11 May 2006

Tales of Greed from around the World

From John Gruber's Daring Fireball comes this link to a New Yorker story on supposedly-intelligent people getting taken in by 419-type scams (eg e-mails from Nigeria promising millions). It's a long article but worthy of a read. I can't quite make up my mind on whether the treatment meted out to Mr Worley was reasonable, but next to that received by fellow idiot Marcia Cartwright (who got off) it seems pretty harsh. Certainly Mrs Worley suffers far more as a result than Ms Cartwright, and that doesn't seem fair. (Oh, and along the way, I think some of the banks come out of this story very badly indeed, yet don't seem to have faced the consequences).

Next up is the story from Spain (plenty of other sources on this one too) about 350,000 Spanish and Portuguese people who put their life savings into a stamps investment scheme (yes, postal stamps!) with promises of fantastic returns. A hardly surprising outcome ensued. Consequential damages of such a story though hit other people. Shareholders in the famous UK company Stanley Gibbons saw the value of their shares plummet by 12% in reaction to this news, despite no involvement by the company whatsoever in the Spanish scheme - merely a reaction to how the stamp business will be tarnished.

Finally, closer to home is this story from the Guardian about how so-called "Carousel" fraud might now be accounting for 10% of the UK exports with losses to the treasury estimated (may be exaggerated) at £10bn in this year alone. That's a lot of retirement villas on the Costa del Sol. Of course, whereas in the other two cases, the primary victims and perpetrators were united in their greed, this scheme is clever in that it does not rely on the active participation of the victim - just an incompetent government department to give it away on our (taxpayer) behalf.

In all three stories the real perpetrators/beneficiaries have yet to face justice, and that the real victims (60million of us in the UK for instance) will never likely be restituted.

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