What’s In It For Them ?


When I think about the staggering amount of $50 billion  Bernie Maddoff milked from his clients with his Ponzi style investment scam,  I’ve always wondered – why has this scam gone on unnoticed for so long ? Where was the breakdown ?  Barely a year ago, another scam artist, Lou Pearlman was sentenced to 25 years in prison for defrauding investors of some $300 million.  Pearlman , the creator of the famous Backstreet Boys and NSYNC boy bands enriched himself shamelessly with the millions the bands made from their records and endorsements while sharing them peanuts. The rip off was so bold and calculating that Pearlman made himself the 6th Backstreet Boy in the contract thereby making it difficult to trash him legally.  The presiding judge had offered a reduction of one month of his sentence for every million Pearlman returns to his investors. 

Isn’t it about time for the justice system to impose the death sentence on these kind of monsters who shatter people’s lives by defrauding them of their lifetime savings ? Aye ? Nay ?   I hate the thought of Maddoff sitting in his well appointed cell watching CNBC and browsing the net waiting for his time to croak.  Even if he is deemed not high risk or danger to society like a psychopath he should not be walking around free. He should be in the dungeon sleeping with rats to give his victims the feeling that he is being punished 😡

The Maddoff incident reminded me of a rule I read in the book The Rules of Wealth.  I thought that the author had some wisdom to impart to ordinary folk like myself with this rule .



  I don’t want you to be paranoid generally but it is OK to be paranoid when it comes to your money. There are a lot of sharks out there looking for easy pickings from the less awake amongst us. Watch out.

 Jeremy Paxman, the UK broadcaster, always interviews politicians with a basic underlying assumption that they are hiding something and he has to find out what and why

Obviously we don’t want to go round believing everybody is out to get us, but there is a good technique here that we can adopt to question anyone :

  • Offering us a money-making proposition
  • Offering to “look after” our money
  • Looking to invest in our future or schemes
  • Offering us any financial advice
  • Offering to work for us
  • Offering us a partnership
  • Offering us products or services

You have to be suspicious of anyone and anything that could make inroads into your wealth. Be wary of anybody who:

  • Promises to help you get rich quick by short-cuts using tax loopholes or dubiously legal schemes
  • Uses the word “offshore”
  • Uses the letters MLM or pyramid selling
  • Claims to be incredibly wealth and is offering to share their secrets with you – the secret is they make money out of people like you!
  • Offers to increase your wealth by using the Internet
  • Asks for money upfront to seed investment, pay for promotional material or carry out a survey

And there are three things to always remember:

  • If it waddles like a duck and quacks like a duck then it is a duck and don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t
  • If it looks too good to be true it probably is
  • Not all that glitters is gold

Remember to keep asking “What’s in it for this person? “ Don’t trust anyone. Don’t give your money to anyone to look after for you. Check the small print of anything you sign. Be on your guard.


Folks like Maddoff and Pearlman undoubtedly had business savvy and charisma which made their job much easier. Even if we get sweet-talked by friends and well known people we must not trust easily. One time I had a couple of lunch meetings with a financial advisor who claims he works for a big bank. I wondered why he always wanted to meet at a coffee shop and granting that it was close to my office and he carried official business cards from his bank, I wasn’t too sure. On our third meeting, I asked that I meet him at his office and true enough he was completely legit. There was no way I was handing him anything at the coffee shop 😯


ricky-hatton-manny_1243572cThere’s been a lot of debate as to whether this fight is a true 50-50 split for both fighters money wise. Methinks not.  Pacquiao is unarguably the marquee fighter in this deal and he deserves the better deal.  Manny had upped his market value with his stellar victory over de la Hoya and he definitely deserves respect as the best pound for pound fighter  in the world today.   The Golden Boy had been dethroned by the Pacman and it is time for the Pacman to reap gold. No way for Hatton to deserve a 50-50 split – that’s tantamount to dissing Manny Pacquiao, the new king of boxing. I’m glad the Hatton camp came to their senses and accepted the fact that they must get less. I’m also glad that Manny acquiesed to the 52-48 split in his favor.

