white noise

by Brian Clarey

News and views from inside the media bubble


We first profiled Greensboro runner Charlie Engle in January 2008, when the film of his historic run across the Sahara Desert, Running the Sahara, was set to premiere. We thought it was a good story: A former drug addict turned fitness enthusiast runs across the Sahara to raise money and awareness for the lack of potable drinking water in some parts of the world. But when IRS Special Agent Robert W. Norlander heard the story, he had another reaction. “I was wondering how, how does a guy train for this because most people have top work from 9 to 5….” So Norlander began an investigation that included digging through Engle’s trash and employing a “honey trap” in the form of an attractive female IRS agent to get him to incriminate himself — which he eventually did. Engle is now serving time in a West Virginia prison for securing two “liar’s loans” in 2005, neatly chronicled in a New York Times piece by Joe Nocera, who reminded readers that Engle is one of the few in the country to have gone to jail for his role in the financial meltdown. Check the story out for yourself — if you’re not afraid of the new Times paywall, that is.