The buses that ferry tourists past the homes of celebrities used to slow to a roll outside a Beverly Hills mansion with 11 Ferraris parked just inside the gates. Georges Marciano lives here, the gawking customers were told. You know, Guess Jeans.

A knowledgeable guide might have gone on to describe Marciano as a classic American success story -- a poor immigrant who amassed a fortune through hard work and business savvy. The guide might have noted Marciano's two other palatial residences on Sunset Boulevard, his Boeing 737, the art collection boasting works by Marc Chagall and Ed Ruscha, the cellar of priceless wines, the homes in Utah and France, and his self-financed if little-noticed campaign for governor.

These days, there is no reason for the buses to stop. The Ferraris are gone. Creditors have laid claim to Marciano's assets. The gubernatorial campaign is dormant, and the great man himself has disappeared. "I do not know where Mr. Marciano is residing at this time," his spokeswoman conceded recently.

Marciano, 62, cannot blame his troubles on a Ponzi scheme or the mortgage meltdown. He is poised to lose an empire worth as much as $500 million because he is convinced that some employees stole from him.

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