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You know it’s a bad day when…

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 very careful who you invest with. A Financial Guru and a Financial Faker (sic) are not easily discernable.

You wake up, and your financial Guru is dead. Yet another alleged Ponzi scheme arises. 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 was shocking. The motions at E.M.B. Asset Group Inc. and Robert Mander are on the appointed receiver’s website.

Another group of investors was swayed to part with their hard-earned cash (I assume) with promises of incredible payback in the long run. 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). Does Hindsight suggest they should have had these concerns before turning over their money to the latest financial Guru?

The specific claim from SA Capital Growth was a principal investment of over $12,176,000, which has “…accrued substantial interest…”. I am curious to find out in whose opinion has earned this interest. If Mr. Mander had published a statement of how much the investment had 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)? I 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 a decision for 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 asking for your money back.

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

The other exciting part is that the initial investors seem to have recruited friends and family to add money to the scheme. This is worrisome too. I wouldn’t say I like giving investment advice to family or friends. This is mainly because my friends and family know a lot more than I do in the first place. 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 flimflammed into this alleged scheme. I thank my lucky stars that I have not been conned (so far)(that I know of). The sociopath that can run this alleged scam is not easy to spot. They will have persuasive skills that can trick even the best of us, so always beware and be on your guard. A follow-on is also to 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 trying to recruit me into Amway to sell soap. Those friends quickly went onto the GFY list. No, I won’t explain that one online. I stayed away from their parties after that.

Feel Free to Comment

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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