I know what you are thinking, poor seniors who worked all of their lives are now left without their retirement funds and this is a shame, but is this really the whole truth and the whole picture? What enables these fraudsters to take advantage of these otherwise intelligent people? Are we the Canadian tax payer being duped by an equally skilled and greedy group of con artists who claim to be unsuspecting victims?I have no sympathy for Bernard Madoff, or Earl Jones or any of the other people like them, or their supposedly innocent victims. I think if they are guilty of bilking people out of their money we must look at why this is happening and the best way to stop it. What is it that they offer that makes smart, wealthy people give them their lives savings like they have no business savvy at all and who is responsible for their losses. Why the banks, why the securities commission and why me and not them? In no case that I have heard of has one victim been forced, or threatened into giving up the money. I do not think that compensating people for being greedy, or negligent is the solution we need to be offering. Where is this train of thought going anyway that says that we the tax payer should compensate these people? If someone sells me a bad car unknowingly to me, because I did not check it out, will the government compensate me? If a stock I invested in goes bad after I was told it wa a great deal, but I did not bother to check it out, will the government compensate me? If I invest in phony art unknowingly, because I did not bother to check it out, will the government compensate me? The answer to all of the questions is of course not and should be the same answer for these alleged victims as well.
It used to be that the person who was seeking to invest had to do their homework and if they got duped the person who committed the fraud went to jail and the person who lost the money was told buyer beware. It seems now that the people being duped are claiming that they have no responsibility at all, because they are not accountants and trusted the Ponzi scammers to be honest. these duped people do not see that they may just be getting their just deserts for being greedy and perhaps paying the price for trying to avoid paying the right amount of taxes. In every other case of fraud, or misrepresentation between buyer, or seller the expectation of the legal system is that the buyer be knowledgeable about what they are getting into and with whom they are dealing with, or suffer the consequences. If they are to be compensated it must come from the perpetrator of the crime if there is anything left of their money, but it has never been the banks responsibility or the government’s responsibility,or the taxpayers either.
Why should I who does not seek to avoid paying my dutiful share of taxes have to pay to give back money to those who lost theirs trying to avoid paying their rightful amount? How does giving these people someone else to blame send a message that they should be more careful who they are dealing with and that all that glitters is not gold? It would seem to me that what is needed is a closer look at how these people who claim to be duped are really handling their financial affairs and whether, or not they are as above-board in their motivations and business practices as they claim to be.
I know that I sound cynical and heartless, but it irks me when I hear that a man with no legitimate papers to do what he does is able to convince people that they should let him handle their money and they just hand it over and claim he offered them nothing out of the ordinary and saw no reason to feel that what he was offering smelled of wrong doing. that the only incentive was that he was a family friend? give me a break and lets find out what the carrot was. In most cases such as these, no banks could offer what these cons did at the rate they did; no legitimate investment institution could offer what they did at the rates they did, but no one chose to check it out, no red flags went up and I ask why not? I will answer my own question, the people who were being conned were trying to get away with something themselves at the cost to the rest of us who do the right thing. They were motivated by greed, the promise of quick profits and hidden tax shelters and as long as they were getting their money they were promised they did not give a damn who suffered. As long as they got their money they were promised they did not care about what taxation laws they were guilty of violating and the affect it would have on the country. I think it is time we held these so-called victims accountable for their actions and seek recompense from them for all of the monies they have avoided paying in taxes while they were in the Ponzi scheme and profiting from it, while the rest of us picked up their slack.
This is why I say that no person should win when they come to court with dirty hands. If you escape going to jail yourself than you should consider yourself ahead of the game and take your medicine. I believe that at the very least your punishment should be to eat your losses and learn from your mistakes. maybe your name should even go on a taxation watch list to help keep you from trying to dupe the government and thereby help you control your urges to make stupid deals with unscrupulous people.
No one held a gun to their heads and took their money. For the most part they were offered a deal too good to be true and they took it. In some cases the people knew that their was something a little shady in what was going on, but figured it was okay to run their scam on the Canadian government and what was the harm if they just skimmed a little. Every one that can afford to do it does it don’t they? People should be free to invest with whom ever they choose and look for the best deal they can get, but I think that it is obvious in these cases that more than this is happening, or is the driving force behind this type of con game.
I would say that many victims caught by these type of frauds are almost always participants in their own little frauds, like tax evasion, or stock manipulation and or are willing to turn a blind eye to how these people could offer them a deal better than anyone else in the business. To play dumb to certain irregularities and I believe that the fear of getting caught operating in a way that they know to be shady at best is what keeps them from going to the authorities when they first become aware that something is going wrong. I am in total agreement with the way the law used to be and object strongly to any law that would give over tax payers money to help refund in any way shape or form to the victims of these types of frauds, because I do not see them as victims at all, but as silent partners, who only object when their scheming fails. These same people who do not honor their obligation to pay their taxes honestly and fairly in the first place, who will now get tax breaks from the federal government in an effort to lessen their plight. A reward for scamming the government and us the honest tax payer. We will be asked once again to turn the other cheek and help shoulder the financial losses of yet another poor greedy rich person. There is an old adage that says, “If you stick your hand in fire do not be surprised when it gets burned, because it will get burned.”