The pumpkins and garish Halloween decorations are out on my front lawn. With the Halloween season upon us, my mind has become stuck on movie monsters and been mixed with compliance. This is the terrible result.
Vampires have taken many forms, mixing mythologies, weaknesses and desires. There is the regal version played by Bela Lugosi, the tortured soul of Angel, the vicious version played by Christopher Lee, the superhero version of Blade, the numerology of Count von Count, and the delicious Count Chocula. (Vampires don’t sparkle.)
Dracula has remained as the most vampirish of vampires. Unlike lesser vampires, Dracula glows with a veneer of aristocratic charm. He has supernatural strength, the ability to charm you into doing something you don’t want to do, and perhaps the ability to turn into a bat. With all those strengths come many weaknesses: crosses, holy water, garlic, and daylight. He would seem easy to defeat if he were not so charming.
When trying to draw a compliance comparison, one person came to mind when I thought of the Count: Bernie Madoff. His charm was his power, leading a flock believers, while all long he sucked the life out of them. He drained their money for his own use. It was daylight that killed hill. He pulled back the curtain of secrecy and exposed his operations to the sunlight. All of the wealth and all of the power turned to dust.
Ponzi schemers are the vampires of compliance. It’s relatively easy to repel them with a few splashes of garlic flavored due diligence. But once under their charm, they drain you. The Securities and Exchange Commission can try to swoop in like Van Helsing, but by then the ponzi scheme will have already claimed some victims.