POLL: Are The Robbers Smarter Than The Cops? (Sidenote: Are You Ready For A Ponzi Prime-Time Drama On Cable?)

Our new poll asks a simple question: “Is The Average Autosurf/HYIP Promoter Smarter Than The Average FBI Agent, Secret Service Agent, Postal Inspector, IRS Investigator Or SEC/CFTC Investigator?”

You may vote only once. There is an option of “Other” in this poll if you don’t want to limit yourself to a “Yes” or “No” answer.

This poll was sparked by comments we’ve read on the Ponzi boards in recent days. It often seems as though the autosurf and HYIP promoters ignore the possibility that they could get dragged into a major investigation quickly, perhaps assuming that the mere fact they do not own or operate the “program” lets them off the hook from civil and/or criminal liability.

Serial promoters race from program to program in the “industry,” pocketing commissions and other profits despite the fact one program after another crashes and burns, participants get hurt, families get torn apart, friends turn against friends — and the government has a history of destroying the programs and forcing particpants to pay back ill-gotten gains.

The days of plausible deniability might be coming to an end for promoters of electronic Ponzis. If you’ve paid any attention at all to the AdSurfDaily case, it is obvious that the government has gleaned valuable intelligence. The men and women who guard the President of the United States and the Treasury started the prosecutorial ball rolling in the ASD case.

In the ASD case, prosecutors have cited previous autosurf prosecutions by the SEC — namely 12DailyPro and PhoenixSurf. With the bad publicity Ponzi schemes are receiving these days — and with Ponzi headlines constantly in the news and the creation of the Interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force — the days of “wink-nod” in the autosurf and HYIP Ponzi universes may be coming to an end.

Did you know that “Damages,” the popular TV drama starring Emmy-winning actress Glenn Close (as Patty Hewes), is wrapping its third season around a fictional Ponzi scheme? It’s a takeoff on the Madoff scheme, and here, in part, is what the New York Times says:

The “Madoff scenario is a more plausible and inviting crime than the sinister energy-corporation conspiracy that Patty eventually took down last season,” the Times opines. “That story line presumed that corporate titans were not just greedy and murderous but also brainy, and that’s a bit much to swallow in the current economy.”

Did the Times just call the fraudsters brainless? You decide.

Here, now, our poll. It also will be in the sidebar to the right:

Feel free to argue your points in the Comments section of this post. Meanwhile, go here to read what the Times says about “Damages.”

Cable viewers are going to get plenty of Ponzi in the weeks ahead — not only on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News — but also on “Damages,” Monday night at 10 ET and PT, 9 CT, on FX.

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2 Responses to “POLL: Are The Robbers Smarter Than The Cops? (Sidenote: Are You Ready For A Ponzi Prime-Time Drama On Cable?)”

  1. Patrick:

    Had you conducted this poll over a year and a half ago, I would have answered differently. I think in the past 18 months, things have changed dramatically for the better for the investigators. Law Enforcement agencies have woken up to the cesspool of offline word of mouth and Internet crime/fraud/scams/Ponzi’s. It is truly amazing to see how far they have come in the last 18 months once they recognized the problem.

    They can’t get them all at once as there are too many of them, but they are making a dent in very high profile cases, which will trickle down to the little players over time.

  2. A definite No. Recent prosecutions and sentences clearly demonstrate that Government and Law enforcement world wide, and particularly in the US, have woken up to the realities of online “white collar” fraud and are no longer sitting by helplessly, but are taking action to stop this insiduous criminal conduct.

    But why such a definite No? Because no Investigator is risking jail time by doing his job, whilst, these day, everyone who is founding or promoting a ponzi is running a hugh risk of punishment and maybe the loss of their liberty.