Tag Archives: fraud

Sexual Assault by Fraud

Informed Consent' and Why it Doesn't Work

Image courtesy of PetaPixel.

New Jersey nurse, Mischele Lewis, fell in love with the wrong man [1][2].  It was a mistake that would propel her into a world of deceit.

Lewis, a divorced mother of two, believed she had found true love.  The object of her affection, William Allen Jordan a/k/a Liam Allen, described himself as an undercover operative for the British Ministry of Defense.

Jordan turned out to be a con man and convicted sex offender, with ex-wives on two continents, and a half dozen children.  After wearing a wire, Lewis managed to secure a conviction of Jordan for scamming her out of funds. Continue reading

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Filed under Child Molestation, Christianity, domestic abuse, Justice, Law, Rape, Religion, Sexual Abuse, Sexual Assault

NXIVM and Other Cults

DOS brand as per Government Exhibit GX-352 in US v. Raniere, Source https://www.courthousenews.com/former-slave-master-describes-sex-cult-branding-ritual/, Author US Attorney’s Office, EDNY (PD as work product of federal govt.)

And Jesus answered and said to them:  ‘Take heed that no one deceives you.  For many will come in My name, saying, “I am the Christ,” and will deceive many’ ” (Matt. 24: 4-5).

NXIVM is old news.  Keith Raniere has joined the ranks of such infamous cult leaders as Marshall Applewhite, Jim Jones, Warren Jeffs, and David Koresh [1].

But the NXIVM phenomenon has lessons for us.  Here are a few:

1.  A charismatic leader may not be what he claims. 

All that glitters is not gold.

Though venerated as a virtual god, Keith Raniere was originally an Amway distributor [2A].  The self-proclaimed guru and life coach called himself the “smartest man in the world” when, in fact, he had difficulty completing college.

2.  The endorsement of celebrities is no guarantee of an organization’s trustworthiness.

NXIVM was supported by Seagrams heiresses, Clare and Sara Bronfman, to the tune of some $85 million [2B].

Among the celebrities who once endorsed NXIVM were actresses Allison Mack, India Oxenberg, and Sarah Edmondson [3].  Keith Raniere even appeared with the Dalai Lama.

3.  Hierarchy and ritual are no guarantees of an organization’s spirituality.

NXIVM had both.

4.  Finances often reveal the true nature of an organization.

Actions speak louder than words.  Lofty sounding goals are not enough.

Keith Raniere promised his followers they would change the world [2C].  Instead, Raniere’s actions confirmed his desire for sex, money, and power.

Legally, NXIVM was comprised of dozens of shell corporations, their finances dubious [2D].  Functionally, NXIVM was little more than a pyramid scheme, designed to bilk Raniere’s followers of their savings [2E].

A seemingly endless series of classes were heavily promoted. All promised self-knowledge and self-improvement, albeit at a cost.  Meanwhile, members often went unpaid for their labor.

Raniere’s earlier venture, Consumer Buyline (a multi-level marketing company) was shut down in 1993 after being investigated for fraud by 20 states.

5.  Excessive control is a major red flag.

There is a fine line between indoctrination and brainwashing; that line must not be crossed.

New members were introduced to NXIVM’s philosophy of “rational inquiry” at intensive, 14 hour-per-day seminars lasting more than 2 weeks.

Loyalty to NXIVM was emphasized over loyalty to family.  The dress, diet, and life decisions of members were all closely regulated by NXIVM.  Even the weight of members was monitored.

Other tactics employed at NXIVM included sleeplessness, isolation, starvation, corporal punishment, and coercion via blackmail.  Cult leaders Jim Jones and Charles Manson, also, used “love bombing” – excessive displays of attention and affection intended to overwhelm [5]. Continue reading

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Filed under Abuse of Power, Christianity, Justice, Law, Religion, sex trafficking, Slavery

Child Identity Theft

Anthem Breach Notification (security breach reportedly exposing the data of tens of millions of children), Author Tony Webster of San Francisco, CA (CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

We do not give it much thought, but child identity theft is a growing threat.

According to the FTC, 4%-6% of the identity theft complaints received from 2014 to 2016 involved minors [1A].  At least 1 million children were victimized last year [2].

Personal Data

Child identity theft occurs when personal data like a child’s date of birth or Social Security number is stolen for the purpose of fraud.

A Shadow Identity

A child’s credit history is unmarred, and likely to go unchecked for years.  Because of that, child identity theft may go undetected for an extended period.

During that time, thieves can use the child’s identity just as they would an adult’s.  They can obtain driver’s licenses, sign leases, establish utility service, open bank accounts, qualify for credit cards, and purchase vehicles or property – meanwhile racking up debt in the child’s name.

