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Did Socrates say "Know Thyself", or was he misunderstood, as all are. Show Thyself is all we can do. The knowing is unknowable.  

I am filled with joy.  It can't be helped.  

Became a Farmer, Builder, Musician, Tank Commander, Librarian, Lawyer and Minister. I have failed at many things. And now retired.  Filled, just filled, with Joy. 

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Disappointing Frauds - the year's top scams

The schemes of Con-artists are flowering here in Orange County. Newport Beach remains the leading "home" outside of Nigeria, for scamming the world. The impunity of the perpetrators continues to parallel the scale of their ill-gotten gains, although the election of our new Attorney General (former Governor Brown) is a huge gasp of fresh air on the prosecution front.

Various "scams": (1) Phone call claims to be from the Red Cross to spouses on behalf of soldiers serving in Iraq, claiming to need information, which is then used for identification theft. (2) "Natural Viagra" with unknown or the same ingredient as real Viagra. (3) Phone call to family members of elderly, seeking identity information, for "emergecy" care. (4) The IRS refund email. (5) Fake foreclosure redeemers, collecting fees to do nothing or falsely collect "rent". (6) Certified checks, which are deposited as "available funds", but not yet cleared. (7) In wildfire areas, fake contractors promising reconstruction or utility restoration. (8) And of course, high returns promised for investments in which there is no real "business" -- actual trade for value-added services or produced goods. Millions of dollars are lost by citizens, and the money invariably going "off-shore", a hidden hemorrage of financial strength facilitated by government agencies run by Bush appointees -- in other words, government agencies that see/ hear/ do nothing.

"Business" has been redefined. Stealing is "business" if you can get away with it, and of course, any idiot can get away with it in todays' environment.

Still, I am so disappointed in the quality of the Frauds this year. Even the smartest MBA's from the best business schools are coming up with the lamest crimes. The frauds are little more than thuggish takings. The smartest guys in the boiler-room turn out to be dumb-nut thugs. QUOTE OF THE WEEK -- "We had a scheme where the rich got richer. I did it, and I feel good about it. But I'm not planning to run for office". Marc B. Wolpow, former Bain Capital director, referencing his former Bain colleague, Mitt Romney. Bain Capital was a "business" which had no legitimate business and engaged in white collar theft. Call it what it is.