Ever seen the movie, War Dogs starring Jonah Hill and Miles Teller? If you have, then you are definitely familiar with the story of David Packouz. While the story as produced by Bradley Cooper and friends was a dark comedy, the true story is much less funny.
Real life events of what the movie was based on earned Packouz and his friend Efraim Diveroli a jail sentence. Read on to find out more about the man and what exactly happened with the arms deal that almost started a war.
Who is David Packouz?
In America, anything is possible. While that statement of fact is often an expression of the unlimited level of imagination and hope in the country, it also opens the door to some of the bewildering stories in human society, like that of David Packouz who became an international arms dealer via a laptop in Miami.
One wonders if Packouz’s parents, Orthodox Rabbi Kalman Packouz and wife Shoshana had an inclination that their son, whom they gave birth to on the 16th of February, 1982 would one day become an arms dealer. One could not imagine that was the case but that was the reality that began to unfold when he reunited with Efraim Diveroli, a high school friend who had left for Los Angeles before graduation.
At the time of the meeting, David Packouz was working as a massage therapist who also sold cotton sheets to nursing homes. So, while he wasn’t dirt poor, the option of making a lot more money was of interest to him and this sparked the beginning of an interesting business relationship with Efraim.
Efraim Diveroli owned an arms company named AEY Inc. at the time and Packouz after a bit of convincing joined the enterprise and began to bid to government defence contracts. Being a small company, AEY Inc. focused on bidding on small contracts which between a space of a year, helped him win a total of 149 contracts that were worth around $10.5 million.
It was a smooth operation that saw them earn significantly beyond their age as the two were both 23 and 19 at the time. Their greed eventually got better of them when they bid for a contract that required them to supply ammunition to the Afghan Army.
David Packouz and his friend, in fulfilment of the contract, supplied Chinese made ammunition to the Afghan Army, a direct violation of the terms of their contract with the United States Army. A combination of a New York Times investigation and the attention from their competitions exposed the violation and put Packouz and Efraim in a legal tussle with the US Army and the Department of Justice.
Both arm dealers eventually plead guilty and were sentenced by a US Court for conspiracy to defraud the United States. David Packouz was sentenced to seven months of house arrest while his friend, Efraim was sentenced to four years in prison. Their story was eventually published in a book by Guy Lawson in 2015 titled, Arms and the Dudes which later led to the movie War Dogs.
When War Dogs ran in theatres, viewers would have seen that David Packouz was lured into the business following the unplanned pregnancy of his girlfriend who in the film was named, Iz. However, the story is less straight forward in real life. According to the book that inspired the movie, David was dating a Spanish woman who was referred to as Sara in the book at the time.
Till date, the real identity of his girlfriend hasn’t been confirmed but she did give birth to their daughter, Arnabelle Jane who was born in 2007. While Packouz was actively involved in the arms business, ‘Sara’ broke up with him and remained separated until AEY imploded and he was back to being a regular man. They got married after the media and legal processes ended.
David Packouz, at the age of 25, secured a massive ammunition deal worth almost $300 million with the United States government. Before that, he and his friend had won multiple contracts that earned their company over $10.5 million in revenue. Although the $300 million deal became the subject of media attention and landed him in jail, it is believed that after settling his legal problems, he has been able to retain a significant sum of his income from the enterprise.
Packouz has since gone ahead to become an inventor, who invented a guitar pedal drum machine called the BeatBuddy. The machine is sold at $299 and is available in major music and e-commerce stores. This along with his arms deal money makes him a man of significant wealth.