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How To Steal Money

How To Steal A Lot Of Money
How To Steal A Lot Of Money

How To Steal A Lot of Money—Legally, offers a more engaging approach to financial literacy, teaching students how the most successful Wall Street scammers steal from investors—perfectly legally. There is value in studying stealing. You can learn as much from studying investment scamming as you can from traditional financial literacy programs because so much of what passes as financial advice is, in fact, a bogus money-grab. For investors, the choice is simple—either study bad behavior and be forewarned, or risk losing everything you own.

 

In a nation more deeply divided than ever about every conceivable issue, a broad consensus has surprisingly emerged that financial literacy is broadly lacking and the need for a financial education for every American is urgent. President Biden recently issued a proclamation deeming April 2021 as National Financial Capability Month. This communication emphasizes the benefits of financial capability, the value of financial literacy, and the importance of access to financial resources.

So why is financial literacy attracting such attention?

 

Americans today are more responsible for their personal finances than ever. Defined benefit pensions that once promised retirement security for America’s workers have all but disappeared, replaced by defined contribution plans that shift responsibility for retirement saving and investing from employers to employees. The great 401k experiment of the past 40 years, premised upon the highly questionable assumption that every employee is capable of competently selecting the best options from menus of over-priced mutual funds offered by their employers, has failed dismally to provide retirement security for most workers. Life expectancies are rising and social welfare programs, including Social Security, are being strained.

At the same time, there has been unprecedented innovation in the financial markets, with developments in technology and new, complex financial products which are costlier, riskier and less transparent than ever. From student loans to mortgages, cryptocurrencies, credit cards, mutual funds, annuities, hedge and private equity funds, and fund of funds, the range of financial products people have to choose from is enormous. For individuals lacking the skills to navigate the maze of financial decisions they face every day, the consequences can be brutal.

After 35 years spent forensically investigating Wall Street looting over $1 trillion from investors, in 2012, I began a series of controversial articles for Forbes.com entitled, How to Steal A Lot of Money which openly acknowledged the obvious—that intelligent financial criminals often do very well indeed.

I recommended investors learn from the scammers.

To combat Wall Street thievery, this leading forensic expert offered to teach readers how to steal legally—just like Wall Street.

“I can teach you to lie, cheat and steal a lot of money—billions. I am confident—with my help—you can do this,” I wrote.

In my first article I conceded, “It’s been said that crime does not pay and that cheaters never prosper. Neither of these statements is true and you should not be dissuaded from a life of theft by such homilies. History is replete with examples of people who have done very well for themselves by stealing from others. Furthermore, since financial crimes involving the greatest sums of money are rarely reported, crime pays far better than historical accounts would suggest.”

The next two installments in the series appeared in Forbes and were read by hundreds of thousands. Over the next 8 years, a full-length book emerged.

How to Steal A Lot of Money—Legally is a practical guide to investment scamming— a Gonzo approach to teaching financial literacy or financial literacy on steroids. The book is based upon true events and decades of forensic insights.

I believe that through learning the art of investment scamming at the highest levels—involving the world’s most respected and trusted (and therefore most dangerous) financial institutions—readers will be better equipped to defend themselves and their families in the life and death struggle that plays out every day between investors and Wall Street.

A complete education should include learning the bad and the ugly—not merely the glorious and meritorious. The student should be taught what is, not merely what should be—the way things really work in the real world, not how they are supposed to work in a perfect world.

Lying, cheating and stealing are so commonplace in life generally, and in the world of investing especially, that they are not the exceptions. Scamming mercilessly overwhelms any so-called rules and devours those who play by them. So, learning “rules” without learning the even greater larcenous “exceptions” makes no sense—it’s reckless. Schools and professors who teach the “rules” alone are negligent and put students, at a minimum, at a competitive disadvantage, or, worse still, in harm’s way.

An education which ignores, or excludes, the study of pervasive repugnancies only ensures certain unscrupulous insiders will to continue to be able to blithely manipulate and mislead the clueless masses, depriving investors of their hard-earned savings and undermining confidence.

For the student of investing, the choice is simple, I conclude: either study bad behavior and be forewarned or risk losing everything you own.

Ted Siedle: I have been called “the Sam Spade of Money Management,” “the Financial Watchdog” and “the Pension Detective.” Born Edward Ahmed Hamilton Siedle, I grew up in Trinidad, Venezuela, Panama, Peru, England, Uganda, Egypt and the U.S. I am a former SEC attorney, former Legal Counsel and Director of Compliance to Putnam Investments. For over 20 years, I owned securities trading and investment banking firms. My firm, Benchmark Financial Services, Inc. has pioneered over $1 trillion in forensic investigations of the money management industry. I am a nationally recognized expert on pensions and investment management matters, having testified before the Senate Banking Committee and as an expert in various Madoff and other litigations. I am an active member of the Florida Bar. In 2017, I secured the largest SEC whistleblower award in history ($48 million) and in 2018, the largest CFTC award in history ($30 million).

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