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Faces of Fraud: Cases and Lessons from a Life Fighting Fraudsters by Martin T. Biegelman

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Chapter 1

The Fraudster Mindset

What does a fraudster look like? Can you tell the evil from his or her face? Are there warning signs one can see so as to be on alert? I have been asked these questions over the years. The fact is there is no easy way to look at a person and know for sure their criminal intent. The faces of fraud are everywhere. Fraudsters may be male or female, young or old, short or tall. Fraudsters are your brothers and sisters, friends and neighbors, people from all walks of life and often those you least expect to scheme and scam. If you had come across Bernard Madoff walking the streets of Manhattan prior to December 2008 and his arrest for the mother of all Ponzi schemes, you would have thought you just saw the face of a 70-year-old grandfather out for a leisurely stroll. Certainly not the monster who stole billions of dollars from people who trusted him and in the process destroyed the lives of so many.

Yet there are faces of fraud. They are not in facial characteristics or expressions. They are not in the color of one's eyes, hair, or skin. Fraud is gender and race neutral. The aura of fraud comes not from how a person looks or where they come from but from their criminal intent and the resulting self-serving actions, ruthlessness, and arrogance. The faces of fraud are personified in the mindset of the swindler. The faces of fraud are felt in the financial, reputational, and emotional impact of their deceptive actions. The faces of fraud are burned into ...

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