It's Sunday so it's appropriate to chat about a faith group.
The Washington Post reported that a member of the Amish community took his fellow Amish and some of their institutions for a ride akin to Bernie Madoff's transactions.
In addition to bilking the the Amish Helping Fund out of some $2.6 million, Monroe Beechy also lost money for a school cookbook fund, a school capital fund and a Mennonite church in addition to thousands of Amish and non-Amish individuals! More than half of his 2600 investors lost their money - a total of some $33 million.
First, it is clear that Mr. Beechy is really scummy and greedy too! And, ripping off your own community where you enjoy a high level of trust is equally scummy and the basis for most Ponzi schemes.
But, let's be real here. One of the other essential elements that makes a ponzi scheme effective is a belief by the investor that they can make more money through this investment than they can through more traditional or presumed safer vehicles. So it does make me curious what investors really hoped to gain that would make them move their money.
And, back to the nonprofits that invested: where was the due diligence of the nonprofit board investors? While I understand there was a lot of trust in fellow Amish community member Mr. Beechy, should that trust over-ride good due diligence using the standard of prudence?