Categories
Crime

Bernie Madoff Gets 150 Years

220px-BernardMadoffBernie Madoff always knew he’d be caught.  It couldn’t work.  It was all a bottle of smoke and he knew it.

Madoff mightn’t admit it, but he must have known since the very first day he accepted money from a victim that the whole thing had to collapse.  He’s not a fool.

If you take money from people, promise them returns on their investments, and then just stick their money in your bank account, it’s all going to fall apart eventually.  You have to keep getting more and more investors to pay the original people the profits you promised them, and like all pyramid schemes, those  who come in last are going to be burned.

I think this is a case of monumental denial by one man, but there are other questions I don’t know the answer to.  For instance, did anyone at Chase Bank ask what $170 billion was doing in Madoff’s account?  Did they ask where all this money was coming from?  $170 billion!  What about the low-level staff on the 17th floor where the Ponzi scheme was operating from?  Will their boss, Annette Bongiorno, be charged with anything?

Did his auditors ever look at his dealings?  Did any regulator ever demand to see details of the investments he was supposed to have made on behalf of his clients?  Did any employee of his firm — a hugely influential company on Wall Street — ever wonder where their wages were coming from?  Did anyone in the New York financial community ever talk to anyone else when it must have been obvious to everyone that the entire thing was a fiction?

Hardly.

The whole thing runs on greed and denial which is why the world is now in complete chaos.  After the things we’ve seen over the last year, we now know that Gordon Gekko was a gross misrepresentation of the typical Wall Street financier.  In reality, they’re far worse.

Bernie Madoff set up his first company at the age of 22, and everyone was happy to deal with this flim-flam artist, because at heart they were all the very same as him, just as they still are.  In the end, it was two of his sons who notified the FBI about what Madoff was up to, and I wonder if that could happen here, or even if the authorities would have the wit to respond so quickly when tipped off.

I doubt it.

Madoff seems to be genuinely remorseful, though that’s no comfort to all the people who lost their life savings, their futures and their security in old age because of him.  It’s even less comfort to the families of those who committed suicide having lost all they possessed.

Yet it seems to me that many of these people who signed up with Bernie Madoff on the promise of a fast buck were also in a state of denial.  Bernie Madoff was a man on a treadmill, running faster and faster to stay upright, and in the end, I think he was relieved to fall off.

He’s too old to be running that fast.

_____________________

Elsewhere: The Securities and Exchange Commission knew about the Madoff case as far back as 2004, but the investigation was covered up and a staff member pressurised to leave the job.  Washington Post.

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Categories
Pseudoscience Scandal

Homeopath Charlatan Threatens Mother of Autistic Child

Sharon has a charming blog called The Voyage which is about all sorts of things, including her autistic child.

Sharon posted this about the claims of a charlatan called John D. Melnychuk who claims to have cured autism through homeopathy. Now, if you haven’t come across homeopathy before, let me just remind you that this is a pseudo-science based on the utterly spurious belief that you can cure people by giving them water. I wrote about it HERE some time ago.

These self-styled homeopaths, including bastards like Melnychuk, prey on vulnerable people’s fears, offering them utterly empty promises of a cure in the same way as the snake-oil vendors used to do in the Wild West, and they should all be run out of town on a rail. Every single, last, lying asshole bastard one of them.

Anyway, Sharon quoted extensively from this fool’s website, and subsequently received the following threatening comment from a criminal thug and lowlife, called “Anonymous”:

Please be advised that this copyrighted document referred here to as “Melnychuk” that you are displaying and continually re-displaying in comments was illegally hacked from a web site in the United States of America.

United States law allows that hacking a web site and posting, and/or using copyrighted material without express permission of the author is a federal offense and is punishable by incarceration even if secondary or mirrored from another web site.

That legal surrender of a fugitive to the jurisdiction of the United States is required by British law.

Imagine that. Just as well this guy has no power over anything or he’d have you in Guantanamo faster than you could say “Jump-suit”. Did you ever read anything as pathetic? Do you recognise the style? Of course you do. It’s the blustering mark of an empty bullying windbag. I wonder who this anonymous fool might be?

Another “Anonymous” then complains:

It is pretty ruthless to post someone’s private case notes here. You may enjoy letting the world know every thing about your child but how do you know the parents of the child you have posted here are happy about it?

