I just couldn’t help laughing to myself as I noticed the latest swindle advertised in a local paper. “Invest only $5,000 and collect $50,000 in only 10 years,” read the large full-page ad in big bold letters. At first I wondered as to how many fish would bite the worm hanging at the end of the hook? But when the ad kept being repeated week after week, I concluded that the bait must have been catching lots of big rich and gullible fish. These types of investment schemes come packaged in many different wrappers and in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they are advertised as “Chasana Plans” and other times as “Insurance Plans,” all “bank guaranteed” of course. Yet their end result is identical.
The fisherman has ten years to use your money in any way he wishes before disappearing into some remote cave in Afghanistan. The greed and need for some easy money seems to dull our senses to the point that we lose our ability to think rationally. Even smart people believe there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The recent Enron scandal, the largest bankruptcy in US history, should serve as a warning as to how far this corruption has gone. Even when companies see that their end is near, they continue to abuse the public’s trust and siphon off the money from their own employees.
Just recently, state securities regulators issued a warning that nationwide scams promoting low risk and high yield so-called “prime bank” investments are on a dramatic rise. More than $450 million has been scammed from at least 41,000 investors in the past three years. “People want to believe there are secret ways to make fabulous amounts of money,” said NASAA President Joseph Borg.
Foreign bank guarantees are simply nonsense and should be avoided. The promise of big money is a key tip-off that it is all a scam. One promoter shut down by federal authorities, Castlerock Investment Group, lured investors by promising that a $5,000 investment would produce $1 million in just 55 months. Always check if the seller and the investment are licensed in your state. You can call a securities regulator to find out. Any claim that doesn’t sound realistic is certainly a fraud! There is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, only disappointment, heartache and a large can of worms.
When a person once advertised that “for a fee of only $100,000 he would teach a dog to talk within ten years,” a friend asked him how he could make such a preposterous and ridiculous claim? “Why worry about it now,“ was his reply. “In ten years many things can happen. Either the dog will die, or its owner will die or perhaps by then I won’t be around to worry about it. In the meantime, at least I’m making a good living.”
When the city of Chelm was once in bad financial straights, someone decided that he would sell his neighbor a case of fish for $10. His friend in turn sold it to his neighbor for $20. And so the case of fish kept on being resold to all the people of the entire city with each person making a handsome ten-dollar profit on the deal. When the last person in town decided to open up the case of fish he was horrified to find that it gave off a terrible smell and it couldn’t be eaten. When he complained to Chelm’s Chief Justice that he had been sold a worthless case of fish, the Chief Justice replied, “Boruch Hashem all the people of Chelm were able to make a good profit, so if just one person loses, what’s the big deal?”