Obituaries, and the Legacy of Financial Fraud

Obituaries, and the Legacy of Financial Fraud

 There are many things that undoubtedly go through a person’s mind when he or she decides to commit financial fraud. “I need the money.” “The victims deserve it.” “I’ll pay it back before it’s missed.” “No one will catch me.” There’s one thing, however, that probably does not occur to someone about to engage in financial fraud:  how it will read in his or her obituary.

Although our focus here in recent days has been on the Top 10 in Financial Fraud Law, we thought about that the other day when we read an obituary in a local newspaper about a former district attorney whom we remembered well.  The headline was nice: “William Cahn, ex-DA who busted mobsters, dies at 90.” Then came the first line – the very first line – of the story:

“Nassau County's former district attorney William Cahn, who busted mobsters but later went to prison for double-billing his travel expenses, died Friday.”

Perhaps if people thought about their legacies, they would be less likely to commit the frauds that we cover here day in and day out.

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