White Collar Crime Pays Well?


Man Steals $277k From Autism Research, Gets $5k Fine

stillifeLook, if this had been a once-off, or a first offense for Searls I might not be as upset. But, it wasn’t, and it’s not. He worked his con three times over the course of two years. That’s not making a mistake, or a single offense. He intentionally targeted people in and around the autism community. Let’s face it, autism research just isn’t sexy. The people who typically buy fund-raising raffle tickets are those with loved ones diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, or someone who knows someone like that. These are people who are already financial stretched. And he did this with the promise that the proceeds would go to fund autism research. Which also gives false hope to those buying the tickets, as well as to the charity expecting the money.

In addition to Searles’ scam not being an isolated incident, this isn’t the fist time he’s been caught with his hands in the proverbial cookie jar. According to the Olympian article, “ In 2011, Searles was the subject of a court order in Washington barring him from acting as a mortgage broker because he violated the Mortgage Broker Practices Act.” He was also issued a cease and desist order in regards to any kind of solicitation in the state of Washington.

I’m unhappy with the sentence in this case, 90 days home confinement and a $5,000 dollar fine. He’s a repeat offender and he gathered up 277 thousand dollars with this scam. I have seen white collar crime punished more lightly than virtually any other crime imaginable over the course of my life. It is so unfair. Shouldn’t penalties be assessed in some measure on the harm done and less on the social class of the perp?

James Pilant

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Hospitals Mock the Free Market


Changing memory
Changing memory

Hospitals Mock the Free Market

Hospital Prices No Longer Secret As New Data Reveals Bewildering System, Staggering Cost Differences

When a patient arrives at Bayonne Hospital Center in New Jersey requiring treatment for the respiratory ailment known as COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, she faces an official price tag of $99,690.

Less than 30 miles away in the Bronx, N.Y., the Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center charges only $7,044 for the same treatment, according to a massive federal database of national health care costs made public on Wednesday.

Americans have long become accustomed to bewilderment and anxiety when confronting health care bills. The new database underscores why, revealing the perplexing assortment of prices for medical care, with the details of bills seemingly untethered to any graspable principle.

Even within the same metropolitan area, hospitals charge prices that differ by staggering degrees for the same procedures. People without health insurance pay vastly higher costs for care when less expensive options are often available nearby. Virtually everyone who seeks health care winds up paying inflated prices in one form or another as these stark disparities in price sow inefficiencies throughout the market.

Hospital Prices No Longer Secret As New Data Reveals Bewildering System, Staggering Cost Differences

Given the opportunity to charge without oversight, hospitals developed a byzantine pricing system that was favorable to them in every way. I am shocked. I want the free market fundamentalists to come here and take a long good look. This is reality. Market actors misusing the system to cruelly abuse their customers and our only hope of salvation, the much maligned government. That is, unless, you want to wait for the hospitals to wake up and realize that the free market is better for everybody? Maybe their profits blind them to the unearthly beauty of your doctrine? What do you think?

James Pilant

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Camp Lejeune Whistleblower Fired

Few ethical dilemmas are as gut wrenching as to whether or not to blow the whistle on unethical, inefficient or stupid practices by your employer. The personal cost is often very high. For Dr. Manion, it was the loss of his job and the high likelihood that no one else will hire a “trouble maker” like him.

There is no doubt in my mind that Dr. Manion fulfilled his duty to his country and his profession. There is no doubt in my mind that the government here was intent not on the care of veterans but on covering its thoroughly incompetent butt.

Let’s not mince words. Firing conscientious workers is a clear and distinct message to leave your morals at the door, that if you are asked to participate in crimes, you’d better participate. It is the last refuge of the employer scoundrel, unless you consider murdering the employee a possibility. The Navy failed in its duty to the nation, to its members and to any semblance of moral responsibility.


Dr. Kernan Manion was terminated by his contractor. His contractor said the Navy asked for him to be terminated.

Manion was made aware by his clients that many on base were suffering severe psychological problems that were going untreated because the system wasn’t working properly due to neglect and because superior officers penalized those who sought treatment.

The soldiers told him that they felt it was likely someone would snap and there would be a mass shooting on the base. Manion wrote memos warning of the problem and provided documentation supporting his findings.  The navy did not want to see these memos.

On June 24, a supervisor for the contractor warned Manion to stop making trouble. “Kernan Manion, it is requested that you cease and desist all further correspondence with the government,” the supervisor with NiteLines, Pamela Friend, wrote to Manion.

After his firing, Manion wrote to President Obama:

“Frankly, in my more than 25 years of clinical practice, I’ve never seen such immense emotional suffering and psychological brokenness — literally a relentless stream of courageous, well-trained and formerly strong Marines deeply wounded psychologically by the immensity of their combat experience,”