Sitnews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska - Opinions



 by David Hanger


April 25, 2005

According to a local editorial, there is an alleged local promoter in Ketchikan who's the organizer of a PIPS club of about 50 members, all of whom you have sold a bunch of moonbeams.  Also according to reports, this alleged local promoter is not licensed to sell securities, nor a licensed financial advisor or other certified, licensed, or accredited financial expert.  Yet not only have you arrogated to yourself an expertise you lack, you have gone out of your way to degrade and demean not only me but several other local accountants and financial advisors who have done nothing more than exhibit ordinary professionalism.  We just don't have a clue what we are talking about despite the years of education and experience that we possess; and you who lack totally in this kind of education and experience are some kind of natural genius who knows something none of us could possibly know. 

What this alleged local promoter and a handful of other "judas goats" have done is among the worst things that have happened to this community in a very long time.  At least hundreds of thousands of dollars of local money has been poured down a rathole at your instigation, and in point of fact that number may already be in the millions.  For the whole state evidence already in indicates that the losses are in the millions. 

You are involved in a scam of historic proportions, and your notion that "It's a legitimate business," is a fantasy of your own design.  What you in effect have confessed to in the newspaper articles [Anchorage Daily News] constitutes a series of felonies for which you could do 20 to 30 years time.  I have no idea what motivated you to get into this in the first place and then to encourage others to do the same, but when you did that, you became Bryan Marsden's perfect tool; the local zealot around which to foster his cult.  You also entered into a criminal conspiracy with Marsden in the course of which you benefited financially at others expense.  That is not just one felony; it is several felonies.  Bryan Marsden did not send you a Form 1099, so is it a fair assumption you did not report these ill-gotten gains on your tax return?  If you did, you can avoid income tax evasion charges perhaps, thereby reducing your potential sentence by five or ten years.  The mere fact that you have received this money constitutes a crime (I assume your statements are in fact true in this regard. [Anchorage Daily News]), and when all those financial advisees find out how much you really don't know and how much you have cost them, I think you are going to need a battery of lawyers working overtime on your behalf.   A very different retirement plan from what you have intended and expected is on your future schedule.

Nor is the state of Alaska likely to be all that sympathetic in your personal case.  You and the other accelerants of this scam have caused an expensive and long-term hassle for state investigative authorities and the courts.  So now that you know you are stealing your friends' money, what are you going to do?  What kind of person are you - one who cuts and runs, or one who atones for his most egregious error.  You have hurt a lot of people, albeit to this very moment you may still be in denial.  Think of it, all these people, retirement plans at Madison, Karlson Motors, and Lewis Motors, a bunch of people at the hospital, ordinary folks all over town; you and a handful of others sold them moonbeams.  It is truly unfortunate you hold financial experts in such low esteem, indeed think you know so much more than we do, because you are now in need of another type of expert, a lawyer. 

Mr. Quinten Warren of the state's Banking and Securities Division wants you to give him a call.  We know who you are and where you are, and I rather imagine in short order there will be some very pissed-off ex-PIPSters working at the airport and on the ferries, so it's going to be difficult to slip off into the night.  Your best bailout plan is to cooperate with authorities, and I mean real soon.  Let me explain this to you.  You made a very big mistake, and you compounded that mistake by degrading local financial professionals, starting with me.  So you and a handful of others have more or less volunteered to be at the front of the line for what the state of Alaska wants to dole out as punishment to set a good example that this stuff won't be tolerated.  The state authorities are going to have a lot of pressure on them from constituents; all those ex-PIPSters legitimately upset about having been ripped off.  All of those people are your victims as are all of the local financial professionals you and others have so willfully vilified.  Our credentials come at hard and heavy cost.  There is no short course, and our ethics do not allow us to deceive the public.  Unlike some of my peers I recognize you for the threat to our collective reputation that you are.  Society invented the jobs I and others hold down and compelled comprehensive educational and ethical requirements before we are licensed or accredited to handle money and investment matters for other people; and with good reason, to keep such matters out of the hands of people like you.

All of us are your victims, so in truth your best move is to gain 'victimhood' for yourself, and you can't do that by profiting from this scam.  I would go so far as to say that if the local PIPSters who actually got some cash out of this deal, paid it back into a pool for those they screwed locally, the differences just might be forgivable and forgiven. 

I could be the mean SOB you think I am, and just brand you a thief and leave it at that.  I'd prefer to think you just got in too deep into something you did not understand.  I reckon I will leave that for you to decide.  Getting even with the deal won't come close to getting even with the town, but it's the cheapest deal you got, and I think your best move.  Sincere regret for bad mistakes is still held in esteem locally.
David G. Hanger
Ketchikan, AK - USA


Related News:

Investment club wooing Ketchikan is called a scam - PIPS: Endorsements aside, officials call program Ponzi scheme. By PAULA DOBBYN Anchorage Daily News - Scores of Ketchikaners are sending money to a private investment club, possibly based overseas, that state and business watchdog officials consider a scam. - Read this ADN story...
Anchorage Daily News - Friday - April 22, 2005

Related Editorial:

Worldwide PIPS scam hits Alaska by LEW WILLIAMS KDN - The state of Texas has issued a cease and desist order. The attorney general of the state of Hawaii is investigating, as are Alaska officials. And the Australian Securities and Investment Commission gives it the 2005 "Pie in the Sky" award. - Read this Juneau Empire Opinion...
Juneau Empire - Sunday - April 24, 2005



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