard. Gregarious and a natural salesman, Cade, 51, stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 280 pounds. He's described by one insurance executive as a "genius" who buys companies, builds them up and resells them to make millions. In 1995, he founded Ecom PPO.com Inc., a highly successful firm based in Dallas that handles computerized processing of medical insurance claims.
For four years, the Havards lived in a nice but unpretentious home on Glendora Avenue in the heart of North Dallas. Neighbors never saw the father. He worked all the time. "Cade is a very ruthless businessman," says the insurance executive. "Money is everything to him. He keeps score with money. I think with his children he sent the message that money is king."
After Ecom PPO.com's success, the Havards bought a bigger, showier house on Stefani Drive, valued at $1.6 million. Cade and his son purchased a $175,000 yacht named "Encore." "That was a big thing to him," says the insurance exec. "Cade lives very ostentatiously."
Doug's own entrepreneurial skills had emerged by his freshman year at Winston. Havard found a supplier of trinkets such as fake Rolex watches, negotiated to buy them in bulk for a few dollars each, then brought them to school and sold them for $20. He had a knack for picking up on the hot craze. He'd buy laser pointers for $2 and sell them for $15. By the time the market was saturated, he was on to something else.
His father encouraged his son's business activities, hiring him to work at one of his companies. Sources who know both father and son say that the elder Havard was paying Doug $60,000 to $80,000 a year to do computer work. For a high school student, he was fabulously wealthy. It's hard to know when Havard decided that making money legitimately was too slow. It's also hard to know when he slept. His moneymaking schemes were complex and ever-evolving.
An early and ongoing scam was the sale of jewelry and other items stolen from the homes of his wealthy friends in North Dallas. "He was stealing expensive watches, nothing under $25,000, through maid services," Weldon says. Havard was careful to pawn the watch before the family could discover the theft and file a police report. And he refrained from getting too greedy, telling his collaborator to take only a few expensive items to decrease the likelihood that the owner would notice.
"He would take a $30,000 watch into a jewelry store and get $5,000 for it," Weldon says. Havard rarely made the sale himself. "He had four or five people at Winston School who would do this for him. He'd come to school, say, 'Who's got a fake drivers license? Who wants to make 15 percent of $5,000?' He did this with at least 20 watches. It could have been 10, it could have been 50." For some of the poorer students, surrounded by the wealthy, a $750 payoff for a half-hour's work was irresistible.
Havard seized on the advantages of subcontracting. He saw an opportunity, researched it thoroughly, tried it himself a few times and then drew in others to do the dirty work. "He's real good at staying on the outside of it," Weldon says.
Take the bar code scam, which allegedly began during Havard's sophomore year at Winston. Havard bought a special printer and high-gloss paper precut in the shape of price stickers, with adhesive on one side. The equipment and materials were specialized, but not exotic; he could buy all he needed at an office supply store.
Havard went to Target and purchased, say, a box of Legos for $17. He duplicated the bar code on the Legos and then went back to the store. As he browsed through the toy department, he'd slap a bar code sticker reading $17 onto a box of MindStorm Legos that sell for $200 a box.
At the checkout, Havard paid $17 for the Legos. He later returned the Legos to the store, getting a cash refund or store credit for $200. Profit: $183. He'd then go back and buy two more expensive boxes for $17 each. Profit: $366. Investment: $17, plus the printer and sticky paper.