Fraud is fraud, so it’s silly to try to decide on degrees of venality amongst the various types.
Still, it seems particularly loathsome to try for ill-gotten gains off the back of disasters and the tragedies of others.
Case in point: the Securities and Exchange Commission today warned investors to be wary of scams that seek to exploit the big oil spill in the Gulf and the efforts, which no doubt will be expensive and time-consuming, to clean up.
“While some of the companies touting their role in the cleanup may be legitimate, others could be bogus operations that are only looking to clean out unsuspecting investors,” The SEC and market regulator FINRA said in a jointly issued press release.
It’s ghoulish enough that some investors, upon their hearing of some unexpected tragedy, quickly turn their attention to the business, and therefore investment, implications of the disaster.
That’s the way of the world. Still, scamming off tragedy seems beyond the pale.
The SEC and FINRA provided a list of what to look for in potential Gulf oil spill-related scams. The list includes:
Company claims to have products that effectively help clean up oil spills and/or fix ecosystems. Company claims to have contracts or an expectation of contracts with BP for the cleanup. Or that claim some involvement with one of the federal government agencies on the scene.