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You know it’s a bad day when…

in Financial Dreams, Government, Procrastination and Financial Planning, Stock Market

From 2010, when there was a lot of shady stuff going on in the market. Bernie Madoff had been unmasked, and then other Ponzi Schemes came to light. Be careful who you invest with, absolutely.

You wake up and your financial Guru is dead. Yet another alleged Ponzi scheme arises, with the news that noted Financial Guru Robert Mander was found dead in his home a day after a group of his “investors” filed papers with the courts to get their money back. You can see the motions at E.M.B. Asset Group Inc. and Robert Mander on the appointed receiver’s web site.

Another group of investors were swayed to part with their hard earned cash (I assume) with promises of incredible payback in the long run, but for some reason they started to suspect that maybe this was all too good to be true? Not sure what may have precipitated the legal action by the investors (specifically SA Capital Growth), but hindsight suggests that maybe they should have had these concerns before they turned over their money to the latest financial guru ?

The specific claim from SA Capital Growth was a principle investment of over $12,176,000 which has “…accrued substantial interest…”. I am curious to find out in who’s opinion has this earned this interest? I guess if Mr. Mander had published a statement of how much the investment has grown, this would be what this claim is based on. Does the CRA tax that, or have the investors paid tax on this interest (if it is Interest income)? Don’t see anything that outlines that, but that would be an interesting side note to find out about.

Whether this was a suicide or a homicide remains to be decided upon by the coroner and the police, however, you know it’s a bad day when the man you gave $12,000,000 appears to have committed suicide after you ask for your money back.

Another useful platitude used here before is: If it looks to good to be true, it probably is and a follow on lemma would be Even if it is true, do you want to take the risk?.

The other interesting part of this is that the initial investors seem to have recruited friends and family to add money to the scheme, and this is worrisome too. I don’t like giving investment advice to family or friends (mostly because my friends and family know a lot more than I do in the first place), but how do you recruit someone into an alleged scheme like this?

I’d Never Fall for that! Or Would I?

Please do not mistake my commentary as any smugness or pride on my part, I am confident that I could easily be bamboozled or flim-flammed into this kind of alleged scheme, I just thank my lucky stars that I have not been (so far)(that I know of). The kind of sociopath that can run this kind of alleged scam is not easy to spot, and will have persuasive skills that can trick even the best of us, so always beware and on your guard. A follow on is also be wary of friends or family with “new and exciting” investment opportunities.

It used to be when I was younger I’d be invited to parties only to find out (most times beforehand luckily) that this friend was actually trying to recruit me into Amway to sell soap. Those friends quickly went onto the GFY list (no I won’t explain that one on line) and I stayed away from their parties after that.

{ 4 comments }

  • Neil March 25, 2010, 2:53 PM

    Tax-wise, corporate entities pay taxes based on interest accrual – ie. what’s on the statement. Individuals pay when the interest is paid (ie., if you have a 3-year GIC on which all interest is paid at the end, you only pay tax in year 3. If that same GIC compounds annually, you pay tax annually.)

    As for “hindsight suggests that maybe they should have had these concerns before they turned over their money” I think tends to underestimate how sneaky these guys are. For the most part, promising fantastic returns went out with the dinosaurs. The successful scam artist promises stable but believable returns. If I recall correctly, Madoff’s schtick was claiming to use derivative techniques to earn a stock-market average return year after year. In principle this is close to doable, and is indeed a goal of many legitimate hedge fund managers. Small investors would get screwed by transaction costs, though, so don’t try this at home. It took fairly complex mathematical models to show that his exact claims were not feasible.

    Plus, many “customers” of scam artists came to them after a friend recommended it, having had years of successful returns and even withdrawals.

    Reply
  • Johnny G March 25, 2010, 8:45 AM

    Actually…its a good day…..BTW…investment opportunity party coming up at my place….

    Reply
  • lewin March 25, 2010, 6:41 AM

    There is some evidence to suggest that scam victims actually have more sophisticated than average investment knowledge. Scammers uses that to their advantage…

    http://www.dfi.wa.gov/consumers/news/2007/aarp_spokane.htm

    Reply
  • Money Beagle March 25, 2010, 5:58 AM

    These ponzi schemes are incredible and it is sad that so many people are willing to take the hard earned money of others for their own benefit. I could never imagine doing that and being able to live with myself. Maybe that’s what ended up happening with this fool.

    Reply

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