A GOOD CON ARTIST IS HARD TO SPOT
The first part of what I’m about to say you know. The rest you likely don’t. In December 2008, news hit of the world’s all-time largest financial scam. Bernard Madoff scammed investors out of as much as $65 billion. There was, effectively, nothing left in the coffers when authorities rushed in. All gone! You saw the stories splashed across newspaper headlines and the nightly news.
Though Madoff was the biggest scamming rat by far, news quickly followed about other similar scams. Had Madoff not been first, Texas-born Antiguan knight “Sir” R. Allen Stanford’s (alleged) Ponzi scheme would have been the biggest ever. His was merely $8 billion. The SEC charges it was a pyramid scheme—nothing more. Stanford had even been a repeat member of the Forbes 400 with what in reality was an illusory net worth. Unlike Madoff, who confessed, Stanford has denied all allegations, been charged, and awaits trial—but it doesn’t look good for him. The evidence against him appears beyond overwhelming.
Through 2009 and into 2010, more news about other, though smaller, scams broke—a seemingly endless stream. But for the victims, it doesn’t matter if the con artists scammed a big sum or small. If he stole from you, your loss was, in most cases, total.
Also endlessly, media, investors, and authorities asked, “How did this happen? How could this happen?” In Madoff’s and Stanford’s cases, they were two seemingly upstanding people. Employers with many employees. Known ...