October 6, 2014

The Blame Game

Once exposed, almost all white collar criminals engage in a thought process trying to place the blame for their actions on some other person, event or thing. Once the story line is established, it may become very difficult to convince the perpetrator that his story line is simply a vain and desperate attempt to shift responsibility away from where it belongs, squarely in the lap of the perpetrator!

When my Bank Fraud was coming to light, I was in a complete panic. My life was falling apart before my own eyes. I did not want to accept the fact that I was solely responsible for what had occurred. I came up with a fairly large laundry list of why other people or things were responsible for my actions. The list included the following;

  1. The Primary Bank I cheated owed me the money because they had consistently underpaid my law firm (compared to other firms) over the past 20 years.
  2. My Law Firm had broken the promises they made to me about compensation when I joined the firm and I deserved the money to make up for lost compensation that was promised to me but not delivered.
  3. I had paid Hundreds of thousands of dollars in entertainment expenses out of my own pocket to many Bankers and I was entitled to the return of that money since it was paid out in an informal pay to play arrangement.
  4. I had lost over a million dollars in real estate investments due to the actions of financial institutions during the housing bubble and fraudulent mortgage crisis so the Banks owed me the money to offset my losses.
  5. My law firm colleagues had no empathy for my 4 and 1/2 year struggle with my Son’s disease (and related expenses) and subsequent death and simply expected me to work hard and produce business regardless of my personal circumstances.
  6. My Physician had prescribed improper medications for depression which lowered my inhibitions and guilt feelings and allowed me to cross the line into illegal conduct .

The list could go on but you can see the irrational thoughts that I was generating to justify my conduct and deflect responsibility. Fortunately, these thoughts were only expressed to a few close friends and family members over a very short period of time. I quickly regained part of my senses and realized that I was the person to blame for my situation, not anyone else.

Regardless of the underlying circumstances, I took money, committed a sin and committed a crime. When we make a serious mistake, we can all save a lot of time and negative energy by simply looking in the mirror and accepting responsibility for our conduct. That has to happen before we can move on and start to make amends for our conduct.

Looking in the mirror can be very difficult, and you may not like what you see, but I do know it is the first step on the road to redemption.

Ken Flaska

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