I've made the point before, but it's a point
worth making again - when you hear someone say, "You
cannot con an honest man," you are talking
to a buffoon whose ignorance serves to add unwarranted insults
to insufferable injuries. As any investigator of "white
collar crime" will attest, fraudsters, swindlers, con
artists, grifters, gypsies, tramps and thieves perpetrate
scams upon innocent, honest, victims every day.
Consider, for example, the favorite target
of modern day cons - the farmer from America's midwest. These
people spend a lifetime isolated from most of the world; their
interpersonal interactions are largely limited to church,
school and community functions, where everyone knows everybody
else and everybody else's business.
It's a curious dichotomy - while farmers
tend to be remarkably independent, they live in an an environment
that they do not control. Like the rest of us, they buy their
stock, feed, seed and groceries at prices set by others; when
they go to the feed store, they pay what things cost, or they
do without. I don't suggest that they are preyed upon by local
merchants, that isn't generally the case. They expect to pay
a fair price for quality products and usually do, frequently
trading with people whose grandparents provided the same goods
and services to theirs.
Like many of us, their financial situation
varies from time to time. Once in a while, they make it big
- the bumper crop to end all crops or prolific breeding stock
having done what they do best, but unlike the rest of us,
they market the fruit of their labors at prices set by others,
the "supply v demand" irony being that
having more to market, often means less to take home at the
end of the day.
Can you imagine working twice as hard and
having your Client cut your hourly rate in half come pay-day?
Unfortunately, it isn't even that easy - farmers don't get
pay checks; they have no bi-weekly influx of cash to rely
To survive on a farm, you learn responsibility
early on - or you don't survive. Farmers generally get up
before sunrise and work a full day, everyday. They work with
Mother Nature, or against her, competing with her pests and
fearful of her fickle ways. No rain, too much rain, or just
enough rain - but at the wrong time, a farmer's got to have
a sense of humor.
Independent people, they rely upon themselves
and each other. In a community where everyone knows everything
that goes on with everyone else, the liars and the lazy are
despised; those who would cheat, steal, betray trusts, or
take unfair advantage are shunned to the point of virtual
extinction. It's not that everyone is honest and forthright
in a farm community; it's just that there are limits and lines
that folks don't cross. The used car salesman who rolls back
speedometers, and packs saw dust in transmissions, cannot
expect to stay in business there.
Exposing these people to social predators
is like giving smallpox infected blankets to the Indians.
They simply do not have the natural defenses to protect themselves
from the likes of; Robert LaSpada, Al Wagner, Dave Graves,
Robert Evans or Bernard von NotHaus and his NORFED nonsense.
I am involved in several cases related to the
above referenced purveyors of "investment opportunities,"
and their cases may provide some insight that will help you
to understand how these things work. In the event that you
encounter a Client who has been scammed by one of these characters,
please let me know. I would like to add the facts and circumstances
of their victimization to the reports that will be tendered
to the appropriate enforcement authorities.
This is a work in progress; once I get the underlying
information posted, the links will be "live." In
the meantime, please do not hesitate to call should you have
a Client who has a related complaint.
Of the lot, CPA Al Wagner may be the most interesting. He
travels the Country preaching some sort of accounting voodoo
that encourages people to walk away from their debts. He claims
that since accountants offset loans extended against promissory
notes received, those notes have value -- ergo the obligation
was satisfied by merely signing the note! Yes, you heard that
right - CPA Wagner's innovative approach to financial freedom
rests upon the premis that since accountants treat a Promissory
Note as an asset on company books to offset outstanding
loans, there is no reason to actually make the payments!
"Earth to Wagner . . ."
Like so many con artists, Al Wagner is fond of quoting scripture,
and I suppose part of him must mean well as he was kind of
enough to provide me with Robert Evan's IMF (his confidential
IRS tax related master file) and a complete set of Bernard
Von NotHaus' financial records. Since these guys were Clients
of his, some might regard that as a betrayal of trust, but
it's like Momma said, "There's no honor among
Trusting Al Wagner can be dangerous and disappointing.
One of the things that I find most disturbing, is the "family"
nature of so many of these scams. Like gypsies, many of these
con artists involve their children in their criminal enterprises.
Like trade secrets and craftsmanship, they pass their scams
from father to son. I have been doing this a long time, but
I cannot quite grasp the concept of stealing with your children,
and promoting the twisted belief that crime pays.
questions and suggestions.
It is my sincerest intention to correct that.