In local news today...I was saddened to be sent this news from a friend about a very wealthy family (or so I thought) in our community. 

Click on the Madoff link to the left to see the story on KGO-TV.  I was room parent for four years for a child of the guy in the yellow jump suit and it distresses me greatly to think of how the boy and his siblings are doing through this ordeal.

The dad is charged with nine counts of fraud for allegedly swindling dozens of people out of millions of dollars. The allegation is that he "made off" with their money, including kids' college funds.

I recall the fantastic birthday party for the son who invited the entire 7th grade. The magnificent house, located behind electronic gates, was dressed up as a casino, replete with blackjack tables, roulette wheels and professionals to man each station. I recall the Range Rover and designer duds, and the fact that the boy had an iphone before even my husband did! The family seemed close knit, lovely, well-mannered and oh-so-prosperous.

But I gotta be honest: I also recall handing homeroom rosters and volunteer sign-up sheets to the parents for four years in a row, and not once did they look me in the eye, sign up for anything or mutter a word of thanks. Evidently, there were bigger fish to fry.

Now we find out that the District Attorney intends to prove that the man in the cuffs and yellow jail suit managed little more than a house of cards, a ponzi scheme of the type, though perhaps not the magnitude, that put Bernie behind bars. 

Clearly, people in the community are angry, and some have even begun culling information into a BLOG. That tells me one thing:  there is more info coming down the pike about these alleged activities.

One of the recurrent themes in my new novel - Finding Clarity: A Mom, A Dwarf and a Posh Private School in the People's Republic of Berkeley - is that the appearance of altruism is often a disguise for deceit. And that goes for the fat cats who fund your kid's school, be it public, private or parochial. 

Doesn't matter if your six kids do go to private school or if your vacations are grander than that of the average bear. What matters is that things don't always add up and they aren't always what they seem. As I said, the kids always seemed well behaved, gracious and fond of one another. The father? It never made any sense to me. No matter how wealthy or what a big shot investor I always heard he was, his appearance, his comportment - none of it added up. None of it.

So, the moral of the story might be that when it doesn't make sense, it doesn't for a good reason. You know of what I speak.



crusader rabbit
07/22/2011 23:03

I was touched by your thoughtful piece.

I have been investigating this man for a year and a half.

He ruined and outright stole my best friends retirement account.

My friend work tirelessly for 25 years as a caring doctor to build.He has health problems and cannot go back to work.

It is sad to hear that a human being would steal just to put on an over the top birthday party for his kids.

From what I know I think this behavior comes from three sad places.

One, a sense of entitlement by Miller. His dad was a very wealthy and well know lawyer. His kid grew up with silver spoons in their mouths.

The felt they were entitled to a better life style than most people, no matter what.

I understand he blew his inheritance from his father.
With the ineritance gone he had to keep up appearance and fill that needy hole inside.

Two, I understand he learned his business as a trainee from Walter Ng and his two sons who defrauded 3000 investors out of a $750,000.000. fund. That's right! 3/4 of a billion dollars.

Read more about this on my other blog,

http://equitatus.wordpress.com/ and my friends https://barkinvestors.wordpress.com/2011/07/

Three, I understand his wife was very controlling and made his life hell if he didn't provide her with a lavish lifestyle. Now the pipper has to be paid. Her 80 year old father
has to put up his property to bail his son-in-law out of jail. I wouldn't give there marriage very long.

Which brings me back to your point. This is oh so sad for the children who
look to their parents as role models. Embezzling money from the Orinda Scout troop?

I just hope that they are smart enough to get counseling for the children. It breaks my heart.

07/23/2011 03:21

Hey Laura,

I agree... altruism exists, but it's usually not preceded nor followed by a marching band.

When ever I am altruistic, I find that am rewarded with one of those those moments of CLARITY that make life truly meaningful. I just wish I could do this all the time, but selfishness too often gets in the way.

Surprise ending in book! There I was, still hoping for a lil girl-on-girl action, and instead I get "Thelma & Louise". Or somethin' like that. You know what I mean.

Question: If my eyes got a little misty while reading at the end of your book, am I now what's considered a lost case- an evil, Murica-hatin', terr'ist-lovin', commie bleeding-heart lib'ral?

If so, maybe it was just my allergies or tired eyes. In that case, being a Son of the South, I'll feel a whole lot better if I can just go out in the woods this afternoon and shoot a couple of trees. WHAM! BAM! POW!


07/23/2011 05:40

It's really hard to make a lot of money honestly. It's not impossible, but it's hard.

It's much easier to steal it. It's always been that way.

07/23/2011 06:43

Laura, what kind of comportment from the father "didn't add up"?

(…besides the fact that it sets a very poor example for children—I think—to exalt the world of gambling and casinos.)

What clues did you pick up from his appearance?

07/23/2011 08:07

@Jeff Wham!Bam!POW! indeed. Thank you SO much for reading and "getting" Finding Clarity. I love that you loved it and I'll be honest: I've never, not once, read that last page without crying...no matter how hard I laughed at the previous 299 pages. So, yes, you are now a flaming lib because you can recognize who is the biggest person in the room! Thank you again.

@Lidia A new commenter, Crusader Rabbit has just left a great comment here about Carl Miller and what he's allegedly done to his own friend. That explains further what's going on in this story and the behaviors in the family. I hope Crusader Rabbit will continue to comment here because if there is one thing we've all wondered, it's how some one who looks good can pull the wool over everyone's eyes. What does it take to be a confidence man?

So, Lidia, the best I can say without disparaging anyone's physical appearance, is that the man simply never looked like he grew up. He looked and behaved like an adolescent in a man's scrawny body. The way he walked, his juvenile clothes. He never looked me, at least, in the eye. Though I didn't have any money to offer him to invest.

It's the same feeling so many people got the moment Palin stepped into the limelight: something felt off. The pieces about the way they looked and comported themselves just didn't add up.

Now, I hear from another person that the problems began 2 years ago, but that the man was claiming it was the "market crash" that hurt everyone else. No, it wasn't. It was his alleged pyramid scheme.

The wife wore the wealth flamboyantly. The man? he looked like he might work in your yard because he never finished college or had just graduated from high school.

What is it about these con artists? What does it say about the people who trust them?

07/23/2011 10:27

Laura, that's so interesting. He doesn't sound like a person one would trust with a lot of money.

Most of these con-men seem to have had a more confident and smooth exterior, like Madoff.

Sad to say, I think many people place money with these folks out of greed. They want to get that extra percentage point of "growth" (theft), or they are looking for some kind of "guaranteed" return. Maybe "you can't cheat an honest man" is going too far, but… when you see the guy burning up all these resources, the last thing that would come to my mind is "prudent fiscal steward of my money".

07/25/2011 16:19

I overheard the DA in the Miller case telling a reporter that he once rented a Lear Jet with a special baby seat to fly his family to Canada.

He gets out of jail this afternoon.

Are they going to throw a lavish "get out jail party" complete with a bounce house and clown?

Read the latest at my blog


07/25/2011 17:54

CR, Thanks for the update. I hear that one of the others involved in the other situation had 4 grand pianos in his living room at one point. Among other things.

Please keep me posted. Sounds like it might be quiet for a while, but I'll check in with you now and then.

crusader rabbit
07/25/2011 23:56

Stay tuned for the new reality
TV series, "Lives of the Stupid Rich"

Crusader Rabbit
07/29/2011 16:10

See NBC CH 11 reporter Jodi Hernandez's story on Carl Miller.



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