All con men are searching for people who are more gullible than most. With Christians eager to believe and already sold on a tale of a man rising from the dead and willing to toss their money at someone promising them eternal life only after they die…well, it’s a bit like being a mosquito in a nudist colony.
That’s exactly what happened to a few Republicans in Texas who bought a man’s claims that he’d found Noah’s Ark hook, line, singer, pole, and boat:
“I ran into him at a conservative event,” state Rep. Bill Zedler told the Dallas Morning News. “What he had said was he was in the Mount Ararat region and they had come up with some stuff. He may have given me a DVD.”
In essence, they say they put their faith in a man who played at being godly and literally buttered his pitch in bible verse.
“You should have seen his house,” Zedler said. “He really played up his Christian credentials. On the ceiling there was a dome and around the dome there was a Bible verse. To me, he used that as a way to get us to try to put our guard down.”
Archer Bonemma, the businessman lawmakers have accused of fraud, pitched them on a startup which he said would reap large profits on energy trades. Shortly after the state representatives made their bets — which totaled $2.5 million — the startup filed for bankruptcy.
The Texas lawmakers said they think Bonemma targeted them because they were religious men.
The Texas Freedom Network threw a real zinger at the credulous lawmakers:
“Imagine that — misusing faith as a way to hurt people,” the liberal watchdog Texas Freedom Network wrote on their website Saturday. “Golly. How could these politicians have seen that coming?”
When the company collapsed, Christian, King, Paxton, Zedler and other investors sued, claiming they were victims of a Ponzi-like scheme. That’s also a bit ironic. The good-government, anti-corruption group Texans for Public Justice reports that those four politicians have received more than $620,000 since 2008 from Texans for Lawsuit Reform — a political action committee that wants to make it harder for Texans to sue when they think they have been wronged.
After a settlement of the lawsuit, the Pirin Electric investors will get back just a small fraction of the money they lost. Meanwhile, Christian, King, Paxton and Zedler want voters to trust them to make better decisions with taxpayer money than they do with their own.
As for the lawsuit against the schemer seeming to conflict with these lawmakers’ own position that lawsuits should be harder to launch, that law was only meant to stop people wronged by the wealthy from suing them. When the wealthy get screwed, then it’s sue-city, baby.
And the people running the scheme have it all wrong though. Just declare yourself a pastor and start a megachurch. You’ll make more money from all the same people, but then it’s “evangelism” and not “conning people.”