It’s safe to say that I had a very fortunate upbringing. My parents, though receiving only the most basic education, still managed to do very well for themselves and to provide for us kids. But despite their success, they still were not immune from the financial woes that so many of us find ourselves in at some point in our lives.
So one day, when mussing about life and finances, my dear old mother suggested that we should rob a bank.
“Let’s go rob a bank, Harrison”, she said to me
“Let’s do a Mr and Mrs Smith”.
I love my mother to bits, but damn she is stupid… I don’t say that because she wanted to rob a bank, but because she had the wrong vision.
Mum, I’m young. I’m new generation and therefore I know everything. So take a seat and learn a lesson from your son. If you want to get rich, you don’t do so by robbing banks, but by robbing the public. If you rob the public, you can do so without ever touching a gun or making a scene. You don’t need to ice a hostage to let the cops know that “you mean business”. You don’t need a getaway car and you don’t need to outrun the police. The great advantage that robbing the public has over robbing banks is that in many cases you can do so without ever breaking the law.
Sounds too good to be true? Well that’s why you (me also) are still waking up to an alarm every morning at 5:30am and commuting to work; probably in the hopes you can pay off your mortgage in the next 30 years.
But not all people are like you or I. Some people have it all figured out. These self-serving scum bags are the enemies of the public and are robbing us blind! Allow me to introduce you to my top (bottom) 4 Enemies of the Public
Public Enemy No. 4: Ahmed Fahour
Fahour is the current Managing Director and CEO of Australia Post. As head of the national postal service he is technically a public servant, but for some reason his salary was never disclosed to the public… That was until the public started to pressure him to reveal how much he made. Fahour finally caved under public pressure and because he had disclosure obligations (as he is paid from the proceeds of a company that belongs to the people). His annual earnings? $5.6millionAUD… To put this into perspective, the Prime Minister makes $517 504. The Governor-General makes $425 000. The Chief Justice of the High Court makes $486 000 every year. This guy is a postman and is pocketing more than $5.5million of your money, Every. Single. Year.
As of the 23rd February, Fahour announced his resignation, which is effective in July. He claims that his decision “had nothing to do” with being caught paying himself $5.6million every year from public money, but we all know that is complete and utter rubbish.
Public Enemy No. 3: Eddy Groves
Now I suppose that we can semi-forgive our public enemy number 3 for his rort, and let me explain why. The majority of Australians are descendants of convicts, so it’s in our blood to at least look for a way to rort the system. Some of us just do it a little more successfully than others (don’t hate the player, hate the game).
In our modern, soulless, and materialistic world, people are encouraged to take overseas holidays worth tens of thousands of dollars. People are also encouraged to “buy shit that we don’t need, to impress people that we don’t like” (Tyler Durden- Fight Club). Everyday cost-of-living expenses are also soaring. So, all of the money for all of this has to come from somewhere. As a direct result, in 2017 it isn’t enough for dad to bring home the bread and mum to stay home and raise the kids.
Both dad and mum must slave away like good cattle, whilst “the public” raises your children (this in itself is dangerous in so many ways and I could write a whole book on this topic). Therefore, childcare centers have become big business. So big in fact that Australia’s own ABC Child Learning was actually the world’s largest provider of child care and education at its peak. “How can a child care provider possibly make any money?” I’m glad you asked! The Commonwealth Government allocated $8.2billion towards subsidising child care in the 2016-2017 budget. This number is set to rise to $8.8billion in 2017-2018.
That’s a lot of dosh…
In the words of former ABC Child Learning Chairwoman Sallyanne Atkinson:
“This is a business subsidised by government – how can it be unprofitable?”
Want a piece of the action? Well there’s good news! This money is yours for the taking if you can tick the right boxes and satisfy the requirements that the government asks when giving away fat wads of the tax-payers cash (click here and here if you would like to know how you too can rip off the tax-payer by starting your own childcare center).
ABC Child Learning was once valued at $4.1billion and its founder/CEO Eddy Groves was personally worth more than $270million. But whilst Groves was living lavishly off our fat wads/grants, ABC Child Learning was crumbling. Staff were underpaid, quality of care was poor, and the company had an outstanding debt of $1.8billion that it could not pay. So as is to be expected, the company that Groves had founded went into administration and Groves himself declared bankrupt.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) soon opened a case and began investigating the collapse of ABC and the role that its directors had in its fall in November 2008. The investigation continued until July of 2012 when ASIC decided that there was insubstantial evidence to support charges of wrong doing, so they reversed the bankruptcy charge against Groves and lifted the freeze on his assets. (Story) Why? We will never know, because ASIC does not comment on its own investigations. But what this does mean is that once more he is now legally able to own and run companies in Australia… This man got off Scott free and is back in business, baby!
I will mention briefly now that the only business that can defraud the government of even greater sums of money than the child care industry is the adult education industry… but that’s another topic for another day.
Public Enemy No. 2: Tony Yamankol
Porsche… This image didn’t need to be edited.
