“What drives fraudsters? The media is awash with endless lists of creative tricks that are used to steal from people every day.”
The Book of Proverbs in the Holy Bible (Chapter 20:17) states “Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel”. Earlier, the Book of Proverbs (13:11) tells us that; “Wealth gained hastily will dwindle but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.
The Ten Commandments are equally clear. In the Book of Exodus 1:15 we are told, “You shall not steal”. The Quran has no ambiguity when it comes to matters of stealing. In (5:38) we read; “As to the thief, male or female, cut off his or her hands, a punishment by way of example, from Allah for their crime”.
The story is told of a man whose wife died of breast cancer last year. As happens in our tradition, friends and family met every evening to plan for the funeral. The first meeting was at his home on the day she died. A small amount of money was collected to feed mourners the following day. At the 2nd meeting the family was surprised to find that no tea was available after the meeting.
When they asked the bereaved husband what happened to the money left behind for the purpose, he broke into tears and quite rightly was left alone that night. The third meeting was at the local Church, and by this time a committee had been formed.
The treasurer then reported that a substantial amount of money had been raised and was, for security reasons, left with the bereaved husband for safekeeping.
When asked how much money had been raised, he again cried uncontrollably saying that one of the children must have seen where he hid the money the night before, because when he woke up in the morning, all the money was gone.
The next day, the story was that a fire had destroyed the money when he got home “confused”. The committee decided to take charge of the safekeeping of the money when, after a major funds drive, the husband told the committee he must have banked the money in a “wrong account, and unfortunately lost the banking slip”.
The woman was eventually buried.
A curious church minister would not let the matter rest. He formed a small team to investigate the matter, and his findings alarmed the entire church community. The family of the deceased had moved to the Church a few years earlier, and although the now deceased wife attended mass regularly, the husband only turned up a few times a year.
As the committee was to find out later, many members of the church had fallen victim of his fraudulent ways. At first, he spoke to church members (always individually and confidentially) about an urgent problem he needed to sort out without his wife knowing. In the space of two years (as the church was now finding out) almost all members had been sworn to secrecy about the man’s financial needs and dealings. The emergency needs of money ranged from having to get a sick mother or child from hospital to helping pay “something” to stop the bank from selling their house (which in reality did not belong to the family as the committee found out later).
Closer examination of the family and its issues revealed even more alarming information. They had moved to Nairobi, soon after the man was released from a three year jail term. (The family had not mentioned this inconvenient fact to the church).
This was his second time in jail, both times for fraudulently obtaining money by pretending he had a good title for land he promised to sell to clients. As the investigations proceeded and as it became clear that the bereaved man was fraudulent from the start, and that he had stolen money meant to offset hospital and burial expenses, the man vanished without a trace!
This rather lengthy story is intended to get you to understand that fraudsters can steal even from the dead! The modern ones employ different confident tricks to gullible individuals.
As the old saying goes (Proverbs 21:20) “A fool and his money are soon parted”. Do not allow yourself to be cheated. Both fraudsters and their foolish or greedy clients seem to be on the rise.