Last year when Los Angeles’ jails and California’s prisons were overcrowded non violent offenders were paroled. In the mix were white collar criminals, grifters and con artists (perhaps the three are synonymous?). Last year I listened complacently to the news and nodded, thinking to myself, “That makes sense”.
This year I see it differently.
My friend Daphne Brogdon had her world turned upside down when she became (or rather realized she’d become) a victim to the Madoff Scam. I met with another lady last week who told me about a dear friend and business partner who had robbed everyone blind, and we both whispered about all the finance gurus online who live in their mother’s basements and don’t pay any of their bills. She is involved in crowdfunding. I told her in broad strokes about the grifter blogger here in Los Angeles.
With all of this swirling around the discussion becomes a question of how to trust people. How do you know that you won’t be continuously hurt, stolen from or punished?
After bouncing tens of thousands of dollars in checks (possibly hundreds of thousands), stealing cars and lying pathologically about her income, relationships and businesses, the grifter mom was arrested (not for the first time). An officer from the LAPD told me that she was, “The most coldhearted and evil woman I’ve ever encountered.”
As a direct result of this grifter mom-blogger’s actions my son has lost three friends. This absolutely kills me. She’s made dozens of people financially insecure, almost bankrupted a taco truck guy. Who doesn’t pay the taco truck? Who? There may or may not be sex with someone’s husband but certainly there was money and in all of this there are kids. Her kids, neighborhood kids, school kids… a lot of kids whose parents are made to feel like they might be crazy.
I’m not sure how these experiences have shaped me or if they will continue to shape me. I’m very interested in crowdfunding but the obvious obstacle is trust. I’m not sure that I’m ready to declare trust in the world.