Murder on Middle Beach is a 2020 HBO series about the 2010 murder of Barbara Hamburg.
2 out of 10 stars. This was a five hours series that should have been one hour. It’s mostly fluff and watching Madison Hamburg, her son, wire himself so he can tape people without their knowing.
On March 3, 2010 Barbara Hamburg was found murdered in front of the house she rented. She’d been married to Jeff Hamburg for 14 years then Jeff won a lawsuit for defamation and received $3.5 million. He left her and started a lavish lifestyle. She filed for divorce and was awarded alimony and child support for their two children. Jeff never paid. After 5 years, he owed her over $500,000 and was about to be put in jail for contempt of court. The hearing was the morning Barbara was murdered. That’s one coincidence too many. I have no doubt Jeff killed her or had her killed. That’s a huge problem in this country, old rich white men who murder people who get in their way.
Halfway through this messy documentary, Madison comes up with another plausible reason for his mother’s murder: Gifting Tables. I had to look this up because the description given in the documentary is pretty lame. Gifting tables are a pyramid scheme. There are four layers with one person at the top, DESSERT, and eight people at the bottom, APPETIZERS. The 8 people at the bottom pay $5,000 each to the DESSERT so for each meeting, the person at the top gets paid $40,000 tax-free. Barbara started in gifting tables when Jeff refused to pay alimony or child support and they ran out of money from her IRA. She needed money and her aunt Jill introduced her to Gifting Tables. According to Madison, she made $2.1 million from gifting tables over several years.
There were three queens of this scam spread across Westchester, Connecticut. The last two were Jill and Barbara. After the DESSERT at the top of the pyramid receives her $40,000 she starts another pyramid with two recruits. Those two recruits each find two other recruits. And so on until the pyramid is filled. Then she gets another $40,000. For years no one cared about these groups because no one complained. The first two queens had been very careful about who they recruited and stuck to people who could afford the $5,000. Barbara didn’t. She was in AAA and recruited addicts. They reported her to the Attorney General of Connecticut who started investigating all of them. The other two queens cut off all contact with Barbara. And shortly after that, she was murdered.
After Barbara’s murder, the first two queens, including Barbara’s Aunt Jill, went to jail for this pyramid scheme, even though the people who were complaining were all in Barbara’s group. They said she strong-armed them into coming up with $5,000 by selling their cars, their homes, their IRAs, and other things they really needed. I find this much less plausible as a murder theory.
2 out of 10 stars. Another sloppy HBO documentary.