Supposedly born bad, Eric Williams always defined himself by comparison to his “good” brother, Simon. Both brothers struggled in vain for the approval of their demanding, abusive father, Sanford; but where Simon was shy and studious, Eric was athletic, wild and reckless. Regarded as the black sheep of the family, Eric became a thief and tried unsuccessfully to pressure Simon into participating in his petty crimes. Secretly admiring Simon’s virtue, Eric developed an unrealistically idealized view of his brother, whom he loved and resented in equal measure. Scorning his family’s high-tech manufacturing business, Eric became a gambler and a professional criminal, rising within the ranks of the Maggia organized crime cartel. Simon, meanwhile, dutifully entered the family business and took over its management after Sanford’s death. Williams Innovations gradually failed, thanks in part to stiff competition from rival firm Stark Industries, and a desperate Simon turned to Eric for help-though Eric’s attempted intimidation and coercion of business rivals and potential clients failed to produce useful results. As a last resort, Simon stole money from his own company, hoping to invest it in Eric’s Maggia ventures for a fast profit and save the business; but Simon got caught, and was arrested for embezzlement. Unable to accept his brother’s fall from grace, Eric lied to his mother and others by claiming that he was the real embezzler, insisting that Simon had merely taken the blame.