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1000 years for Egyptian fraudster 18, May 2008

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Egypt, Middle East.
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1 comment so far

The BBC has just reported that an Egyptian man has just been sentenced to 1000 years in jail for conning people out of money over a two decade period. The farcically long sentence is, however, but half the story, with the other half discussing and highlighting the apparent trend and propensity for Egyptians to willingly give away their money on a promise of amazing financial returns.

The BBC comments section is full of similar stories. Indeed, taking just this one man, how many people must he have conned to amass his $52 million fortune? It seems that the notion of caveat emptor has not made it to Egypt. Whilst it is tragic that people lose their life savings in such scams – and indeed tough measures need to be in place to dissuade such fraudsters (though perhaps not this though) – doesn’t a tiny, small, mean-spirited but honest potion of your brain say that they got what they deserved? Perhaps his con was elaborate and utterly official-looking. Perhaps; but I doubt it. And by the sounds of many stories of this nature, most are absurdly low-key and simple.

Such scams are, obviously, not only apparent in Egypt. I must get 3 emails a day asking me for money or my passport details in return for a share in something or other…lost bank accounts, oil deals or whatever. Apparently, these scams really do entice people into sending away money or details and when they get nothing in return, they are surprised. I simply can’t muster up an ounce of sympathy for pathologically stupid actions such as these. At this point a cliché rushes to mind. However trite it is (and it certainly is) to use clichés, it must be remembered that clichés are clichés for a reason: a thread of truth runs through them; which is to say that in this case, a fool and their money are easily parted.