American Greed

Just stumbled on a tv program I had never seen before called “American Greed”.

The program seems to be a compendium of scams and sundry Ponzi schemes that have been run in the recent past in America. The episode I saw portrayed the scam perpetrated by John Bennet of New Era Philantropy and some geezer that scammed a few dozen million Dollars selling tv commercials.

Though I have only seen part of one episode of this program series, I’m going to go out on a limb here and jump to some hurried conclusions. Take me to task if I am wrong. My comment goes along something like “Nero fiddles whilst Rome burns”. The one thing I can see the two fraudsters in this episode had in common is that they were churning small change. Admittedly John Bennet’s scam reached the three hundred million Dollars mark… but… in the great scheme of things, it can be argued that the time of the IRS and FBI could have been better spent chasing things of greater import than these two idiots and their high profile but gullible victims.

Here is the quick and dirty moral of the story.

If you are scamming in the hundreds of millions you will be prosecuted and busted (i.e. Sanders).

If your scamming takes you within the range of Billions, you will likely be assisted in perpetuating your scam.

Though John Bennet was able to defraud up to three hundred million Dollars, his scam was straight forward vanilla plain. John Bennet pulled the oldest scam in the world. He offered unbelievable returns to simpletons whom should have known better but didn’t. But his fraud was very straight forward; he paid existing investors with money received from new investors. He didn’t even make the effort to cloak his operation in fancy and convoluted financial instruments. Thus any first year accountant assisted by a local sheriff could have pursued and wrapped up the investigation had they been so inclined or, at least, warned. At the very least, when the FBI and the IRS were contacted they should have delegated the investigation to much lower ranking public institutions.

Why should the IRS and the FBI not taken the time to pursue John Bennet? Because John Bennet is small fry.

Enron was clearly a very sophisticated version of the John Bennet stunt. But Enron was turning over Billions. Also, Enron cloaked their operations with newfangled convoluted financial instruments and arcane mathematical algorithms.

GM was and still is a scam. Here is a manufacturing company that looses money on every single core product they manufacture and sell but makes a profit in financing the sale of their loss making products. GM turns over Billions/

Most global banks like JPMorgan, Citi, Wells Fargo or Bank of America make use of “Off Balance Sheet Investments” or “Special Investment Vehicles” or similar products. These are thoroughly opaque instruments that our governments have decreed the public has no right to question. Fine. The public may not have the right to investigate what is in these instruments but the FBI or the IRS could likely spearhead an investigation. That’s the essence of the separation of power right? So that no single office or entity can get away with murder.

When Fannie Mae not two years after the Enron debacle was unable to publish its books, you would have thought that someone would have wanted to take a closer looks at what was going on?

But GM, the banks and Fannie Mae churn Billions. And, anyway, the FBI and the IRS are bogged down chasing your garden variety two bit criminal.

Meanwhile, Rome burns.

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