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The Shrink Who Exploited His Patient And Took Over Their Entire Life

Looked upon as one of the best psychiatrists across the state of New York, Dr. Isaac Herschkopf appeared to have it all. In addition to his thriving career, he had celebrity pals such as Gwyneth Paltrow and threw luxurious parties at his house in the Hamptons. But all was not as it seemed here. The property didn’t actually belong to him; it was the home of his patient Marty Markowitz, a man whose life he took over for nearly three decades.

Truth can be stranger than fiction...

Quite frankly, it’s a story so far-fetched that you’d be forgiven for thinking that it wasn’t true. How could something that crazy really happen, and over such a long period of time?

Well, you know the old saying: truth can be stranger than fiction. In this case, Dr. Herschkopf’s chilling abuse of power not only inspired an enthralling podcast, but a star-studded TV mini-series, too.

Meeting Markowitz

So let’s go back to where it all started. The year was 1981 and at first glance, Markowitz seemed to be in excellent shape. He was running Associated Fabrics Corporation, his family’s highly successful — and lucrative — business.

He became a very wealthy man, while also maintaining a close bond with his sister, Phyllis Shapiro. Yet away from all that, Markowitz’s personal life was in real turmoil.

Heartbreaking family drama

Sadly, Markowitz’s mom and dad had both passed away in quick succession, which had thrust him into his position of power at Associated Fabrics Corporation. But this had left his uncle furious.

His uncle couldn’t understand why his brother hadn’t entrusted the business to him. So in 1980 he filed a lawsuit against Markowitz. Yes, he tried to sue his own nephew!

Lost love

The problems didn’t end there. Just before all that drama kicked off, Markowitz was engaged to a woman he loved dearly. However, their relationship had unraveled after he’d suggested that she should sign a prenuptial agreement.

His partner flat-out refused, and the engagement was dissolved as a result in 1979. So it’s fair to say that Markowitz had a lot on his plate during that time.