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College kids saves hundreds of thousands of acres of land with fraud


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College kids saves hundreds of thousands of acres of land with fraud
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Wrao
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2008-12-22, 18:50

This was just linked to me:
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/1...798/649/675666

http://origin.sltrib.com/ci_11274601


So this kid put up fraudulent bids in a public auction which will cause the auction to be rescheduled to February, which will be during Obama's administration, which has already expressed a desire to protect the lands in question. Effectively saving them from being sold to mining operations that were otherwise involved in the bidding. I've got to admit, I lol'd.
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Dave
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2008-12-22, 18:57

That's pretty epic. I hope they don't throw the book at him.
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Brave Ulysses
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2008-12-22, 19:56

Having visited those areas and being a huge fan of the natural beauty that is the majority of Utah I applaud this kid's actions and am very grateful. I hope things work out on the legal side for him.
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curiousuburb
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2008-12-22, 20:01

Hell, they should make him a Park Ranger
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zsummers
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2008-12-22, 20:09

Please tell me he got dressed up like a fat cat to do it. The only thing that could make me like him more is if he wore an ascot, monacle, and fake mustache to the auction.

Bravo.

"How could you falter / when you're the Rock of Gibralter? / I had to get off the boat so I could walk on water. / This ain't no tall order. / This is nothing to me. / Difficult takes a day. / Impossible takes a week."
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Swox
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2008-12-23, 02:08

That is SO awesome.

And @zsummers
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kieran
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2008-12-23, 08:37

I don't know, I don't think anyone should be praising this kid.

He fraudulently bid on land that was legally for sale. Now, I'm not getting into the whole debate about saving public land or whatever, but what this kid did is fraud, plain and simple.

He should be punished to the full extent of the law and no one should be crying about it.

He broke the law and should be punished for doing so. Just because he may have been 'acting for the public good" does not mean that he should be hailed as a hero or whatever.

Send the guy to jail for his actions and put the land up for re-bid. Stupid shit like this is just going to make it harder for legitimate bidders to participate in auctions like this.
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Taskiss
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2008-12-23, 08:56

Quote:
Originally Posted by kieran View Post
He broke the law and should be punished for doing so. Just because he may have been 'acting for the public good" does not mean that he should be hailed as a hero or whatever.
I agree. Concerned citizens should use the court or start a grass-roots fund raiser to buy the property, not resort to criminal behavior.
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torifile
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2008-12-23, 09:24

Eh. A little civil disobedience every now and then never hurt anyone. Sure, he should be sentenced to jail and he should get his sentence commuted since that's a legal way around the law. No complaints there, right?
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kieran
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2008-12-23, 09:40

Quote:
Originally Posted by torifile View Post
Eh. A little civil disobedience every now and then never hurt anyone. Sure, he should be sentenced to jail and he should get his sentence commuted since that's a legal way around the law. No complaints there, right?
You say that he hasn't hurt anyone, but what about the people who ended up buying the property that he artificially bid up by up to $500,000. The article states that he bid up other properties as well as winning some others.

Just because no one was hurt physically, some people were hurt financially.

Civil disobedience is all fine and dandy, but don't do it if it is going to cause other people harm.
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torifile
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2008-12-23, 10:32

Quote:
Originally Posted by kieran View Post
You say that he hasn't hurt anyone, but what about the people who ended up buying the property that he artificially bid up by up to $500,000. The article states that he bid up other properties as well as winning some others.

Just because no one was hurt physically, some people were hurt financially.

Civil disobedience is all fine and dandy, but don't do it if it is going to cause other people harm.
They have 10 days to rescind their bids (source). He is willing to go to jail for it. That should be that.
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Stone Of Love
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2008-12-23, 10:37

Quote:
Originally Posted by kieran View Post
Just because no one was hurt physically, some people were hurt financially.
?????

He FORCED them to keep bidding?

Your reaching on this one big boy!
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kieran
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2008-12-23, 10:56

Quote:
Originally Posted by torifile View Post
They have 10 days to rescind their bids (source). He is willing to go to jail for it. That should be that.
Didn't know about the ability to rescind the bids.

If he wants to go to jail to protest this, that's fine. I still don't think anyone should be praising him for doing what he did.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stone Of Love View Post
?????

He FORCED them to keep bidding?

Your reaching on this one big boy!

