EDITORIAL: The Deceiver
IN the old testament, the devil in the likeness of a serpent sweet-talked Eve to have a taste of the forbidden fruit even as she knew it was against the will of God. Eve knew that the transgression against the will of God will cost them dearly but she was tempted by the devil and in return tempted Adam with the promise of gaining the power of understanding. She thought it was advantageous. But gaining the power of understanding made them feel ashamed before God as they realized they were unclad. Out of Paradise, Adam and Eve lost the gift of everlasting life and henceforth would die like other God’s living creations. Deception can be considered an art. You need to convince the people you are dealing with, employ trickery and subterfuge. Deception is not always bad as it seems. We enjoy and get entertained by the deception a magician pulls off, for example. Or in military operation, deception always brings advantage against the enemies. But when deception is used to trick people of their hard-earned cash, it becomes evil. As evil as the investment scams that plagued the year 2014-2015 in Naga City and Camarines Sur that siphoned off the staggering amount of over a billion pesos from gullible investors, according to the National Bureau of Investigation. What made investment scammers successful in preying victims are the offer of high return of investment, wide network and known personalities who have been lured to join the fray. Nestor and Maria Joy Avenido, who were suspected of pooling millions and millions of cold cash for their personal use through Ponzi scheme are classic example. They have lots of friends and they know personalities from middle-class families in Magarao, Camarines Sur. In fact, Nestor was once a vice mayor in their town. They used their friends to extend their network and entice others to entrust them their hard-earned cash. With an offer of 6 percent per month return of investment, many were enticed to part with their hard-earned cash to the couple. But like any Ponzi scheme the money is lost and the investment scammers had to flee from the people whose pockets they have raided. Like any Ponzi scheme, the cycle of investment has no other way to go but collapse because it only thrives on new investments rather than earn profit from legitimate businesses. So, it is really unfortunate for the victims of the Ponzi scheme that they have nothing to expect even as the deceivers are already in jail. The most the victim could learn from this fraud is the lesson that investments with abnormally high and inconsistent returns are too good to be true. Some of the victims have lost a significant part of their life, so to speak. Several investors had lost their entire retirement benefits to the Avenidos because of the promise of high turn and a number of post-dated checks as payments that eventually bounced. Also, the victims can just rest their minds at the thought that the quest for justice against the deceiver has started now that the Avenido couple is already behind bars waiting for the case/s to be resolved. The victims may be somewhat unburdened by the thought that the gravity of Avenidos’ sins are directly proportional to the torment the scheming couple must now be experiencing. With their adult children also involved in the scamming, they are now all running away with nowhere to go from the law and their victims. The Avenidos may have gained for a short time the comfort of excessive material wealth and conveniences brought about by the money they fleeced from their victims but they cannot forever hide. The money the Avenidos gained from their fraudulent scheme and trickery could not be enough to pay for the condemnation they are receiving now from their victims. Since the law of action and reaction works in the universe, karma will catch up with the evil deceiver. Many even say that their death would never be enough to pay for what they had done and that the family’s name would be etched for a long time as an infamous one.