Now, I'll be the first to admit that I'm hardly a financial genius. In fact, I probably know less about the nuts and bolts of financial voodoo than....I was about to say most people but then I realized that the average person is astoundingly ignorant. Lets just say that it's not my thing and I have no specialized knowledge. That being said, I think it was fairly obvious that there was something fishy going on in this case. I was listening to NPR yesterday and they said that the average returns for this fund was 12%. 12%! I spent a couple of hours researching the best CD return rates I could find recently and they topped out at at a little under 4%. These people were getting three times the amount that the large financial institutions were offering. That should have given someone a hint that there might be some out-sized risk somewhere. In addition to that, I heard in the report that the monthly statements for the fund looked like they were printed on an 80's dot matrix printer. Instead of all the numbers and information you would expect from something like this, the only thing provided was a type-written starting balance and a type-written ending balance on a white sheet of paper. WTF? I'd probably get a better receipt nowadays buying a dimebag of crack on the street corner.
The best schadenfreude aspect of this is that it's predominantly the rich who were targeted by this. There are reports of people offering up 72" plasma tv's and huge yachts to pawn shops, trying to get some liquidity. It also looks like some charities were hit and are going down, but they should have known better than to put all of their money into something this inherently risky. These people took a ridiculous gamble and lost. In the coming days we'll hear them bitching about how it wasn't their fault, or how the government should have protected them or how someone should bail them out. Bullcrap. They made shitty decisions and now they'll have to live with them. It's no different than someone who takes all the money they have and drops it on the roulette wheel. Try asking the casino for a do-over.