In Psalms 73:2-19 Asaph mentions that he struggled with the fact that dishonest people often prosper while honest people struggle.  He says:

2 my feet had almost stumbled;
My steps had nearly slipped.
3 For I was envious of the boastful,
When I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4 For there are no pangs in their death,
But their strength is firm.
5 They are not in trouble as other men,
Nor are they plagued like other men.
6 Therefore pride serves as their necklace;
Violence covers them like a garment.
7 Their eyes bulge with abundance;
They have more than heart could wish.
8 They scoff and speak wickedly concerning oppression;
They speak loftily.
9 They set their mouth against the heavens,
And their tongue walks through the earth.
10 Therefore his people return here,
And waters of a full cup are drained by them.
11 And they say, “How does God know?
And is there knowledge in the Most High?”
12 Behold, these are the ungodly,
Who are always at ease;
They increase in riches.
13 Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain,
And washed my hands in innocence.
14 For all day long I have been plagued,
And chastened every morning.
15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
Behold, I would have been untrue to the generation of Your children.
16 When I thought how to understand this,
It was too painful for me—
17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God;
Then I understood their end.
18 Surely You set them in slippery places;
You cast them down to destruction.
19 Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment!
They are utterly consumed with terrors. (NKJV)

Asaph concludes that the wicked may appear for now to be impervious to any consequences for their actions, but in the end they will surely face the music.  Submitted for your approval …

Remember a guy named Don Lapre?  He was known as the king of infomercials, appearing in late night spots for nearly 20 years pitching everything from a classified ad “get rich quick” scheme to 900 number businesses to MLM to vitamins.  In June 2011, Lapre was charged with 41 counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, and promotional money laundering related to his Internet businesses. He allegedly bilked 200,000 people out of a total of $52 million.  He was arrested on June 24, 2011, for failing to appear in court to face these charges. On October 2, 2011, Lapre committed suicide while awaiting trial in federal custody.

Before him there was a real estate infomercial guy named Dave Del Dotto.  He ended up paying a $200,000 fine for defrauding investors in 1996 and wisely retired from the infomercial game.  He went legit and founded a successful winery in Napa Valley. 

Robert Tilton

One man who was inspired by Del Dotto was televangelist Robert Tilton, whose 5,000 member megachurch in the Dallas area dwindled to a congregation of about 300 before being dissolved in 1996 after he was the subject of an ABC Prime Time Live investigation on televangelists.

Kevin Trudeau

Another popular infomercial guy is a man named Kevin Trudeau.  He also pitched a number of products on television for 20 years before being incarcerated.  From Wikipedia:

He was convicted of larceny and credit card fraud in the early 1990s, and in 1998 he was sued by U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for making false or misleading claims in infomercials promoting his book The Weight-Loss Cure “They” Don’t Want You to Know About. In 2004, he settled that action, by agreeing to pay a $500,000 fine and consenting to a lifetime ban on promoting products other than his books via infomercials.   On Nov. 29, 2011, theSeventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a $37.6 million fine levied against him for violating that 2004 settlement. Additionally, on remand, the district court modified its final order, requiring that he post a $2 million bond before engaging in future infomercial advertising.   In April 2013 he was reported to have filed for bankruptcy to avoid fines and stay further Federal prosecution.   In September and October 2013, he was twice briefly jailed for continued failure to pay fines related to his conviction, pleading poverty while continuing to live a lavish lifestyle.   In November 2013, Trudeau was convicted of criminal contempt and incarcerated.

Do you recognize this guy?  He’s Klee Irwin of Irwin Naturals, a company that makes bowel cleansing kits which are pitched through infomercials as well.  He was ordered to pay over $2.5 million in fines for fraud and unfair business practices.  Seems the only thing getting cleaned out was the bank accounts of his customers.

 

Bernie Madoff

Then of course there’s the story of Bernie Madoff (a.k.a. 61727-054), the famous investment manager who bilked investors out of billions before being charged and convicted of investment fraud.  He ran his investment firm/ponzi scheme for nearly half a century before it all came tumbling down on him.  He’s now serving what amounts to a life sentence in a prison in North Carolina.I could include a few dozen more if I had the time.  Scammers have been hawking worthless crap on TV and the internet since they were invented.  Everything from diet pills/supplements to exercise equipment to winning lottery techniques to miraculous stock trading software.  But I think I’ve made my point.  I’m bringing all of this out for a couple of reasons.  First, you should know that 90% of what you see in infomercials and investment enticements is BS.  This is why we have the BBB, Consumer Reports, the SEC, the FTC … etc.  Always proceed with caution with any claims that sound dubious, and double check everything.  And second, this should serve as a warning to scammer wannabees.  You might get away with it for awhile, but judgment day always comes.  You might be riding high on the naivety of others today, but you’re going to be brought down eventually.

The Bible also says “Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.” (Prov. 28:6)    In other words, you’re better off honest and poor than a rich skumbag.  (That’s my paraphrase.)

All of these people made millions by defrauding the public.  They all appeared successful and untouchable at one time, but they all had to pay the piper when the music ended. But this principle doesn’t apply only to scammers.

O.J. Simpson didn’t go to prison for murder, but he’s still incarcerated. Joran van der Sloot didn’t go to prison for the Natalee Holloway case, but he’s still rotting away in a Peruvian prison. As I indicated with Bernie Madoff, sometimes it takes decades for the consequences to unfold, but they always seem to have a way of catching up with the wicked.

For further reading:

http://www.infomercial-hell.com/

http://www.quackwatch.com/

http://money.howstuffworks.com/personal-finance/financial-planning/investment-scams1.htm

http://www.johntreed.com/Reedgururating.html#anchor496881

The End of the Wicked

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