Apparently, there is not just honor among thieves, there’s also pride. When you’re in the multi-billion dollar fraud business, there is a pecking order of relative immorality.
When your business plan is to solicit money under false pretenses — by lying about how you invest the money, and then lying about the returns you actually generated, all the better to solicit more money, which you can then invest differently from how you represented you would, etc. — and when you lose enough money on your investments to cause your investors billions of dollars in losses, you’re still a far better class of criminal than a Ponzi scheme fraudster.
Hence, Sir Allen Stanford‘s heartfelt:
I would die and go to hell if it’s a Ponzi scheme.
(Maybe that “Sir” shouldn’t really be capitalized? After all, it’s a cheap, knock-off knighthood from Antigua and Barbuda, rather than the Queen of England, who is the font of all true and genuine knighthoods, which come with genuine certificates of authenticity. Stanford’s knighthood is just a replica, the kind you might buy on a New York City pavement from someone who flashes it at you from under his coat.
How about this, then: “Allen Stanford, sir”, which also has the advantage of yielding a easy-to-remember acronym?)
But returning to ASS’s comment, if you don’t run a Ponzi scheme, you don’t die? Or is there just a special heaven reserved for those who defraud their investors of billions without running a Ponzi scheme?
ASS also seems to derive great spiritual comfort from the fact that, even if his investors lost billions, there was billions more they did not lose.
If it was a Ponzi scheme, why are they finding billions and billions of dollars all over the place?
Explain to us again, if you will, O Innocently Accused Baron of Industry: why are they having to look all over the place?
(Also: if all the money had disappeared into a hole, what would that hole be called?)
After he is indicted, and tried, and imprisoned, and finally released, ASS would do well to try his hand at stand-up comedy (or maybe even while he is in prison, between episodes of bend-over tragedy?). On current evidence, he has what it takes. For example, this has to be the funniest ever complaint about how being accused of massive financial fraud messes up your life and happiness:
Stanford was near tears throughout the interview, and at times cried as he described how the SEC action had deprived him of being listed as the 405th wealthiest person in the world by Forbes magazine.
(Does Forbes not rank accused criminals? Or did the charges give rise to the suspicion that a significant portion of his presumed wealth is now non-existent, thereby adding insult to injury by dropping him out the rankings? This headline might provide a clue: Stanford out, Mexican drug lord in.)
It’s a rare talent, that—to find humor in the grimmest of tragedies. On top of that, there’s a rich lode of deadpan irony that he should be able to mine very profitably:
I always lived very frugally. I flew around on a private jet. I had a boat. But I always lived very frugally.
Another word whose meaning bites the dust: frugal.
And here’s the last word on the indignities heaped upon the ASS formerly known as Sir Allen Stanford. When the government throws the book at you for suspected multi-billion dollar fraud, they not only take your good name, and your financial assets, they also take your ruddy clothes:
Stanford said the government action to seize his assets had left him with little money and few changes of clothing.
So, somewhere there’s an FBI circular which specifies how many changes of clothing accused perpetrators are allowed to retain? If only someone had written a how-to manual for multi-billion dollar fraudsters, ASS would have known to stash away some clothes in a Swiss safe deposit locker.