Having developed this “shadow identity”, criminals can then sell and resell the child’s identity.  At that point, the process starts all over again. Continue reading

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Filed under Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse

The Mormon Maddoff – Fraud and Financial Abuse

Mugshot of Bernie Madoff, Author US Dept. of Justice, Source http://money.cnn.om (PD as work product of federal govt.)

Shawn Merriman headed an investment firm, and served as a lay bishop of the Mormon Church.  Over a period of 15 years, he scammed $21 million from friends, family, and church members – gaining a dubious title as “The Mormon Madoff” [1][2].

Affinity Fraud

Using a Ponzi scheme, Merriman duped a total of 68 investors.  Exploiting his position as a bishop, Merriman gained the trust of fellow Mormons.  Church members who had invested, then encouraged others to invest.

Like Madoff, Merriman touted his investments as both “exclusive” and secure.   Rather than investing the money he was given, however, Merriman used it to support a lavish lifestyle.

Continue reading

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Filed under Abuse of Power, Christianity, domestic abuse, Religion

Candy from a Baby

National School Lunch Program, Author USDA (PD - Federal agency)

National School Lunch Program, Author USDA (PD – Federal agency)

‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me’ ” (Matt. 25: 45).

The fraud making headlines these days can run into the billions.  Ten million dollars may not seem an extraordinary amount, by those standards.  Still, it is substantial enough…especially when you realize that the stolen money was meant to feed hungry children.

A dozen people have been arrested in Arkansas for a scheme that drained funds from a federal program to fight hunger.  The program provides dinners, during the school year, and meals at community centers, during the summer months, to underprivileged children who would not otherwise have enough to eat.

The evidence suggests that employees of the Arkansas Dept. of Health Services responsible for administering the program approved wildly inflated claims, some by non-existent entities, in exchange for bribes.

The defendants have been charged with bribery, wire fraud, and money laundering.  Nine have pleaded guilty.  Statutory penalties will apply.  How much restitution may actually be possible has not yet been determined.

Arkansas has one of the highest rates of child hunger in the United States.  More than 275,000 children in the state qualify for free or reduced lunch.  The ten million dollars could have purchased 2.7-3.2 million meals.

An awful lot of milk and cookies never reached the table.  But stealing that food from the children who needed it was as easy as taking candy from a baby.

[1]  The Washington Post, “ ‘Mortified’:  Inside a $10M scheme to steal federal funds intended to feed hungry children” by Amy Want, 9/8/16,  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2016/09/08/inside-a-10m-scheme-to-steal-federal-funds-intended-to-feed-hungry-children/.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com

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Filed under Abuse of Power, Child Abuse, Christianity, Community, Justice, Law, Neglect, Poverty, Religion

Conned

A New Jersey nurse conned by the man she had hoped to marry has turned her attention to changing the state rape law [1]. Mischele Lewis wants scammers such as the one who victimized her treated as sex offenders.

Lewis met William Allen Jordan through an online dating service. He gave her a false name, false employment history, and false marital history. Only after the two had become engaged, and Mischele was pregnant, did she discover Jordan’s true identity and background.

As it turned out, William Allen Jordan had a bevy of ex-wives and fiancees, along with 13 children by 6 different women. One of Jordan’s British victims had gone so far as to write a book about him. Worse yet, Jordan had been convicted of child molestation, and had served time in prison for bigamy and fraud before becoming involved with Mischele.

On her own initiative, Mischele Lewis devised a sting operation that resulted in Jordan’s arrest. She compiled bank statements, emails, and photos; and secretly recorded conversations with Jordan. He subsequently pleaded guilty, and is facing a three year sentence.

Lewis does not believe this is adequate.

Since her consent to the relationship with Jordan was obtained under false pretenses, Mischele Lewis argues that Jordan’s scam amounted to sexual assault by deception. The New Jersey courts do not currently approve this theory of liability, which is why Lewis has been lobbying the legislature for a change in the law. Assemblyman Troy Singleton has now drafted the necessary bill.

Opponents of the proposed change contend that the new law could be so broadly interpreted as to turn common seduction ploys into potential felonies. It may be reprehensible for traveling salesmen to pretend they are single (when that is not the case) or for suitors to portray themselves as wealthier than their bank accounts might reflect. The question is: Should this behavior be criminalized?

Mischele Lewis maintains that women deserve protection against con men who take sexual advantage of them, as well as financial.

Something to watch.

[1] NBC News, “ ‘I Wanted Justice’: Con Victim Turns Focus to Changing Rape Law” by Jon Schuppe, 1/24/15, http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/i-wanted-justice-con-victim-turns-focus-changing-rape-law-n291661.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com

 

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Filed under Child Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Justice, Law, Violence Against Women