Stephen Walsh, former executive officer of WG Trading Company in Greenwich, CT, and one-time part owner of the NY Islanders hockey team found out from personal experience that after pleading guilty tin federal court to securities fraud and scamming over $554 million dollars from investors, that things done in secret and hiding one’s personal “dirty laundry,” will one day be exposed for all to see and that there is a cost to pay for such crimes. Walsh is required to give back over $50 million dollars, the amount prosecutors told the courts that Walsh misappropriated of monies entrusted to Walsh’s WG Trading Company. Walsh initiated a trading program called “Enhanced Stock Indexing” from 1996-2009 in order to receive money under that marketing guise. As monies increased to the tune of $131 million, Walsh and Paul Greenwood, WG’s former general partner, allegedly used some of the money to buy such items as stuffed teddy bears, cars, horses and houses. Walsh also is alleged to have made payments to his ex-wife from the money received that was supposed to be used for investments.
In the 13 years of their Ponzi scheme, Walsh and Greenwood lavished themselves with whatever they wanted to satisfy their outlandish lifestyles and selfish desires. At the beginning of the scam, they solicited $7.6 billion dollars in investments to create or invest in “Equity Index Arbitrage.” Walsh admitted in court that promissory notes in the tens of millions of dollars were offered to conceal the fraud. This is yet another perfect example of a Ponzi scheme that initially went unnoticed for years, but then was exposed for all to see. Walsh should have remembered two things and taken them to heart: 1.) No good deed goes unrewarded as well as no bad deed goes unpunished, 2.) As spoken by Jesus in Luke 12:3, “What you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors, will be proclaimed on the housetops.”
Walsh was a person who whom thousands of people entrusted their money in order to help them obtain a secure financial future. Walsh instead pocketed their money for his selfish desires. Money overtook Walsh’s thinking and blinded Walsh to the reality of what was truly important: People. Having money is not a bad thing, nor is making money a sinful thing. “It is the love of money,” according to 1 Timothy 6:10, “that is the root of all evil.”
Walsh became so caught up in what the company was doing and how to cover up the fraud, that he failed to see the forest for the trees. If history has shown one thing, dirty laundry cannot stay hidden before it starts to reek like a decaying dead animal. If sentenced to the 20 years, Walsh will have plenty of time to meditate on what greed did to destroy all that was precious and dear. Walsh may try to pass this off as a disease that consumed every fiber of his being and truth be known, it did. But Walsh knew what was going on, knew the risks and blindly plunged forward into the abyss of deception.
Walsh’s actions can be likened to that of Bruce Ismay and the Titanic disaster. Ismay thought that the Titanic was invincible against anything nature could throw at it. He ordered Captain E.J. Smith to push the ship through the icy waters of the North Atlantic faster than it should have been done. The ship collided with an iceberg, 1,500 people died and the rest is history. Pride became the downfall of Ismay and it was pride that was the fall of Walsh. No one is too strong not to be tempted unless they are dead, but all people have the chance to accept and invite the temptation in or reject it before it has a chance to enter the doorway,wrap its tentacles around them and force one to do its bidding. One day, Walsh will realize this that hidden dirty laundry will be exposed for all to see.
Opinion by John Thomas