"Charity is commendable, everyone should be charitable. But Justice aims to create a social order in which, if individuals choose not to be charitable, people still don't go hungry, unschooled or sick without care. Charity depends on the vicissitudes of whim and personal wealth, justice depends on commitment instead of circumstance.
Faith-based charity provides crumbs from the table; faith-based justice offers a place at the table"
~Bill Moyers

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Crimes of Poverty: Lesson, "Never steal anything small"

SOURCE: Justin de Castro

"Homeless man gets 15 years for stealing $100"

This news item reminded me of the 1959 James Cagney movie titled "Never Steal Anything Small", the movie itself was not noteworthy acording to the review by A. H. WEILER Published: February 12, 1959
WORKING on the somewhat startling premise that union politics simultaneously can be rough, funny, chivalrous, profitable, romantic and tuneful, scenarist-director Charles Lederer and a company of energetic players headed by James Cagney have not made anything especially big out of "Never Steal Anything Small." For the comedy with music that was unveiled at the Capitol yesterday is merely an amiable antic that is only partly successful on any of these counts.

The reason I bring it up is in relation to the Ponzi scheme perpetrated by Bernard Lawrence "Bernie" Madoff who allegedly defrauded investors of $50 BILLION dollars in a Ponzi scheme (Pyramid) and how this case was handled.

From Wikipedia

Madoff was arrested by the FBI on December 11, 2008 on criminal charges of securities fraud, turned in by his sons after he allegedly told them that his business was "a giant Ponzi scheme."[91][92]
According to the SEC, Madoff confessed to an FBI agent that there was “no innocent explanation” for his behavior,[93] and that he "paid investors with money that wasn't there."[53]
The New York Times has reported that Madoff's lawyer, Ira Sorkin, has confirmed in a court filing that Madoff confessed.[8]

The criminal complaint alleges that investors lost $50 billion through the scheme,[93] though The Wall StreetJournal reports "that figure includes the alleged false profits that Mr. Madoff's firm reported to its customers for decades. It's unclear exactly how much investors deposited into the firm."[94]
He was charged with a single count of securities fraud. He faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $5 million if convicted.[91] His attorney, IraSorkin, stated that Madoff "will fight to get through this unfortunate set of events."

The case is U.S. v. Madoff, 08-MAG-02735, U.S.District Court for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan) with presiding Judge Ronald L. Ellis.[38]
Apart from 'Bernard L. Madoff' and 'Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC ("BMIS")', the order to freeze all activities[95] also forbids acting and trading from the companies Madoff Securities
International Ltd. ("Madoff International") and Madoff Ltd.

Madoff was released on the same day of his arrest after posting $10 million bail.[91]
Madoff and his wife have surrendered their passports, and he at first was subject to travel restrictions, a 7 p.m. curfew at his co-op, and electronic monitoring as a condition of bail. Although Madoff only had two co-signers for his $10 million bail, his wife and his brother Peter, rather than
the four required, a judge allowed him free on bail but ordered him confined to his penthouse.[96]
Madoff wears an electronic ankle bracelet to ensure compliance.[96]
Madoff has reportedly received death threats that have been referred to the FBI, and the SEC referred to fears of "harm or flight" in its request for Madoff to be confined to his Upper East Side apartment.[96][97]
Cameras will monitor the apartment's doors, its communication devices will send signals to the FBI, and his wife will be required to pay for additional security.[97]

Prosecutors asked on January 5, 2009, that his bail be revoked, after Madoff and his wife allegedly violated a court-ordered asset freeze by mailing jewelry worth up to $1 million to relatives, including their sons and Madoff's brother.
It was also noted that $173 million in signed checks had been found in Madoff's office desk after he had been arrested.[98][99]
His sons reported the mailings to prosecutors. Previously, Madoff was thought to be cooperating with prosecutors.[99]
The following week, the Judge Ellis refused the government's request to jail Madoff, but required as a condition of bail that Madoff make an inventory of personal items and that his mail be searched.[100]

What a stark contrast with the crime that Roy Brown committed.
A homeless man robbed a Louisiana bank and took a $100 bill. After feeling remorseful, he surrendered to police the next day. The judge sentenced him to 15 years in prison.
In comparison, Bernie Madoff faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $5 million if convicted and according to his lawyer, Madoff "will fight to get through this unfortunate set of events."

Read, compare and weep at the sight of 'equality for all' crapola.
Roy Brown, 54, robbed the Capital One bank in Shreveport, Louisiana in December 2007. He approached the teller with one of his hands under his jacket and told her that it was a robbery.

The teller handed Brown three stacks of bill but he only took a single $100 bill and returned the remaining money back to her. He said that he was homeless and hungry and left the bank.

The next day he surrendered to the police voluntarily and told them that his mother didn’t raise him that way.

Brown told the police he needed the money to stay at the detox center and had no other place to stay and was hungry.

In Caddo District Court, he pleaded guilty. The judge sentenced him to 15 years in prison for first degree robbery.
"honesty is the Best Policy?", "Character counts?" - Not according to the comparisons I made on these two cases.

Lady Justice is blind? Ironically it is so true and yet it is so false, but the lessons that can be drawn are: 1. Never Steal Anything Small, 2. Do not, repeat, do not be born as a person of color and 3. Do not be poor and hungry.

Aurora Grajeda
SFCA 012909

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