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Rich people who became poor that didn’t live to tell about it

Introduction

First, let’s define losing one’s wealth or poverty. We can define it as losing all your money, losing all your loved ones, or losing your reputation. In this article, we define it as all three, but the result we are highlighting is the same, people whose downfall directly led to their death. Why so grim? Simple, this section is The Human Story, a time to soak in the misery of others as a means to eventually feel better. There is a secondary purpose. Since many of us can see part of ourselves in these stories about inherent imperfection, we can be less judgemental of others.  After all, let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at others. That is one way we can feel better about ourselves and improve by exploring another’s misery.

let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone

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Jeffrey Epstein generated by AI

Consider the high price of supporting those who profit from illegal immigration – the smugglers. This not only affects the immigrants who often give up their life savings to them but also impacts poorer, often immigrant communities that fled people like smugglers only to have them follow them to their new land. These ‘immigrants’ seeking a better life are essentially paying to jump the immigration queue, cheat per se, with more money that could be spent on legal help to go to the front of the line or contribute to their new community. 

Yes, immigration is hard and yes we all want a better life for ourselves, and yes immigration can be beneficial, and yes laws should be changed, and yes these people should be helped, but is helping human smugglers the answer when we gather in protest of those who disagree with us? It’s crucial to understand that not everyone in favor of illegal immigration has good intentions, some are rather terrible. Similarly, those against illegal immigration aren’t all bad, as they perceive the same problem and its solutions from a different perspective. Likewise, not all illegal immigrants have bad intentions or are necessarily bad people, but no country can handle an unlimited amount of immigrants, which is why every country has quotas, based on their internal capabilities. As a writer born to parents who escaped terrible situations, I believe that it’s also unfair to equate immigrants with illegal immigrants. For me, it’s safe to say that this offends many legal immigrants and their children, and it’s annoying for people to call these immigrants who oppose illegal immigration racist or anti-immigrant, especially considering what many went through. Also note these arguments don’t apply to refugees as refugees have limited legal recourse, which is why they are legally allowed to jump the immigration line if their refugee claims are deemed to be valid. 

Let’s take a look at the high-profile case of Jeffrey Epstein, an infamous figure in the world of human smuggling who supposedly made all of his billions legally, but who didn’t. This man had politicians from all walks of life admiring his extravagant lifestyle. They often visited his luxurious private island. Everything started to crumble when he was imprisoned for trafficking underage girls, but not immigrants.  In August 2019, Epstein tragically ended his life in his prison cell. He didn’t lose all of his money, but he did lose his entire reputation for something he could never recover from, which in essence is more important than losing all of your money, hence why this article states that he lost everything. Conspiracy theories abound about his death, and why shouldn’t they? He was involved with the shadiest of individuals and whether someone killed him or he committed suicide, he played with fire which in the end is suicide no matter how you look at it.

Think about those who have lost it all and fallen into the dark world of human trafficking. Even this billionaire couldn’t dodge its devastating outcomes, which ultimately led to his death, as he lost everything by losing his reputation. Traffickers mostly capitalize on the despair of people seeking a better life. It is these people who are most at risk, without the resources of a billionaire. Sadly, these traffickers often exploit those they promise to assist, including children who tragically end up in the sex trade. So whether rich or poor, watch out as many stories don’t always end well.

Jeffrey Epstein, Illegal immigration, Human trafficking

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Typical investment firm office AI

Let’s face it, a stock market trader’s job is a form of gambling with a huge potential for losses, even if it does require an analytical mind to minimize those losses. However, it’s a job that is not meant for a vast majority of individuals, especially competitive and compulsive individuals. The chance for huge losses is always there no matter how experienced one is. Alexander Kearns is the ultimate poster child that emphasizes the need for training, before trading.  His name may not ring a bell because he wasn’t a billionaire, just a 20-year-old university student doing well trading stocks on a trading site called Robinhood which promises no fees. At one point, as is normal in trading platforms, his balance showed a negative figure in the high digits, roughly a $700,000 loss, until the trades settled, even though another screen showed that he had $16,000. Robinhood customer service when contacted by Alexander never explained the process to him properly, so Alexander thinking he had lost over 700k, when in fact he had $16,000 in profit, committed suicide on June 20th, 2020.  Robinhood was rightfully sued by his family for luring inexperienced investors to take big risks in sophisticated financial instruments without providing the necessary customer support and investment guidance. That case was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount. FINRA, a regulatory agency, ordered Robinhood to pay $70 million total in fines to the government and to all of its customers who suffered from a lack of training or customer service since 2017.