Just in case anyone missed it: Melnychuk published the notes, not Sharon. He did it on his blog. Isn’t it amazing the way these crooks like “Anonymous” resort to intimidation when they don’t like what you say?

———-

You might also like to have a look at THIS


kick it on kick.ie

Categories
Favourites Politics

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

OK. I can’t help it. Sorry. I just can’t help saying all this because the time is right and there’s an election coming up and it has to be said.

I know – all right? I know I’m repeating myself. I know I said all this yesterday, but there’s an election coming up, which is a thing we don’t see every day. In fact, if the government had their way, you wouldn’t see one at all.

Let’s get it absolutely clear.

This government gave €1.2 billion to the religious orders because Bertie used to work in the Mater hospital and they have some hold on him. They paid one thousand two hundred million euros of your money to cover the claims against the rapist clergy, instead of making them sell their extensive land banks.

Why?

Because the nuns have some hold over Bertie.

This government decided to locate the new national Children’s Hospital in the Mater because Bertie used to work there, and they have some hold on him. They put it in the wrong place for the sick children and their families, but that doesn’t matter when the nuns have you by the bollocks.

Why?

Because the nuns have some hold over Bertie.

This government gave National Toll Roads (Roadstone) a gigantic pile of money for the bridge that they used to rob Irish people on the M50 for 20 years because National Toll Roads are buddies of this government.

Why?

Because Roadstone have some hold over Bertie.

This government failed to tax second and third homes, because it would inconvenience their builder pals, allowing the property market to inflate to such an extent that our children will never afford a house.

Why?

Because the builders have some hold over Bertie.

This government handed a national resource free to Shell Oil because the crook Ray Burke was in charge of the deal. Ray Burke, the convicted fraud, handled the transfer of our national wealth to Shell and nobody is asking what’s going on. There are 200 police in Rossport beating the local teachers, farmers and and lifeboat crew off the roads because Ray Burke, the crook, gave our national resources free to a company that has killed many people across the world. Free! This crook! This fraud!! This gangster in charge of giving away what belongs to you and me!!!

Why?

Because Big Oil has some hold over . . .

ah, work it out for yourself. I hope you’re angry.


Categories
Crime

The Italian Job

Not everything I write here is true. Did you know that? Sometimes I make things up to keep you amused, but occasionally life smiles on me and something just happens.

I was locking the Bockmobile yesterday at the supermarket when a small car pulled up beside me. The driver was a stocky, vaguely Mediterranean-looking man with a jaunty little moustache and beard.

Scusi, gentlemens, he said. Maybe you speak Italiano?

I knew immediately what I was dealing with, and you probably do too. This comes up every year on radio shows: a friendly Italian man approaches you, says he’s a fashion designer, he was at a trade show and now he has this big stock of leather jackets he doesn’t want to take back to Italy with him.

I have a short fuse. I admit it. Sometimes I can tend to shoot first.

Fuck off! I told him.

You call me fuck off? he shouted back. Fuck you!!

And that seemed to be that. I regretted being so quick to say what I said, but not because I felt sorry for the thieving scumbag con-man. I just thought, Shit, that would have made a good Bockpost, if only I’d let him make his pitch. Fuck it!

And then I forgot about him.

Today, I was walking down the street when a small car pulled up beside me. The driver was stocky, vaguely Mediterranean and had a snappy little moustache with a beard but, to my surprise, he was a different swarthy mustachioed stocky foreigner.

He leaned over to the passenger window.

Excuse, please. You are speak Italian? English? You Irish, yes?

I felt myself bristling, but remembering yesterday, I restrained my tongue.

Yeah. What’s the problem?

Is no problem for me. No problem. I cannot find road to airport. Is late. I miss aeroplane. Please, where is road to airport?

No bother, I said. Turn around here, take a left, keep going, follow the signs.

Ah, grazie, he smiled. Ciao.

Ciao!
I replied, and waved him off.

Christ Almighty. Imagine if I’d allowed my suspicious nature to take control and told him to fuck off. He’s back home, munching his antipasti and waving his glass of Chianti at his grandmother. Those Limericks? They are crazy. I lose my way, I ask one of him for directions and he tell me Va Fanculo!!

Lost in my remorseful little thoughts, I failed to notice the small car pulling up beside me.

Scusi?

What?

There he is again. Scusi please?

