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The Opioid Crisis

Los Angeles banking heir’s millions missing after he died in Mexico last Monday

Paranoid wealthy banking heir Matthew Mellon, pictured with second wife Hanley and son Force, died last Monday in Cancun, Mexico.

Visitors to Matthew Mellon’s James Bond-esque old house high above Los Angeles’ famous Sunset Strip soon encountered the unconventional behavior of the immensely wealthy banking heir. Once they were ushered through the 30-foot-long white marble and stainless steel front door, an aide handed them a special plastic sticker to affix to their phone’s camera lens, leaving Mellon “terrified” of intrusion.

In a £100,000-a-month property that had CCTV cameras on every ceiling and corner – even a private cinema with red leather seats, and a ground-floor spa with massage tables, a steam room, a sauna and an outdoor hot tub.

“Matthew was paranoid about security,” says his personal assistant and “sobriety coach” Jesse Bias, 28. “He always thought someone was out to steal his millions. He didn’t trust anyone.’

Mellon, 54, died last Monday in Cancun, Mexico. He was due to check into rehab in a desperate bid to end his drug habit, which included smoking heroin and crack cocaine, and by his own admission was taking up to 80 powerful prescription opioid painkillers each day.

Paranoid wealthy banking heir Matthew Mellon, pictured with second wife Hanley and son Force, died last Monday in Cancun, Mexico.

Paranoid wealthy banking heir Matthew Mellon, pictured with second wife Hanley and son Force, died last Monday in Cancun, Mexico.

While his family – he was part of the Mellon banking dynasty and his first British wife, Tamara Mellon, founded the Jimmy Choo shoe empire – said he died of a heart attack, a Mail on Sunday investigation revealed that those closest to him during his last turbulent months feared that the handsome father of three something more sinister could have befallen the children.

“People are whispering about whether he was murdered for his cryptocurrency,” one of his close friends said last night.

“Hundreds of millions of dollars are missing, possibly forever.” Matthew always said that “they” were out to get him. Maybe he was right?’

At the time of his death, Mellon was said to have checked into the Clear Sky Recovery Center in Cancun for controversial treatment with ibogaine, which uses the hallucinogenic drug to suppress cravings. The treatment is banned in the UK and US.

In addition to his well-publicized battle with addiction, he was bipolar, a condition he inherited from his father. He also inherited an extraordinary business talent from his family.

According to Forbes, Mellon was worth an estimated $1bn (£714m) due to an extraordinary gamble with the cryptocurrency Ripple – a bitcoin-like money that only exists in the digital world. He turned an initial investment of $2 million into an online fortune.

On January 3rd, he “cashed out” $350 million of his investment – just six days before Ripple’s value dropped by 80 percent. The market has since recovered, meaning his remaining investment is now worth about a quarter of a billion dollars — and counting. But the vexing question remains where the money is.

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Mellon told friends that his wealth was hidden in dozens of secret accounts that only he could identify, and that he hid the access codes in bank vaults across America. The only problem is, now that he’s dead, who’s to say if there’s something missing?

Jesse, his closest associate who was with him ’24/7′ for the last six months of his life, said his boss believed his colossal winnings in the volatile cryptocurrency market made him an obvious target. He said: “He was very kind and generous and people took advantage of that. He became paranoid, worried that people wanted to hurt him and take his money.”

Lady Victoria Hervey, a close friend who was encouraged by Mellon to study the nascent cryptocurrency business, added: “When Matthew started talking about Ripple, everyone thought he was crazy. His family didn’t believe in him – no one did. They all thought it was just another one of Matthew’s damn schemes.

“He bet $2 million from his trust fund and it paid off. But Matthew was so paranoid that he hid his cryptocurrency under fake names. He was afraid of hackers.

“He told me that the codes are in ‘cold storage’ on nano-memory cards in banks across America.

“The question is, will anyone ever find it?”

Mellon's family said he died of a heart attack, but those closest to him during his tumultuous final months fear something more sinister may have befallen him (pictured with long-time friend Lady Victoria Hervey)

Mellon’s family said he died of a heart attack, but those closest to him during his tumultuous final months fear something more sinister may have befallen him (pictured with long-time friend Lady Victoria Hervey)

The extraordinary saga of how Mellon lost and then made an incredible fortune is so bizarre that some of his Hollywood friends are already talking about turning his life story into a movie.

Born into incredible wealth and privilege, after the tragic suicide of his father Karl in 1983, when Mellon was just 19 years old, he was tormented by inner demons. He reportedly received $25 million when he was 21, but most of his fortune was locked up in a trust. he kept complaining that he was broke.

First wife Tamara, the mother of his 16-year-old daughter Minty, recounted how he would “disappear” for days on end on cocaine binges, leading to the eventual collapse of their marriage.

A second marriage to New York designer Nicole Hanley in 2010 produced two more children, but ended in divorce in 2015. Mellon has told friends he is “heartbroken” that his drug problems mean he doesn’t see his younger children as much as he would like.

