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Richard Pryor Still The Mastermind Of World’s Major Financial Schemes

May 15, 2009

Each decade has its own version of ‘salami slicing,’ the practice of taking rounding-down cent-fractions and diverting them to offshore bank accounts undetected.  Superman III made the scheme famous in the 1980s, under the artful watch of Richard Pryor.

The 1990s, depending on whether you are a bigger fan of intentional or unintentional comedy, rehashed the plan in both Office Space and Hackers.  (Damn you, The Plague, and your DaVinci Virus.  I can’t believe you stole from me on a post-it!)

Just in the nick of time, the aughts have our very own sampling of delicious deli meat, and in real form no less.  This time though, the Swedish geniuses (can you say, new Halloween candy?) behind The Pirate Bay have introduced a new twist.

After losing a high profile civil and criminal suit against the motion picture and music recording industries leading to $3.6 million in damages and a year long prison sentence, the Pirate Bay founders have decided to stick it to the law firm responsible for their conviction with a little Pryor-like chicanery.

Modeled after a DDoS attack, or distributed denial of service, in which hackers shut down unsuspecting servers by making insane amounts of simultaneous data requests (or something), The Pirate Bay has asked its supporters to overflow the small Swedish firm Danwosky and Partners with… money.

The catch is that instead of rounding down small payments and sending it into their own bank accounts, The Pirate Bay wants sympathizers to donate the sum of its fine to the law firm in payments of less than a kronor (or $.12).  Danwosky’s bank, in theory, will require the firm to pay transaction fees exceeding the amount of each individual ‘donation,’ thus spiraling it into bankruptcy and the Pirate Bay founders, well, still into jail.  But revenge is a dish best served in tiny, tiny increments.

Obviously, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg and crew don’t care too much about intellectual property, but the homage is none-too-subtle.  If the planet’s foremost pirates can’t do much better than a tweak of the old financial gain/ruin through fractional payments playbook , what does this say about the state of our white collar criminal education system?  Is there anyone looking out for their interests, nurturing their creativity?  I, for one, am not comfortable living in a world that can’t move on from Ponzi or Prior.

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