Some charities in South Africa may get a lesson in collateral damage. Some donation made by Dean Rees, accused of helping SA Ponz King, Barry Tannenbaum, bring in investors, may be coming back in a second life as a charitable donation to the victims of the scam. Before Rees moved to Switzerland (of all places), he was "earning" hundreds of million of rand in Ponzi commissions and shelling out pieces of it to charities to make him morally hedged. But now the trustee for Tannenbaum's estate has indicated that no matter how much the Johannesburg School for Blind, Low Vision and Multiple Disability Children might need the cash, the investors who wound up with slightly less than their promised 3%/wk return need it even more.
"If we find, eventually, that whatever monies those charities received were from ill-gotten gains, then investors would require us to go and get the money back -- even if it sounds morally repugnant," Shirish Kalian, a trustee of Tannenbaum's South African estate, said by phone from Johannesburg yesterday.
It's an impressive feat to make a guy who lied about investing in AIDS drugs look ethically superior but with any success, these investors may succeed in doing just that.
Tannenbaum-Linked Charitable Donations May Have to Be Returned [Bloomberg]