For most of us, white-collar crime in the name of Jesus Christ is just an abstraction, a few lines unceremoniously noted in the Wall Street Journal or Forbes, until you receive (as I did) the following email from a woman named Sandy Tucker who gave me permission to share it with you:
This is my story…
I was widowed in 1984 and my accountant/financial planner invested $50,000 into Wells Real Estate Fund I as a B Investor. According to Wells Real Estate personnel, today my $50,000 is not worth a cent.
For many years, I communicated with Mr. Wells, both verbally and in writing, to determine what the outcome of my investment might be, but the lies always overshadowed any honesty, and therefore I never knew the real truth of my Fund I investment as a “B” investor.
During these past 20 years, I never received one cent of return on my money. I truly believe that he thought his investors would die before he had to answer to them, and I am sure that many have.
I will be 61 years old in November and still hanging in there, working two jobs to make a living, and fighting to the end to bring resolve to this situation before I die.
Fifty thousand dollars may not mean much to Leo Wells, or Ken Lay, or Neil Bush, or any of those who have profited handsomely from the Christianization of American politics, but it means an enormous sum of money to one 61-year-old Christian widow.
In her lengthy email, Ms. Tucker also included detailed descriptions of Wells's funny business with prospectuses as well as the class action lawsuit that resulted. All to no effect. Her money is all gone, and the "Christian" businessman who has yet to be publicly disgraced (let alone prosecuted) for his actions has not answered for it.
But the heart of the matter is this, in her words: "Any man, whether an individual or a business owner, who professes to be a Christian and puts God in control would never do to anyone, including widows, what he has done to me and hundreds of other investors."
For twenty years she has borne this burden alone.
Investing and religion are a difficult mix at best, partially because the timeframes are at odds. Ms. Tucker brought up the Wellsian concept of an investment afterlife, which of course does not exist: "I truly believe that [Leo Wells] thought his investors would die before he had to answer to them, and I am sure that many have." Bad investments like those held by Leo Wells's investors are the real "death tax."
The ultimate problem with government and business leaders invoking the name of Jesus Christ, as Leo Wells and George W. Bush do with great regularity, is that unsuspecting Christian voters and investors assume that their beliefs are shared. This assumption is a fatal mistake.
Although I am not a Christian, I do know of at least one Commandment that bears repeating: "Thou shalt not steal." But American faith-based elites are more concerned with publicly displaying the Ten Commandments than with actually following them.
Unfortunately, for all Americans who are also Christians as well as for the rest of us, expecting justice from self-anointed dispensers of "morality" is too much to ask.
If there is indeed an afterlife, Leo Wells will burn in it.
If you want to go after white-collar crime carried out by hypocrites, you need to find someone who has already been successful in such investigations. Some like John Kerry.