Monday, July 20, 2009

A minor $700 million Ponzi scheme

Last week, Mark S. Dreier was sentenced to 20 years in prison for running a $700 million Ponzi scheme. Since Bernie Madoff and Sir Allen Stanford have stolen the fraud spotlight in the news, we hardly take notice of these frauds amounting to less than several billions of dollars. It seems that our sense of awe has been permanently warped.

As for Mr. Dreier, he explained his pressure to commit the fraud came because those that he associated with were doing “better financially and seemingly enjoying more status,” and that he felt “crushed by a sense of underachievement.”

He continued: “I was desperate for some measure of the success that I felt had eluded me,” he wrote, adding: “I lost my perspective and my moral grounding, and really, in a sense, I just lost my mind.”

I guess this is a lesson to be careful about how those you associate with may be warping your sense of reality and your priorities. Maybe Mr. Dreier is a reflection of many Americans who got caught up in the real estate boom that has come crashing down of late.

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