Jesus, I said. Did you miss the turn?

You know Brown Thomas? Is big departmen’ store here in Limerick?

What?

Brown Thomas. I am fashion designer and I have here many clothes in car. You are business, perhaps?

Ah for fucksake, I said. Wait there a second.

And to my great surprise, he did. He waited long enough for me to take this:


Categories
Religion Scandal

Bock Joins the Scientologists

Some years back, I called to see the Scientologists in Florida. Lovely people. Here’s my diary from that experience:
I’m getting truly sick of all these eighty-mile round trips to Tampa. It’s good for the novelty of the thing, but the American road-laws become harder and harder to understand. Where are all these cops they told us about? A guy told me the other day that traffic fines are one of the biggest sources of State funding, and maybe that’s so but what do the cops say about eighteen-wheel Mack trucks that ride your back bumper at 90 mph?

Enough. We come to what must be the high point of anyone’s holiday. This is what makes travel worthwhile. I jump in the car and head for Clearwater, hoping to find the Scientologists. Along the way, I pass the newly-opened Planet Bubba, about which there’s been a lot of stuff in the press. Seems they have this talk-radio guy here called Bubba the Love Sponge. (Don’t ask. I don’t know, all right?) Anyway, Bubba decides to open a club of some sort and all the locals object because they have enough of this particular sort of club in the area. I don’t know. Genuinely, I just don’t have that information. Maybe it’s a gym.

Guess what? I hardly go twenty miles wrong before spotting it: Dianetics. That’s all it says on the sign. Dianetics. I have found the Scientologists. My head spins with excitement as I drive past it the wrong way. Of course, I realise that this is only one of many buildings the Scientologists own in Clearwater, and also it’s important to make a distinction. Clearwater is their spiritual headquarters, not the administrative HQ, which is in California. If you ask me, this is the better choice. You can almost feel the spiritual power throbbing in the very bricks of this city. What a sensation! I’m speechless with excitement as I perform an illegal U-turn and head for Dianetics.

As I pull into the car-park (sorry, parking lot) the air fills with the whirr of a hundred security cameras, all focussing on me. Jesus, I think, what a wonderful bunch of guys. Aren’t they just so caring? Even their security cameras love-bomb you. It’s great to feel wanted. One thing worries me though: I’m wearing a T-shirt with a large cigar-chewing Poker Alice on it, I have knee-length baggy shorts and filthy old trainers. Whatever will they think?

I needn’t fret. The lobby is cool and discreet, literature strewn everywhere, invitingly, and there’s a few shelves with books (which they must, regretfully, charge for, to cover costs). I meet a great guy called Decker, who’s no slouch when it comes to accents.

Ireland, right? says Decker. I hope he’s not about to roll up his sleeve and show me a leprechaun tattoo.

Right, I confirm, giving little away.

Where you from?

I’m not quite ready to sign up for Scientology yet, so I lie to him. Dublin.

Great, he says, and moves on.

What a great guy.

I’m picking up all sorts of free glossy brochures. I have an armful of free literature and I’m about to move off when Jennifer appears. It turns out one of the brochures isn’t free. You have to pay for it, but how can you tell the difference? Maybe it’s part of the test . . . Jennifer eyes me shrewdly. Jennifer is small and maybe too young to remember eighties power-dressing, yet she has these padded shoulders and a snappy dark business suit. A suit that says I know what I’m talking about. At least, in New York that’s what the suit would be saying. Here in Florida, where the air temperature is eighty-four degrees Fahrenheit, the suit says Christ, I’m dying. I bet this suit gets down on its knees every night and gives thanks to L. Ron Hubbard, the inventor of air-conditioning. Another great, great guy, Ron. I’ll get to him.

Jennifer wants to get my name in the visitor book, but I stall. Who wants to be in the Scientology database? That’s for later, when I reach a new level of consciousness. Who knows? Maybe it’s where old Scientologists go, sucked into a computer. We joust a little, Jennifer and I. Wouldn’t I like to stay and see the L. Ron video? It’s just awesome. I agree with Jennifer: it must be awesome, but, see, I’ve abandoned the kids in a fun-park and if I don’t go now I’ll be arrested for neglect. Jennifer isn’t put off that easily. When can I make it? If I call ahead, they’ll show the video specially for me.

