Conditions are Right for Schemers

A recent Bloomberg article discussed the fact that the current situation creates somewhat ideal conditions for crooks and schemers in the financial industry. The article points out the various conditions in place that make it an advantageous time for those who make a living by deceptively selling investments, peddling bogus tax shelters or real estate schemes and operating Ponzi schemes. Mr. Joseph Borg, a long time veteran securities regulator and head of the Alabama Securities Commission, said it best by saying "This is the perfect time if you want to be a crook." He ought to know since he has seen and fought just about every type of slimy securities crook who makes a living off of sweet talking investors out of their money.

According to the article, these are the top ten reasons the time is right if you are into cheating investors:

  • Budget restraints at the SEC have effectively limited its enforcement capabilities.
  • Demographics. The over 60 group is concerned about Social Security and afraid of the stock market. The 75+ group is worried because CD interest rates are so low and the 40 to 50 year olds who have lost big are desperate for a quick recovery making them all easy targets for fraud.
  • If inflation kicks in the public will be sitting ducks for "Inflation Buster" schemes.
  • Rising gasoline prices may lead to energy related scams.
  • State regulators are overloaded with additional duties as budgets and personnel are reduced.
  • Technology is opening new frontiers and regulators do not have the state of the art systems that traders use, causing an increased potential for manipulation.
  • Deregulation is hot in Washington and a plus for crooks.
  • Elizabeth Warren will likely be gone as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, making it easier if your area of expertise is mortgage fraud or bait and switch bank products.
  • Business risk is low. Companies that helped fuel the financial meltdown with aggressive accounting or questionable disclosures got bailed out instead of getting indicted.
  • If you do get into trouble, which isn't all that likely, hire a great lawyer who worked at the SEC before going into private practice to get your career back on track.
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