The rumor goes that the main reason why Manny refused to sign the contract was the result of a dare that wasn’t fulfilled by his advisor-friend at a drinking session. He won’t sign unless his friend drinks three beers 🙂 LOL. This is a rather wild one but having an initimate experience of how Pinoys behave in drinking sessions, I am not surprised 😆 

Even I wasn’t Pinoy, I can’t help liking Pacquiao man. In truth, I like to read the British and American press releases rather than the Pinoy ones that are overwhelmingly one-sided in his favor as expected.  The fact is, most of these foreign sports columnists have very high esteem for Pacquiao.

Talking about high esteem, and this is just me – why is Charice Pempengco more famous and respected internationally than at home ? Is my perception wrong ?




37 Responses

  1. I always abide to this axiom: “If it’s to good to be true, it’s probably not true!”

  2. Maddoff’s 50billiones is the Ultimate Greed! Why? Imagine him swindling one billiones for a starter, his thoughts must have been – wow!! this is so easy and his greediest thoughts just swarmed all over him until he reached 50B. Just like the SubPrime debacle – I always lay some blame to the buyers. And in Maddoff’s case, the investors (and I’m teetering in the balance of calling them all Stupid). I cannot be swindled like that. Investing millions of your money is a tall order, investigate fully.

    Hatton and Pakyaw’s quarrel about percentage is just a sideshow, each needs more KSP so the betting become more intense, hehe…

    Filipino showbiz people’s clamor more for someone who is tall, pretty to their standards, at least white in color to be accepted in their domain. If she was what I described, she will be appointed Ambassador to some place else, or given a huge contract by one of the TV conglomerate in Manila. Sad facts of life but realistically thriving in our motherland.

    • TrueBlue – one wonders if the financial meltdown didn’t ever happen, would Maddoff be merrily operating his Ponzi scam until today ? Maybe the government needs to investigate deeply into his operation on a granular level, on how he managed to prolong the scam for such a long time. Perhaps he designed this scam to perpetuate for so long, perhaps until he dies and he would have enjoyed every penny of it without getting caught ! How about a Maddoff movie – anyone ?

      Goes to show that the Pinoy , save for sports, is more into personality than talent. It manifests itself in the way we appreciate intelligence ( have to be from an elite school), acting ( MUST have to be very good looking), esteem ( must have a college degree) 😦

  3. I forgot, I’ve got something for you here ”http://blogusvox.blogspot.com/2009/01/tag-and-award.html”.

  4. The Madoff case goes to show that there is indeed a sucker born every minute… even among the super wealthy.

    Have a great weekend, bro 🙂

    • Snglguy – very true, and there are also sharks everywhere, from the super poor to the super wealthy 😦

      Have a nice weekend too.

  5. When someone tries to sell me some money-making scheme, I always make sure that I ask him/her very hard and probing questions to make sure that what he/she is selling me is legit. I worked hard for my money and I won’t simply let some stranger have access to my funds. They have to prove to me (and they have to jump through hoops to do it) that they are worthy of my trust.

    As for Manny Pacquiao, I also lean towards American and British writers than their Filipino counterparts. Like you, I also feel that their analysis and reporting are a lot more objective.

    • Panaderos – same here but again the bottom line it boils down to risk management. Sometimes we can afford to speculate with money we can afford to lose as long as we don’t bet the house 🙂 But you are right – prudent assessment is must before we commit our money to any form of investment 😎

      I’ve been browsing the British articles on the Pacquiao-Hatton fight and Manny seems to be the favorite whereas if you read the Pinoy press you’re almost certain Manny is favored even if he fights Godzilla 😆

  6. well it should be a lesson for all of us. there’s no easy way to get rich. we should work for it.

    • Flamindevil – get rich quick schemes are more often than not just a scam. You are absolutely right – nothing beats working for it unless you win the lottery jackpot 🙂 Hey, thanks for the visit 🙂

  7. This is the first time I hear of Pearlman. He made himself the 6th Backstreet Boys in the contract? That’s being a slimy cheat. Oh well, he got what he deserves 😦

    I saw Charice on David Foster special. She’s too good. She should be making records in Philippines !

    • Irrealis – Backstreet and Nsync sued Pearlman but it wasn’t a cakewalk. In the end, Backstreet had to pay Pearlman something like $30M so they can detach from him completely. Even then, the squabble didn’t stop there. Pearlman was a notorious crook. 😦

      I’m not that aware that she is a big time hit in the Phils much like Arnel Pineda who had to go abroad to search for his success.

