My cousin Crazy Eddie Antar taught me that “people live on hope.” As white collar criminals, we preyed on your hopes and dreams by feeding you our spin and lies.
Investors demand confident leadership and strong financial performance from company managements. They want to hear management exuding confidence about their company’s future business prospects. Eddie and I built an image of strong and confident leadership by promising investors a prosperous future backed up by our phony financial reports.
As criminals, we considered the humanity of investors as a weakness to be exploited in the cold-blooded execution of our crimes. We measured our effectiveness by the comfort level of our victims.
My cousin Eddie and I built walls of false integrity around us to gain the trust of our victims. We claimed that Crazy Eddie's accounting policies were "conservative." In addition, we gave huge sums of money to charity and were involved in many popular social causes in an effort to make investors comfortable with us. While we were in effect, “helping old ladies cross the street,” we were heartlessly executing a massive fraud that wiped out the life savings of thousands of investors and ultimately caused a few thousand people to lose their jobs.
Eddie Antar and I never had a single conversation about morality or right and wrong. We simply did not care about the victims of our crimes. Our conversations only focused on the successful execution of our cold-blooded schemes to defraud investors.
At Crazy Eddie, we committed our crimes simply because we thought we could execute them successfully. We took advantage of investor's hopes, dreams, and aspirations for a better future. More importantly, we fully exploited investor's lack of skepticism that resulted from the wall of false integrity we built around ourselves.
Hope is a fine human quality that motivates us to build a better future. Unfortunately, criminals consider your hope as an exploitable weakness to aid them in the successful execution of their crimes.
Do not get mesmerized by neatly packaged story lines and well researched sound bites written by professional high paid media consultants. Criminals know how to “talk the talk and walk the walk” as they inspire you with false promises of a prosperous future.
In the New Year, please do not let criminals exploit your hopes and dreams. In addition, you are cautioned to apply the same advice to our elected officials from all sides of the political spectrum who exploit your hopes with inspiring rhetoric to sell you flawed solutions to major problems facing our nation.
Have a skeptical New Year.
Sam E. Antar (former Crazy Eddie CFO and a convicted felon)
Other blog posts of interest