Last year Ian Thow, vice-president of Victoria, BC’s local Berkshire Investment Group branch, skipped the country and left dozens of local creditors and investors in the lurch for tens of millions of dollars. While some had wealth to spare, it’s difficult not to feel for those who mortgaged away homes and retirement savings.
However, this April, Berkshire reached confidential settlements with a good number of Thow’s victims, and continues to negotiate.
So maybe we can finally speak more frankly, without feeling as if we’re salting open wounds with personal insults.
Were these investors really only “victims”? And what was the general public’s role in this massive scam that endured for years?
On one level, it’s open-and-shut: Thow apparently told these people he’d invest their money, and instead pocketed it. He’s a criminal; everyone else a victim. That’s the story as presented, anyway.
But examining public perceptions of this prominent man over the years reveals a more unsettling picture of the complicity of everyone else.