The onus of media attention was on trading apps, but what about other forms of gambling, like government-sponsored gambling? Recovery numbers for gambling addiction and suicide rates vary so much depending on which organization is performing the study, and what the metrics of success are. If success is measured in never falling off the wagon until one dies, the success rate is very low. The one commonality in any study, using any metric for success, is that gamblers have by far the highest suicide rates and by far the lowest recovery rates of any addiction. We see all sorts of commercials about responsible gambling, and self-exclusion. However are any of these policies truly enacted, even in government establishments? That’s because the government is no different than businesses. All they want is money and they don’t care about who lives or dies unless there’s a big public outcry. Sure governments spend their wealth from gamblers to supposedly help people, but businesses/casinos help people as well by paying salaries, and taxes and in some cases providing useful products and services, so how is the government better? Is the human cost worth it? We have no answers as we are just posing questions and seeing how the lesson of Alexander Kearns can be applied elsewhere.

Alexander Kearns, Robinhood

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Chris Farley AI

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) has universal applications. One of them is in the treatment of addictions. The concept is that some people can stop being addicted to a certain degree by changing their behaviour. That’s common sense, right? It’s not that simple though. Here’s one dilemma. It generally takes 3 months of abstinence for your brain to significantly adjust to these behavioural changes and 2 years for it to completely adjust. A few years back these numbers were deemed to be fact. Nowadays these facts have changed as this period varies from person to person. Regardless, each time someone falls off the wagon, the recovery time already spent can be lost, if the recurrence is not attended to. In recent years, using again is not deemed a failure, but steps to success. Alas those steps require a lot of support, as personal willpower is not enough. Addictions are stronger than anything. It’s a vicious cycle that never ends for many. The question and trick is how do you keep people away from the stuff that kills them for whatever consecutive period of time they need to maintain abstinence? 

Fans of Saturday Night Live will remember Chris Farley. On December 18, 1997, Farley was found dead in his apartment in Chicago due to a drug overdose. The autopsy revealed a lethal combination of cocaine and morphine, known as a ‘speedball’. His death was ruled as an accidental overdose, but many view it as a suicide given his ongoing struggles with substance abuse and mental health issues. Farley was in and out of drug rehab centers 17 times, obviously depleting his vast wealth. At what point do you give up?  Chris unfortunately found that number and he’s tragically gone.

Chris Farley

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Tourist looking down on a Greek Beach

Back in the late 2000s, the EU first introduced the Eurozone and the Euro as its default currency. Almost immediately this new zone received its first test. When the USA suffered its banking crisis, much of the world suffered, including a group of European countries affectionately called P.I.G.S (Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain with Ireland being left out of the designation) by wonderfully racist free European government officials from other European countries.  When Greece, with overwhelming support from its citizens in democratic elections didn’t accept their initial debt packages because they were destroying the country and its people, all gloves were off and the German finance minister and prime minister at the time took ‘leadership’ reigns of the EU and started implementing more failed policies and attacking the people of Greece each time their policies failed miserably. The personal attacks on all Greek citizens were done with stereotypical slurs that had no basis in fact destroying the reputation of all Greek individuals everywhere. The problem with all of the solutions implemented was that even though they had worked for Germany many decades prior, Greece did not have the same industries, economy or even topography for these to work. In fact Greece is closer to Florida with tourism and agriculture the main industries with a dry rocky topography like California’s. Germany is more like the US rust belt and deep south in terms of industries and natural resources. One size fits all type solutions rarely work. When the US banking crisis hit, Greece had a debt of 127% of its GDP in 2008. This is comparable to the size of the currently unmanageable debt in the USA. When the EU took over Greece and tried to fix this with EU policies over the next three years, ignoring the elected Greek governments suggestions, Greece’s debt only grew further, reaching 177% of its GDP by 2011, with an economy that shrank by 30% in the three years that EU policies were implemented. Today thanks to long-standing Greek ingenuity and the historically strong Greek work ethic, Greece currently outperforms Germany and its current 32-hour work week, in terms of economic growth, despite failed EU policies. At this rate, pretty soon, Greece will be bailing out Germany while showing people how to treat borrowers and provide customized and researched solutions, tailored to the unique needs of each country.

The failed policies of 2008 implemented by the EU and the ethnic demonizations that followed, had disastrous consequences for the country of Greece, and especially it’s people and expatriates. The suicide rate increased by 30-50% depending on which study is referenced. One such person who suffered was Leonidas Vournazos, a shipping and oil magnate who pretty much lost all of his wealth as his family business died in the few years after the economic crisis of 2008. Vounazos’ financial troubles were compounded by personal issues. He was reportedly suffering from depression, which was exacerbated by his business failures. His mental health deteriorated, and he became increasingly isolated from his friends and family. In 2012, Vounazos tragically took his own life. His suicide shocked the Greek business community and highlighted the severe impact of the financial crisis on individuals and businesses. His story serves as a stark reminder of the human cost of economic downturns, especially manufactured ones coupled with the humiliation of the population.

Leonidas Vournazos

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Town and Country (Jeffery Epstein), Business Insider (Alexander Kearns), FINRA (Alexander Kearns), Entertainment Weekly (Chris Farley), Prove the author wrong with data (Leonidas Vournazos)

All images are AI-generated using Fotor and are not meant to describe the subject matter they portray factually, but figuratively.

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