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Friday, February 4, 2011

Can you imagine yourself doing this?

The NY Post ran the following article about a sociopath yesterday:  

Bogus Belgian blue-blood is headed behind bars

A bogus Belgian blue-blood who swindled friends and acquaintances out of $7 million is heading to prison for at least three years after pleaded guilty to his big-money Ponzi scheme today.

Guy De Chimay, 47 -- whose good suits and good looks give him the appearance of having just stepped out of a board meeting instead of a Riker's cell -- admitted he lied to victims about his assets, his connections to the Belgian royal family, and an imaginary investment fund he promised sky-high returns on.

"I did not have the intention or ability to return the investors' money," he told Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Gregory Carro, in pleading guilty to first degree grand larceny and related crimes.

Guy de Chimay.

The dashing swindler told victims he was a member of the Chimay royal family of Belgium, with access to "family money" totaling more than $200 million.

And though he wasn't royalty -- De Chimay was actually born in Canada -- he lived royally while the scheme lasted, catching up on his credit cards, footing the bill on his divorce settlement, renting a summer home in the Hamptons, and paying off previous investors to keep his massive Ponzi scheme afloat, prosecutors said.

There was nothing particularly new or noteworthy about this story, but it illustrates one crucial point about recognizing sociopaths. If you're ever wondering whether someone is a sociopath, ask yourself the question, can you imagine yourself doing that? If not, the odds are much greater that the person in question is a sociopath. 

I can imagine myself doing all sorts of bad things. I could imagine lying about my background. I could see myself doing insider trading. I think that under the right circumstances, I'd even be capable of murder.

But one thing I could never, never imagine doing is living high off the proceeds from ripping my friends off and then actually enjoying that high life, even while knowing that I was soon to earn their undying enmity.

That's the crucial difference between us and sociopaths: they can actually enjoy themselves in those circumstances. That's what it means to have absolutely no conscience.


Anonymous said...

From the looks of it Guy de Chimay is definitely a sociopath. But here's the strange thing so are some if his victims. James Woodyatt worked as a very senior man 'in' a feeder fund for Bernie Maddoff. The company xG Technology who GdeC was due to buy $6m worth of shares from are stuffed full of sociopaths, and are essentially a scam. The other victims I don't know about, but these two were definitely greedy enough to suspend belief for a while.

John Craig said...

Anonymous --
Thank you, I hadn't realized that, had only read the NY Post account. I guess there's a certain amount of poetic justice there.

Anonymous said...

I met with de Chimay in 2003 to discuss the long/short momentum fund he had at the time. He couldn't explain his strategy to me and the returns were suspiciously high--in retrospect, it must have been a scam. Glad to hear he got caught.

John Craig said...

Anonymous -- You could/should have reported him to the SEC. Think how gratifying that would have been for you.

Amazing that he was still able to get customers despite the fact that he couldn't explain his "strategy."

Anonymous said...

Anon sounds like you are some kind of wannabe shrink on line...
I wonder if you would identify yourself and mention your theory to Col. Coleman. He probably would blow your stinkin head off!

John Craig said...

Who is Col. Coleman? I couldn't find anybody online who seemed a likely candidate.

Anonymous said...

Col. John Coleman, CEO of xG
Also George Schmitt, the most respected man in telco history is head of an extremely large shareholding in xG and has committed to purchase a boatload of shares in xG.
xG has some resistance from hard headed anonymous stalkers for years now.

John Craig said...

If John Coleman is the Colonel who was with the first Marine Expeditionary Force in Iraq, then I thank him for his service. But by saying that he would blow somebody's head off -- even metaphorically -- for insulting him or his corporation, you're actually making the case that he behaves like a sociopath.

Anonymous said...

Didn´t think I was making a case for anything like that...I´m not a lawyer, this blog is not a court of law, and I think you are drama starved.

John Craig said...

This blog isn't a court of law, and I probably am drama starved, but even if you weren't doing so on purpose, you did make him sound a little like a sociopath.

Anonymous said...

If you want sociopath, look at the clown here revering Coleman and Schmitt of xG. Ten'll get you one he's a certain sociopathic boiler room stock promoter who used to sell XGT and now attacks anybody and everybody who's not 100% pro-xG.

Truth is, Coleman and Schmitt were brought on to xG to try to give the company some credibility, and they were given substantial stock options to do so. It ain't working.

Anonymous said...

There is another anonymous psycho stalker of xG and me. Thankfully these few yet persistent mongoloids are gutless and will never reveal themselves. It´s not easy being a superman.

Anonymous said...

Do I need different glasses? I just do not see the "good" looks.

I heard he was married? Who was he married to?

John Craig said...

Anon --
I just turned to this post when I posted your comment, and the picture no longer comes up, at least in my computer I don't know if you're referring to that, or if you got the picture and disagree about his looks. From what I remember, I agree that he's not particularly goo-looking.

Not sure whom he was married to.