I have dabbled in the financial field for about thirty years. I say “dabbled” because I’m not very good at it. I’d be rich if I was. However, along the way I’ve observed a few interesting things; especially in the “creative financing” arena.

They say that behind every great fortune there is a crime. This is true more often than you think. Let me explain how several fortunes have been made in southern California.

There has always been an easy availability of fake ID’s and social security cards in California. Before the DMV stiffened their requirements for obtaining a license, people were walking in with Baptismal certificates and getting them. Notice the increase of identify theft after 1989? Think that’s a coincidence? If you can’t create you own paper person, then you’ve got to assume someone’s identity, no?

Now, take that little bit of knowledge and add the fact that an I9 form was not even instituted until…what 1988? Prior to that an ID and SSN card were not required to prove you had someone on the payroll. I’m sure you see the ramifications of this. This is why, in the eighties, southern California was the credit card fraud capitol of America and why “ghost payrolling” was rampant.

Use your imagination for a minute and think this through. This has been going on for years. Think about what people were getting away with in, let’s say, the twenties. Mind-boggling, isn’t it? Just to give you a brief idea of what people have gotten away with, let me tell you a personal experience. I once ran a credit report on someone. It had twelve pages of judgments. The person existed only on paper. Trippy, huh?

John Bielecki

Author John Bielecki

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