Saturday, August 8, 2009, three men were arrested for illegally shooting ducks in rural Saskatchewan. A few days earlier south of the border in good old state of Ohio, a twenty-year old woman was arrested for killing rabbits at the pet store where she worked. Neither of these people were arrested because they were spotted unsuspectingly by witnesses. They were caught because they bragged about their illegal cruelties over the internet, which would in turn make a great episode of World’s Dumbest Criminals. The sad truth is that this illustrates that criminals—including the white collar ones—show little remorse over what they do. Furthermore, this also illustrate that although our governments invest millions into Provincial, State, and local police forces, they cannot stop every criminal without public support.
Liz Carlisle, aka. The Bunny Drowner, of Ravenna, Ohio, boasted to her friends that she drowned the rabbits because they injured each other while fighting. Despite the fact that her employer prohibits employees from euthanizing animals, she not only drowned the animals but also posted their pictures on Facebook. Of course, her father says that she is a well-behaved girl who is working to pay her way through college. However it was not enough to prevent her from being charged with two-counts of animal cruelty by the Greater Akron Humane Society.
North of the border in rural Saskatchewan, three hunters were arrested for illegally shooting ducks with their rifles—sometimes from a car window. Despite the fact that the three men broke several firearm and hunting laws, they were bold enough to brag about their exploits on YouTube. Fortunately, their celebrations were short-lived when viewers complained and the RCMP was able to use the video to track down the exact locations where they had committed their crimes.
Who could forget about the infamous Bernie Madoff. But hold on, Quebec—La Belle Province—also deserves its share in the limelight. A few weeks ago, Earl Jones (and yes, there is no James)—was also arrested for pulling a Bernie Madoff, better known as a Ponzi scheme. Both men conned their way to success off of the hard-earned money of their clients. I cannot comment much about the Madoff case because I am not familiar with New York State laws except the ones that involve speeding, rape, fraud, murder, and being caught with Elliot Spitzer with his pants down. In the case of Earl Jones, his investors could have exercised more common sense. From my knowledge of the private health insurance sector—a field that I have worked in for the past eight years—anyone that is working in the financial sector—whether it is insurance, financial advisement, or broker—must have a license. In Canada, each province has its own regulator to control the activities of these professionals in order to protect consumers. Jones did not have a license. And although his clients were educated people from some of the most affluent neighborhoods in Montreal, it never occurred to any of them that they should have checked up on his credentials before handing their money over to him.
Some reports have indicated that many lost their life savings, while others indicated that widows in lavish elderly care facilities were kicked to the curb with nothing more than their walkers. Although Jones did not brag about his scheme, life caught up with him when he ran out of money. Then again, so did all of his clients who will most likely never see their fortunes again. Does he have remorse? One could assume that he does— about being caught.
Victims of fraud can always blame the government for not doing enough to prevent the Madoff’s and the Jones’ from ripping them off. Although little could have been done to prevent the animal cruelty cases that took place in Saskatchewan and Ohio, it was civilian action that stopped the animal abusers. The police merely enforced the laws to help bring the perpetrators to justice. Laws against fraud, animal cruelty, and other crimes have existed for decades. But it no way means that criminals will attempt to break them. And it will always take the vigilance of honest civilians as well as the police to stop all of them. In the case of Jones’ clients, their losses were merely a result in their lack of vigilance. Unfortunately, the only people they can blame are themselves.
Russell Brooks is the author of the debut action/thriller, Pandora's Succession. Check it out to subscribe and listen to exerpts for free at www.Pandorabook1.com