Way back in January of this year, I wrote an article on the exploitation of foreign workers in Australia’s fruit picking industry… well it seems that fruit picking is the gift that keeps on (not) giving. Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Tony Yamankol, the man who pays his seasonal workers (international workers on temporary work visas) exactly zero dollars and zero cents after he has deducted “living expenses” from their wages.
These living expenses include luxuries such as living in a cramped caravan, daily transport to the farm and back, health insurance, superannuation, (which they will never use, as they are only seasonal workers) and of course, tax.
To add a whole new horrible dimension to this already horrible story, these workers were shipped over to Australia from pacific island nations via a Department of Employment “Seasonal Worker Program”. That’s right, Yamankol has the blessings of our government, and he technically isn’t breaking any laws when he deducts almost 100% of his employees wages for all of these living expenses.
The Seasonal Workers Program was initially seized upon by the pacific island workers in the hopes they could work hard for half a year or so and send money back home to their families. Instead, we find family members sending money to Australia so that basic necessities may be bought.
And it’s not like the workers are really in a position to complain… no, really, they aren’t... As per the terms of the contracts they signed, workers are essentially the property of their contractor. They must fulfill their contractual obligations under Yamankol and under Yamankol alone. They are not permitted to seek employment elsewhere. If they aren’t happy with Yamankol’s work and living conditions, he can simply terminate their contracts and they will be promptly sent back to their home countries and barred from all future work opportunities in Australia. Sadly, Yamankol knows this and uses it to his complete advantage.
An actual payslip for $9.96 from one of Yamankol’s employees
Legal though it may be, it’s a total scumbag move and Yamankol deserves the public shame that he has received… But Yamankol isn’t the worst this nation has to offer… it gets much, much worse.
Public enemy No. 1: Bill Lewski
Now this piece of shit right here gets the distinct honour of being number one on my list. Don’t let the ‘liberal arts teacher’ haircut fool you. This man is worth well in excess of $90million. Well, at least he was, after he stole it from a bunch of investors, many of whom were retirees hoping to fund their own retirements.
I worked in aged care for 8 years, so the elderly and vulnerable will always have a special place in my heart. When I see someone like Lewski taking advantage of the elderly, I am filled with so much righteous anger.
Lewski was able to pull off his fraud by founding the “Prime Retirement and Aged Care Property Trust”, which specialized in building and acquiring retirement villages. As Australia has an aging population, many believed this would be a good investment. Oh were they wrong…
Prime Retirement Aged Care Trust was managed by another company (owned by Lewski) called APCH Ltd. Lewski also owned yet another company called Retirement Guide, which provided management services to Prime Trust. Every time Prime Trust acquired a new retirement village, Retirement Guide was contracted to manage it.
Through these companies, Lewski was able to pay himself $93million of Prime Trust’s money through two very shady deals. Firstly, Lewski paid himself $33million for the simple task of listing Prime Trust on the Australian Stock Exchange, and then paid himself again when Retirement Guide sold the management rights to Prime Trust for $75million. However, “only” $60million was ever paid out. So this totals $93million Lewski was able to pay himself and there was nothing that investors could do about it.
Because Lewski changed the constitution of the trust without ever consulting with the investors, which gave him the authority to do so.
Easy. With a simple “disclosure statement” that stated a change in the trust’s constitution and then almost $100million in fees were paid out… yep, that’s all it took for Lewski to rob his investors. To “disclose” that he was about to defraud them of $93million.
The weak and impotent ASIC was of no help yet again, as they stated that “there is no evidence that the responsible entity has breached any of its statutory obligations”, as Lewski had disclosed his intentions before enacting them.
So according to ASIC, it’s perfectly legal to rob someone blind, so long as you tell them that you are going to do it first…
WHAT A LOAD OF CRAP!!!!!!
Where is all of the money now? According to evidence given in court, the $60million earned by the sale of the management rights to Prime Trust was put into a family trust and then gifted to Lewski’s two sons. The remaining $33million has also been put through family trusts.
Lewski himself has testified under oath that he has no assets and technically he isn’t lying. All assets are owned by the family trusts of which he isn’t a director to any of them.
All in all, $550million of investors money has been lost. Some of the investors fell into depression, some have been forced back to work at an age well beyond retirement age, and at least one poor investor has commit suicide.
Outraged investors have described Lewski’s actions as “criminal’, but sadly, that is not true at all. Everything was done within the confines of the law, and Lewski himself is a law abiding citizen.
What the hell kind of a person steals from the elderly anyway? I find abuse of the elderly to be the most morally reprehensible act imaginable.
I’ll end this article here… I’m getting way too angry. My blood pressure is rising and I can now feel my pulse in my left eyelid.
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Harrison Stamoudis is a freelance writer from Melbourne, Australia. After a lifetime of being praised for his intellect and being told “you can do anything you want”, he was doomed to grow up without guidance and direction (it’s difficult to pick a door when they are all open for you). Aimlessly wandered from one job to the next, he struggled to pick a path and stick to it. Harrison often had to work multiple jobs just to make ends meet and the work history list on his resume is a little longer than he cares to mention. Harrison is currently in the process of completing higher education (for a third time) so that he may make his next major career change, this time civil engineering.