I’m sure we have all experienced, or know someone who has, either lent money to another and never got it back, or who was “wronged” out of a deal and lost their money. Sometimes these things happen as a result of honest misunderstandings, honest mistakes, or just plain unintended circumstances. The result is still the same. You are out of your hard earned dollars. But suppose the one who wronged you knew exactly what they were doing and planned it from the very beginning. Suppose that person was a good friend or family member that you trusted. What do you do? How do you handle it? What should you do if you were the one that did the wrong?
My story is simple. I made a close friend of mine the CFO of one of my company’s. We were doing very well financially and as time went on I needed to focus all my efforts on “rain making”. So I entrusted him with all the revenue and expenses of that entity. As a result of each of us focusing in our area, our numbers grew even higher. Each month he would distribute my share of the net profits to one of my many different bank accounts that were used for estate planning purposes. About 8 years into our business relationship, the IRS chose to do a full audit of my personal and business tax returns. Right before my CFO was supposed to meet with the IRS agents, he committed suicide. To say we were shocked was putting it mildly. You see, Bob was 45 years old, a Christian, a father of 3, a 5”10 185lb guy who was built like a linebacker, and who took “NO SHIT” from anyone. He was Boston strong and wouldn’t hesitate from physically “kicking your ass” if you started up with him.
As 50-75 friends immediately gathered at bobs house to support his wife and 3 kids, 5 of us guys went into Bob’s home office to talk. We were all wondering why Bob killed himself. It wasn’t until one of us touched the mouse on his computer did we learn the ugly truth. The computer screen went from black to awake. And there for us all to see was a 3 page suicide letter directed to me, and one to his wife. Bob was always very neat and organized.
In his letter to me, he explained how he systematically stole 1 million dollars from me over a 3 year period. He told me I was a great friend and employer and that the money got the best of him. He also begged me not to go after his family for the money, as they had no idea what he did. Bob explained that he spent all the money he stole and that all he left his wife and three kids was a life insurance policy. Interestingly enough, the death benefit was for 1 million dollars.., and he even stole the money out of my personal bank account to pay the premium.
So what do you do? How would you handle this? To start, there is no right or wrong answer.
For me, yeah, I was upset. No, I did not pursue his family for the money. They were innocent casualties, and if not for the life insurance money, would have been homeless. I could recoup my losses, they could not. Besides, I believed it was bad karma for me to go after them.
At the time, and even today, I still love Bob. He was a great guy who made a human mistake. Had Bob come to me and told me what he had done, I would have been angry, but I would have allowed him to work off his debt. I would have understood and appreciated how difficult it would have been for him to do that. If you’re in a situation like this or know someone who is, here are some suggestions;
If you are the one that DID the wrong:
-Speak to your spouse, friends, religious leader or a licensed therapist.
-Be honest about what you did and what you are planning on doing. Suicide is a terrible option.
-Go to the one you wronged and tell them how horrible you feel, and ask them to work on some sort of repayment plan with you.
-Allow the one you wronged to vent if they need to as well.
If you are the one that WAS wronged:
-Express your feeling with those you care to.
-Try to understand what allowed the other person to have done this.
-If they come to you, accept their apology, this will help you grow as a person.
-Understand that everyone makes mistakes and sometimes we are the recipients.
And last, I suggest that both parties seek an agreeable solution. Keeping the energy of anger, hate, deceit, etc. within yourself will only hurt you later in other areas of your life.
Okay guys, whaddaya think?
Have you had a similar experience? Can you relate? Share your thoughts, your stories, your questions and advice so we can all learn from one another and make better decisions. Plus, you’ll get some huge karma points for doing so.
Have a great day and a great life.
A regular guy, another opinion.SM