Friday, June 7, 2013

Truth, Honor, and Fiduciary Responsibility

When I was younger, I worked in the financial services racket for almost ten years.  With all the licenses that I had, I was in constant contact with the mega-bucks of other people's money.  I had a fiduciary responsibility to do the best that I could for my clients; it was their money, not mine.  But back in the day, a colleague of mine fell into the temptation of all that cash.

At first, he took a few bucks here and there, all easily replaced; he had needs, you know.  But gradually, the replacing was overtaken by the taking.  And taking, he most certainly did.  Multiples of thousands he took, as if it were a disease.  Finally, this bastard was caught and prosecuted.  His punishment included the loss of all professional licenses and a permanent ban on any employment in the financial services arena.  Also, he had to make financial restitution to all the people that he had screwed.  But no jail time.  Oh yeah, he had to do some community service.  At the time, I felt that this prick should have been put in a cell with a really big sweaty guy who went by the name of Bubbalove.  Last I heard, he was making big bucks in real estate.  The wheel of time turns.

In the last five years, I was the Power of Attorney for my father and his sister, my aunt.  My responsibility went well past being their POV; I also was their medical power of attorney.  I held the heavy responsibility of determining what medical treatment they would receive and when and how they would get it.  This is heady stuff and not to be taken lightly or ignored; getting phone calls past midnight was the norm, at least for me.  Part of all of this is watching your loved ones rapidly decay; you'd best have your shoes laced tight.  And, paying their monthly nursing home/assisted living home fees was a part of that norm.  As was the face time spent with the various administrators and time spent with my father and aunt.  BTW, anyone who knows me knows that when I pay out a nickel, I expect that nickel to shit a penny.  I expect the best for dollar spent, especially for loved ones.

When in that honored position of caring for my father and aunt, I was surrounded by their cash.  In comparison to my fiduciary responsibility while in financial services, the tempting amount was small.  However, access was at least 100 times easier - I was the guy who wrote the checks.  But at no time did I ever think to line my pockets at my father's and aunt's expense.  I am not a hero; I just did what was right.  And I am not alone in that behavior.  The majority, the lions share of folks in the same position, act in the same way.  It is just the right thing to do.

When I heard that an individual who purports to hold the same mindset as mine defiled his fiduciary responsibility to his mother, I withheld comment and waited for the verdict.  The trial is over and the verdict is in.  The penalty is probation and financial restitution within a proscribed period.  If restitution is completed within that proscribed time, the guy's record is erased.  Why so easy?  Because he just screwed over his mommy?  Maybe.  If a person does not honor his family, does not hold them in fidelity, can that person be trusted?  Personally, I cannot.  Hmmmmm..... maybe Bubbalove and his pals should pay this guy a visit.

                                            Copyright @2013 Terry Unger



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