He moved to Los Angeles two years ago in an attempt to mend his relationship with his eldest daughter Minty. “He was desperate to be clean and sober for his children and for himself,” said Lady Victoria, daughter of the 6th Marquess of Bristol. She spoke with Mellon shortly before he left on his ill-fated private jet trip to Cancun. “When you’re as rich and generous as Matthew, there are always people ready to take advantage,” she said. “There were people around him who supported his addiction and led him down dark paths.

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Despite his trust fund, Mellon found himself unable to access sufficient funds to live the life he desired. Jesse, who lived with Mellon, said: “He was poor before the cryptocurrency boom. Last year he had the last $500. I was with Matthew once and he wanted to buy a Ferrari for half a million dollars. He called his trust officer, who said, “You have no money.” ‘

However, Mellon soon became interested in Bitcoin and other virtual currencies and founded MellonDrexel with partner David Marshack, who said, “Matthew was very early on interested in the idea of ​​what Bitcoin could be.

“He didn’t understand the basic zeros and ones of digital technology, but he understood that technology could make things cheaper, faster and more efficient.”

“He risked everything on it and at the end of last year the market exploded and made him an awful lot of money.”

But with money came another temptation. After another stint in rehab last year – Mellon boasted to friends he’d been to 50 clinics – the businessman slipped into a “terrible” addiction to hard drugs in late summer 2017, which only got worse early this year. .

“He couldn’t stay alone for a second,” Jesse said. “I was there when he overdosed and I had to call 911 and rush him to the hospital.” On another occasion he fell down the stairs while carrying a glass bowl and nearly cut his finger.

Mellon was at the Cancun clinic for two weeks in January after friends staged an intervention that included bringing Minta to his home. “It took us eight hours to talk him into getting on the plane,” Jesse said. “But he eventually left.

Despite his troubles, Mellon had an incredibly kind and generous side. His friends describe him as a brilliant storyteller who charmed the ladies and was always impeccably dressed.

Jesse said, “We’re going to 7/11 [a corner store] and he went out and saw a homeless man and gave him $1,000 in cash. When my friend’s mother had cancer, he immediately said, “I have to pay for her treatment.”

Mellon made his fortune investing in the Ripple cryptocurrency and “made” $350m in January – but after telling friends his fortune was hidden in dozens of secret accounts that only he could identify, no one knows where the money is (pictured with first wife Tamara)

“He never made his own money before,” said Lady Victoria. “When he finally did, he was determined to enjoy it – like a huge whore to the world.”

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Mellon rented one of LA’s most expensive homes, perched on a hillside above the famous Chateau Marmont hotel where Blues Brothers actor John Belushi died of a heroin and cocaine overdose.

He began to enjoy his wealth among the full-size Buddha statues and a large artwork in the master bedroom that read “Gold Digger”.

“One day we were supposed to meet for lunch but instead he called me and told me to meet him at the Ferrari dealership,” Lady Victoria recalled. “He bought three Ferraris on the spot.

Shortly before his death, he set aside $1 million to rent a beach house in Malibu for the summer. He had a new private jet built and planned to charter a megayacht for the Monaco Grand Prix.

Yet he was a troubled and conflicted soul who attended 12-step meetings every day at 7:30 a.m. He drank smoothies and wheatgrass, had vitamins injected into his body through an IV drip, and “froze” himself in cryotherapy sessions. He even told Lady Victoria that he planned to have himself cloned. He instructed his private chef to cook only organic food, but he would party every night.

Lady Victoria said: “Being with him was like being on a wild roller coaster ride. He was like a real James Bond. He would no longer enjoy his Ferrari, so he would drive to a Lamborghini dealer and buy a new car. But his money attracted the wrong people.’

Despite insisting to friends in London that he was “clean and sober” just weeks ago, his drug use – and his paranoia – had spiraled out of control. He had four cell phones, including one he called the ‘Batphone’.

Last weekend, he took a private jet to visit his mother and stepfather in Florida before flying to Cancun, where he stayed in a suite at the five-star beach resort Villa del Palmar.

A hotel source said: “Mr Mellon arrived with two bodyguards and booked a suite for seven nights. Late Sunday night, he collapsed within hours of being checked out and was taken by ambulance seven miles to Hospiten Hospital in Cancun, where he died.”

Mellon was taken from the hospital for an autopsy, according to the owner of a funeral home in the city.

Fernando Diaz of Jardines de Paz Funeral Service said he understood from his contacts that Mellon “died of unnatural causes.” After the autopsy, Mellon’s body was taken to a funeral home in Brittany where he was cremated and his ashes sent to his family in America.

Many friends and family are expected to gather Friday for his funeral service at St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church in Boynton Beach, Florida. It will be a time of remembrance and mourning.

But many will also quietly wonder about the fate of his missing millions.

Additional reporting: Greg Woodfield in Cancun

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