Can you believe it? Just for me? I’m astonished by all this kindness and a little sickened by my own lack of principles as I give Jennifer a false name and leave. It’s not that I have anything against Jennifer as a person. It’s just that, well, I’d like a chance to review some of this literature before going on their mailing list. Anyway, I feel a little sorry for Jennifer so, as I depart, I promise to come back tomorrow morning and see the video. Who can tell? With all this power that Ron has revealed to them, perhaps it’ll happen.

Driving out of the parking-lot, I get a strange feeling. What did Decker say to Jennifer?

Get out there, check that guy. Yeah, the one in the Poker Alice T-shirt. The one trying to steal our books.

I don’t want to stare, or anything, but it’s hard to shake off the thought: what happens next? As the door closes behind you, do they drop all pretence? Do the smiles melt away? Do their arms drop uselessly by their sides? Even now, as I pull onto the highway and gun the engine, are they gathered in the lobby, watching me go? Thirty, forty, a hundred of them, all squashed up against each other and watching through the smoked glass?

I get a mild attack of the heebie-jeebies and start watching out for strange cars. Just to be certain, I do two or three U-turns to keep them off the scent, and it seems to work. A strange thing though: on the way back to Water Planet, or whatever they call it, at least three cop-cars fall in behind me at various times. Can this be coincidence? You decide.

Now, then.

L. Ron Hubbard. What a name. L. Ron Hubbard, with a little initial up there in front, like a fucking periscope. I can feel it watching me. What did his friends call him? How’s it goin’, L? The nice people at Dianetics gave me a questionnaire for a free personality test and I’m having a glance through it, thinking, God, these people really are interested in me. How great!

Question 31: could you agree to strict discipline?

Hmmm! Maybe this is a job for Bubba the Love Sponge. I should call him up – he might come over.

Hey Bubba, remember me? Yeah, the night of the party. Maybe you could help out here. Bubba, am I ever disturbed by the noise of the wind? No? Good. How about muscles, Bubba? Do my muscles twitch? Come on, Bubba, there’s no need for that kind of talk. All right, I know you’re only kidding. Listen Bubba, would you consider me a slow eater?

It goes on like that for two hundred questions and they ask you the same thing in twenty different ways. Why? Can’t they read?

Do other people interest you very much?

Of course they do.

Are you readily interested in other people’s conversation?

I thought I just answered that. I can’t believe this fucking shit. They have this thing called an E-METER © invented, naturally, by L. Ron. There seems to be no end to this man’s genius. Very impressive piece of kit, the E-METER ©, with a needle that moves over a dial and what seems to be two or three digital watches built into it. You hold a pair of shiny electrodes, one in each hand, and that’s all they need to analyse your inmost feelings. Remember those machines outside the shops? How sexy are you? That’s exactly what the E-METER © is, except you pay the Church of Scientology about a grillion dollars for it. Just fantastic.

I must sign up right away.

Categories
Humour

Dead Accountants’ Society

Did you know that the late Kim Il Sung is still President of North Korea? Isn’t that great?

I told Gonad the Ballbearian about this last week, and he jumped up like he’d been farted at by a Donegal detective. I’ll be back to you he said, and he was as good as his word. He called today with details of a terrific new tax-avoidance plan. He’s going to open an accountancy company and all its partners will be dead crooked accountants. Russell Murphy and Des Traynor will be the managing partners.

This is great. I’m going to take all the bribes I got from Shell Oil for introducing them to a crooked Minister for Energy, and I’m going to invest it in Gonad’s scheme. Every penny of it. You see, Gonad has had a stroke of genius here. This won’t be the Cayman Islands, or the Isle of Man or any of that shit. No. Gonad’s partners are going to keep your money in the Afterlife. The ultimate offshore account.

Categories
Crime Favourites Religion Scandal World

Mother Teresa, the crook

Charles Keating was sentenced to ten years in prison for perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in American history. The Savings and Loans scandal has gone down in history as one of the filthiest scams ever conducted, involving the defrauding of 17,000 people of their life savings. Many of these people were elderly, and many lost everything they owned.

Charles Keating donated 1.25 million of these stolen dollars to Mother Teresa, and also gave her the use of his private jet. At his trial the good nun sent a letter to the trial judge, Lance Ito (a man you might remember from the OJ Simpson case).

