A man in Colorado has been sent to prison for 405 months (that’s 33 years and eight months, to save you the trouble) for investment fraud and money laundering. Sitting in the cell next to him, so to speak, will be his son. Philip Lochmiller Senior and Philip Lochmiller Junior ran a real estate investment scheme offering 18% annual returns, and over 400 people were optimistic or daft enough to believe them. What interests me in particular (apart from the order for restitution of $18,649,999.40 – how do they get it so precise? and what happened to that 60¢?) is the family angle.
Over recent weeks, I have been watching a telly programme called “The Fixer”. No, it’s not about an assassin, but rather someone who goes into ailing family businesses to help them return to the path of harmony and profitability. So the concept of the family firm is on my mind, and the criminal family business has captured the imagination since Mario Puzo put pen to paper and created the Corleones. On a smaller scale (and in real life), we now have the Adamses (Terry and his brothers Tommy and Patsy), the Madoffs (Bernie and his sons , brother and niece), Jamie Stevenson and his stepson Gerry Carbin – and that’s before we even start on the PEPs and their family trees.
I suppose it’s not that much of a surprise: being a criminal must teach you quickly that there are very few people you can trust. Sharing your criminality with those who will profit from it, want to protect you, and be taken down with you if it all goes wrong is probably one of the smartest decisions you can make. And it must make for some very interesting father/son chats about right and wrong.