Human nature being what it is, it seems fair to assume that fraud has been alive and well and living among us since we first crawled out of the primordial slime.
And back in the days when times were hard enough for me to have the odd flash of understanding for those who robbed banks, I might even have come up with a flicker of sympathy for those perpetrating fraud to keep a roof over their children’s heads. (Perhaps it’s built into the national DNA from the first European settlers, sent here for stealing loaves of bread, shooting the Earl’s grouse etc.)
But times have changed and so has fraud. With all our cunning technological advances and the whizz-bang speed of modern communications, fraud has become the sport of financial kings whose children already have several roofs over their golden heads and enough food on their tables, metaphorically speaking, the feed the starving masses.
Yes, I know ‘petty’ fraud still flourishes as well, and I’m sure corporate fraud has been around for more years than anyone cares to acknowledge, but these days, it’s more likely to produce an eye-roll than a shriek of outrage, so commonplace has it become.
I find this infinitely sad: a rejection of ethics by those who have every reason to know better and no motivation except greed: those to whom much has been given, and who, so the bible tells us, should therefore realise that much is expected of them in return.
But then the bible was written before the days of offshore accounts.