This is what Mother Teresa said on behalf of Charles Keating:


Dear Honorable Lance Ito,

We do not mix up in Business or Politicts or courts. Our work, as Missionaries of Charity is to give wholehearted and free service to the poorest of the poor.

I do not know anything about Mr. Charles Keating’s work or his business or the matters you are dealing with.

I only know that he has alway been kind and generous to God’s poor, and always ready to help whenever there was a need. It is for this reason that I do not want to forget him now while he and his family are suffering. Jesus has told us “Whatever you do to the least of my brethern … YOU DID IT TO ME. Mr. Keating has done each to help the poor, which is why I am writing to you on his behalf.

Whenever someone asks me to speak to a judge, I always tell them the same thing. I ask them to pray, to look into thier heart, and to do what Jesus would do in that circumstance. And this is what I am asking of you, your Honor.

My gratitude to you is my prayer for you, and your work, your family and the people with whom you are working.

God bless you

M. Teresa

Thinking that Mother Teresa didn’t understand how Keating had robbed countless old and vulnerable people to obtain this money, the deputy District Attorney in the case, Paul Turley wrote a personal letter, as follows:

Dear Mother Teresa

I am a Deputy District Attorney in Los Angeles County and one of the persons who worked on the prosecution of your benefactor, Charles H. Keating, Jr. I read your letter to Judge Ito, written on behalf of Mr. Keating, which includes your admission that you know nothing about Mr. Keating’s business or the criminal charges presented to Judge Ito. I am writing to you to provide a brief explanation of the crimes of which Mr. Keating has been convicted, to give you an understanding of the source of the money that Mr. Keating gave to you, and to suggest that you perform the moral and ethical act of returning the money to its rightful owners.

Mr. Keating was convicted of defrauding 17 individuals of more than $900,000. These 17 persons were representative of 17,000 individuals from whom Mr. Keating stole $252,000,000. Mr. Keating’s specific acts of fraud were that he was the source of a series of fraudulent representations made to persons who bought bonds from his company and he also was the repository of crucial information which he chose to withhold from bond purchasers, thereby luring his victims into believing they were making a safe, low-risk investment. In truth and in fact, their money was being used to fund Mr. Keating’s exorbitant and extravagant lifestyle.

The victims of Mr. Keating’s fraud come from a wide spectrum of society. Some were wealthy and well-educated. Most were people of modest means and unfamiliar with high finance. One was, indeed, a poor carpenter who did not speak English and had his life savings stolen by Mr. Keating’s fraud.

The biblical slogan of your organization is ‘As long as you did it to one of these My least brethren. You did it to Me’. The ‘least’ of the brethren are among those whom Mr. Keating fleeced without flinching. As you well know, divine forgiveness is available to all, but forgiveness must be preceded by admission of sin. Not only has Mr. Keating failed to admit his sins and his crimes, he persists in self-righteously blaming others for his own misdeeds. Your experience is, admirably, with the poor. My experience has been with the ‘con’ man and the perpetrator of the fraud. It is not uncommon for ‘con’ men to be generous with family, friends and charities.

Perhaps they believe that their generosity will purchase love, respect or forgiveness. However, the time when the purchase of ‘indulgences’ was an acceptable method of seeking forgiveness died with the Reformation. No church, no charity, no organization should allow itself to be used as a salve for the conscience of the criminal. We all are grateful that forgiveness is available but we all, also, must perform our duty. That includes the Judge and the Jury. I remind myself of the biblical admonition of the Prophet Micah: ‘O man, what is good and what does the Lord require of you. To do justice, love mercy and walk humbly.’

We are urged to love mercy but we must do justice.

You urge Judge Ito to look into his heart — as he sentences Charles Keating — and do what Jesus would do. I submit the same challenge to you. Ask yourself what Jesus would do if he were given the fruits of a crime; what Jesus would do if he were in possession of money that had been stolen; what Jesus would do if he were being exploited by a thief to ease his conscience?

I submit that Jesus would promptly and unhesitatingly return the stolen property to its rightful owners. You should do the same. You have been given money by Mr. Keating that he has been convicted of stealing by fraud. Do not permit him the ‘indulgence’ he desires Do not keep the money. Return it to those who worked for it and earned it!

If you contact me I will put you in direct contact with the rightful owners of the property now in your possession.

Sincerely,

Paul W. Turley

There was no reply and the money wasn’t returned.

So much for living saints.