I always suspected that the families on My Super Sweet Sixteen were money launderers. As far as I could tell, there are only two reasons people throw parties like that:
1. This is the lifestyle in which they're accustomed. Strike that. Even when the royals arrive in helicopter, they don't make everyone come out and scream, nor do they make showy displays of their assets.
The new #1:
1. Pathological need to show off
2. Excess of funds due to shady business practices.
The answer is #2. ding ding ding ding ding ding ding. Some guy sold oil securities to oil wells that had no oil in them, then used the investment money to buy cars, purses, etc., for his daughter whose hicksville friends probably didn't even realize they weren't looking at canal street knockoffs.
Gawker wrote about it here.
The video to watch "how many Vuitton purses would this oil well buy, Daddy?" here.
NYTimes article here.