[2022/10/19] Florida robinhoods

I’m not going to write about my problem today. I want to write about an interestingly bizarre podcast that I listened to this morning.

Long story short, an immigrated couple from Venezuela took advantage of the loopholes in Florida’s loosely controlled financial loan system for elite foreigners and swindled 10 million dollars. They impersonated the daughter of an imprisoned Venezuelan official, break into their luxurious mansion, took out loans on their behalf, sold their properties, and lives like queens and kings with little to no suspicions from the guards. They wouldn’t get caught if it wasn’t for their greed and their careless mistakes.

They wanted to do this so that they could escape poverty and revenge their corrupted government officials who led the country into economic distress. So they were like the Robinhoods of Florida, except that they only benefited themselves.

I thought the story was so amusing, almost too movie-like to believe in. The fact that people could lend out millions of dollars after reviewing someone’s passport and visiting their house, without any regard for identity checks or paperwork is hard for me to comprehend. I kept wondering about the role that wealth displays in money scams like this, because the sound of money was obviously attractive enough for loaners to skip over any screening processes and trust the borrower completely.

I also thought about the experiment done by a Chinese art school student, who faked socialite and enjoyed trying on expensive goods and services, as well as eating for free. You can read the article about her project here. She eventually found herself caught up in an ongoing backlash against materialism and wealth inequality in China. The gap between rich and poor has become an increasingly divisive social issue following China’s rapid rise in prosperity in recent decades.

Cases like this make me truly bugged about social statuses, wealth discrepancy, and the images of each of us individuals.

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