  8. It such a shame considering that Mr. Madoff was once chairman of NASDAQ, that’s lots of credibility wasted. It just doesn’t make sense, about how the greed for more and more money leads a man like to do such risky business. I am sure he ain’t being hungry or homeless to go stealing that way. Maybe he was just being adventurous. This is the madness of many rich men I guess.

    • Majpr Tom – Maddoff’s being ex-NASDQ chief is precisely the reason why folks trusted him with his money. This even makes his crime more severe as he used his reputation to exploit people. I believe his Ponzi ploy was designed by him creatively since he knows the ins and outs of the trade. Time ro rename Ponzi as the Maddoff scheme 😯

  9. “He won’t sign unless his friend drinks three beers”>>> hahaha…

    im sure charice is popular here but i think her talent exceeds that she needs to share it to the world.

    • Dong – it sounds silly but pag sa inuman, macho image ang importante hehe 🙂

      Good then if Charice had been esteemed by her country before she sought her career elsewhere coz from where I am she just sprung into popularity mainly because of Oprah’s support 🙂

  10. I thought Pacquiao only fights Mexicans. hehe. I’ve heard of Hatton, but don’t really know much about him. I thought Pacquiao was going to fight Mayweather or some other boxer from Mexico.

    • Wil – Hatton is as popular as Pacquiao in the UK and has a great record of 45-1. The only man to beat him was Mayweather. He is a good fighter put prone to get hit because of his swarming style and the only fighters who have chance against him are power hitters like Pacquiao. I still bank on Manny’s trainer, Freddie Roach for calling this fight as a good fight for Manny, even before the de la Hoya fight. Roach knows his stuff man 😉

      As for Mayweather, he openly declared that he is sitting on $600M in his treasure chest and has no need for money. He said he will only fight for prestige. He is 39-0 and I don’t think he fancies changing the 0 to 1 with Pacquiao 😆

  11. Madoff is a genius…the people he defrauded were not “average people” but business people, bankers, investors… so this shows how good Madoff really is.
    Hmmm… I would appoint him as a teacher in a law and managment school… 😉

    Speaking of greed…don’t you think that Manny Pacquiao is getting greedy… 😉

    • Sidney – I agree with you. Maintaining a Ponzi scheme for a long time is truly impressive and the only time his scheme unravelled was when an unusually large number of clients wanted to redeem or convert their investments into cash. He certainly has a great talent to share hehe 😉

      Well, his trainer Roach openly says that he is scared of the way Pacquiao hands out his money to people 🙂 It’s probably more on the business than greed because everyone wants to fight Pacquiao and obviously Pacquiao only wants to fight those who can bring in the top bucks. True, Pacquiao gets $13M win or lose guaranteed and the 52-48 split is with the PPV ( Pay Per View) and other revenues to be shared with the fighters ( promoters get the bulk of it for sure). Pacquiao is the real deal – not Hatton so he should get more 😉 Having said so, the 17,000 tickets to the fight are sold out in 3 hours that both camps boughts hundreds of tickets for their guests with the hotel/casino bought thousands to reserve for their preferred patrons. It’s crazy 😆

  12. Maddoff and Pearlman are big time professional con men and there are still many of them out there who can not be caught easily. Too much money, too many lawyers protecting them.

    As for Pacquiao, I think he has no fear fighting anyone so I still put my bet on him 🙂

    • Natez1 – sadly, the list of money managers being hounded by investors goes longer everyday. Some of them are fraud, others just made horrible investment decisions. In the end, it’s the ordinary folk that suffers.

      Sure, Pacquiao is a warrior and you can be assured he fights not to showboat but to win.

  13. For the big companies, I think all these fishy deals have not been exploited because the auditors are conniving with the management OR they had no auditors. I read from the Inquirer yesterday something almost similar to the excerpts from The Rules of Wealth, it concludes like, “If it’s too good to be true, then probably it’s not.”

