How you pay for the greed of others

Some years ago I wrote about the true life of slippery Syd Gottfried, who was a master con man. I tried not to glamorise Syd’s escapades in my book; there is nothing glamorous about cheating people. I did find the process interesting and revealing, and from time to time entertaining as well.

I did learn, from talking to Syd extensively two things. First, there is a fine but very blurred line between what is legitimate in business and what is illegal. Secondly, it is not so much the trusting people who are liable to be conned, but the greedy people. The chief device of all con men is to prey on greed, which exists in many people as the force that drives them and in likewise in many companies. It therefore comes as no surprise that some of the world’s largest banks and hedge funds have been apparently conned out of $50 million. Continue reading