NPR.org spots a crime trend: shady money gurus who try to flee the U.S. financial scene, “like rodents from a burning building,” with law enforcers in hot pursuits. The latest is R. Allen Stanford. On Thursday, FBI agents tracked down the fugitive financier in Virginia and served him with court orders. Authorities accuse the Texas businessman of creating false financial data to bilk investors of some $8 billion.
For scoundrels, the allure must be irresistible: Grab gazillions in ill-gotten gains, hightail it out of town and wind up on a tropical island lounging in a beach chair with a tall cool drink in hand as the sun sets over the ocean. The idea of “getting away with it” is a dominant theme in the American dream. Hollywood loves this scenario. Think Body Heat on one end of the continuum and Office Space on the other. “We admire clever criminals who steal from the rich,” says David Krajicek, co-editor of Crime & Justice News, a daily news digest. But today’s white-collar scoundrels “are seen as the antithesis of Robin Hood” because they steal from the middle class and give to themselves.