    • Witsandnuts – that’s the reason why more transparency is being demanded of these investment companies in the Obama govt. They’ve outsmarted the regulators with their creativity. The regulators are also partly to blame with their philosophy – “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it “. Investors were asking the regulators to investigate Maddoff’s “too good to be true” returns on investment but the fed declined citing that they saw no evidence of irregularities 😦

  14. Not so long ago (circa 2001-2002), my family had been victimized by scammers, who were always dressed up to the nines in presenting their financial management services. The packaging of it all made it look so legit. I later learned that many Pinoys based in Metro Manila lost a lot of their life savings investing in this scam company. It landed on the news.


    Manny Pacquiao seems to be a nice chap. But I generally don’t like boxing. 🙂


    Charice Pempengco…is that the YouTube girl who got so famous after appearing in popular US and UK shows? She is technically a good singer, yes, but based on what I had heard on YouTube, she likes to make “birit” a lot. Makes me very tired, to be honest. LOL

    • Jayred – there is no shortage of hustlers in this world eh ? Everywhere you go their breed thrives 😦

      You should see her short interview with PBS – the public TV in the states that aired the 3 hr David Foster’s special. Charice is great but she said something that made me cringe when she told the PBS announcer that David is a “professionist” 🙂 I checked the dictionary and couldn’t find the word . Oh well, that’s excusable. People here think english isn’t her mother tongue anyways 😉

      BTW, I don’t know what “birit” means. Sensya ka na , Bisaya kasi ako hehe 🙂

  15. “Birit”….hmm, I don’t really know the English translation for this. But I will attempt to explain it: a singer who makes “birit” is the one who belts out songs a la Regine Velasquez or Sarah Geronimo (sic). Yung parati na lang parang sumisigaw when they hit the high notes…or something like that. BUT Regine is really a great singer…there was just a season in her career na puro “birit” na lang na nakakapagod na.

    I think Charice should try to be more flexible in her singing style. But it’s her ability to make “birit” that has made her very famous in the US and Europe (UK and Italy). And yes, she should take some English lessons, too. 🙂

    • Jayred – now I know what you mean 😉 Dunno but I also get uneasy when a singer looks distressed and about to collapse 🙂 when singing. THey like to look powerful but I get a headache watching them. Same with Michael Bolton who sings like someone is squeezing his nuts. He did a Christmas album lately and gosh, I never heard Xmas carols sang with so much attrition and it robbed the song of its jolliness 🙂

  16. Hmmm, I recently attended this so-called business opportunity meeting for an MLM company and it’s exactly what that book says. Actually, the speakers were good and very convincing, but what turned me off was the way they seem to worship money so much. I won’t be a hypocrite and say having loads of money won’t make me happy–it most probably will but it seems these MLM people are slaves of money and they work their asses off to recruit people to earn out of them. Some of them are really rich, but I wouldn’t want that kind of job.

    • Kat – absolutely true. MLM looks enticing when you think of the money that one can potentially make but it demands a lot of work and likewise you need to be a kapal mok in many cases. Some people just don’t have the skills nor the time or appetite to do it but those who worship money may like it.

  17. “Same with Michael Bolton who sings like someone is squeezing his nuts. He did a Christmas album lately and gosh, I never heard Xmas carols sang with so much attrition and it robbed the song of its jolliness.” 🙂

    — Ahahaha! Sometimes these singers look like they have constipation while doing their toilet business. (LOL)

    So, at least now, you know what “birit” means. 🙂 What’s the Visayan term for that?

  18. Now, thanks for that. Now I know that “birit” is “kuri-it” (with a hyphen) in Ilonggo. 🙂 I actually have relatives in Bacolod, but I don’t understand them every time they talk in Ilonggo.

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  20. Hey Author, I cane totaly relate to what you say, but I think that maddof was so succesful because of the greed that some people have in them and offcourse the fact, that most people are lazy. I would rather get rich by myself ase kind of paying somebody who makes me rich this is just unrealistic and why should some body actualy do that. People always want it easy, that’s why it is so easy to take peoples money true lottery ore gambeling ore investments because they all believe in the dream ore just want to believe in the dream of getting rich with out hard work and I hae to say, that this is just not possible, except you’re kind of born rich but even that hase to do with work eif you’re not talking about some spoiled credit card kids , who don’t know how the money get’s into there cards, that they use daily to waste daddys money

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