An IRS officer analyses a variety of white-collar crimes in areas like investment, health, education and even religion by examining regulatory and enforcement issues and suggests measures to curb them in his new book. In “You Just Got Cheated: Understanding White Collar Crimes”, commissioner of Income Tax Sibichen K Mathew seeks to provide insights on the nature of these crimes, the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of such frauds with anecdotes and examples.
There are disasters, maladies, and miseries happening in this world, some of which are beyond human control while others are due to human control, he says, adding white-collar crimes belong to the second category as these are results of deliberate actions by the powerful.
The book, published by SAGE India, focuses on the subject from the perspective of victims. When corporate criminals and greedy public servants join hands to indulge in various types of crimes, the regulatory enforcement becomes lax, farce and ineffective, Mathew says.
In the end, the victims – the public who were adversely impacted, the shareholders who lost their investments, the consumers who got a raw deal, the employees who lost their jobs and the financiers who lost what they lent – suffer without any recourse, he adds.
On religious crimes, the author says people always tend to take a cue or draw inspiration from the actions and views of those who are of their own kind (kindred spirits or peers) and such propensity plays a vital role in shaping their preferences even before forming a view or taking a decision on a choice before them.
The presence and influence of religious leaders, fellow worshippers or prayer group members can make people attracted towards specific projects without analysing the proposals rationally, he says, adding this was exploited by fraudsters like Ephren Taylor II in the US in 2009 and 2010.
“He, through the indirect patronage of church leaders, victimised hundreds of church members by defrauding about USD 1.6 million from them. Touting himself as a prudent investment manager, he conducted wealth management seminars in parishes across the country,” Mathew writes.
He quoted extensively from scriptures and urged people to invest in the socially conscious projects he is managing. He swindled USD 11 million through the Ponzi scheme by defrauding thousands of people of their retirement savings, the author says.
Hearing about such happenings, one can easily conclude that businesses and frauds raising the banner of faith and taking the name of God can be more successful, he argues.
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