Good point, but the fact still remains that they paid more than they should have because of some stupid kid trying to make a point by screwing with the system.

There are other ways to get a point across than messing with a legal auction.
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torifile
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2008-12-23, 11:03

Quote:
Good point, but the fact still remains that they paid more than they should have because of some stupid kid trying to make a point by screwing with the system.

There are other ways to get a point across than messing with a legal auction
Sure enough, but it *is* a free country. He's free to break the rules if he likes, as long as he's willing to take the consequences.

That said, how many of us have been involved in eBay auctions that seemed like something was strange with the bidding? Did you keep bidding? If so, you kind of have no one to blame but yourself for paying too much, right? You think eBay will let you off the hook even if something like that goes on? At least these guys get an out.
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DMBand0026
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2008-12-23, 12:05

I wouldn't call the kid a hero, but I don't disagree with what he did. He found a cause that he felt worthy enough to spend his time on, and possibly go to jail for. How many of us can say there is something in this world important enough to us that we'd go to jail for? Outside of things like family, of course.

He should be punished for what he did. He had to know going in to this that there would be consequences for his actions. However, I don't think they should go after him for everything he's worth. He didn't force anyone to bid higher on anything, so he didn't directly hurt anyone financially.

Hopefully whoever is the judge in his case goes easy on him. I think he did a great thing.

Come waste your time with me
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kieran
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2008-12-23, 13:29

Quote:
Originally Posted by DMBand0026 View Post
Hopefully whoever is the judge in his case goes easy on him. I think he did a great thing.
That kind of quote is exactly what I was getting at when I said that people shouldn't treat him as a hero or whatever.

He broke the law. No judge should go easy on him because you think "he did a great thing." That's bullshit.

A judge shouldn't be allowed to inject his personal opinion on the matter into it. The judge is there to enforce the law as written. I don't think there is a provision in the law that allows a judge to go easy on them because he "did a great thing."
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Maciej
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2008-12-23, 13:56

Haha, this thing makes for comical news story. It seems stupid that a lease can go forward like this, despite the fact that it's popularly opposed. Who makes these decisions?

User formally known as Sh0eWax
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torifile
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2008-12-23, 14:00

Quote:
Originally Posted by kieran View Post
That kind of quote is exactly what I was getting at when I said that people shouldn't treat him as a hero or whatever.

He broke the law. No judge should go easy on him because you think "he did a great thing." That's bullshit.

A judge shouldn't be allowed to inject his personal opinion on the matter into it. The judge is there to enforce the law as written. I don't think there is a provision in the law that allows a judge to go easy on them because he "did a great thing."
Judges interpret the law *all the time*! The executive branch is there to execute it, the legislative branch writes it and the judges interpret it. That's how it's always been and how it should be.

There is a lot of judgment in sentencing. I guess that's why they're called "judges" . A good judge, in my opinion, looks at not just the "crime" but also the motive and the intent. There's so much about any particular case that's not cut and dry.

Hell, is it even a crime to bid in an auction when you have no intention of paying? I dunno. I'm just asking. Breach of contract isn't typically a criminal offense, is it? Civil liability, sure, but you don't go to jail for a civil offense, right?
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apple007
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2008-12-23, 15:48

There's a big difference between breach of contract and fraud.

And judges are charged with ruling on matters of law, not deciding what the law is, or what the law should be.
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DMBand0026
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2008-12-23, 15:57

Quote:
Originally Posted by kieran View Post
That kind of quote is exactly what I was getting at when I said that people shouldn't treat him as a hero or whatever.

He broke the law. No judge should go easy on him because you think "he did a great thing." That's bullshit.

A judge shouldn't be allowed to inject his personal opinion on the matter into it. The judge is there to enforce the law as written. I don't think there is a provision in the law that allows a judge to go easy on them because he "did a great thing."
Tori is absolutely right, that's why they're called judges. They get to use their judgement on matters like this. That's why there are minimum and maximum punishments for breaking laws. That's why you hear things like, "fines up to $10,000" or, "up to 25 years in prison." The jury gets to decide if the person broke the law in question. The judge gets to decide what the intent was and what harm was done.

I'm saying that what he did seems like a victimless crime to me. I know there's no such thing, but as previously stated, he didn't force anyone into a bidding war with him.

Yes, he broke the law. No, I don't think they should give him the maximum sentence. There are too many people out there trying to ruin the earth. There's no reason to go crazy when one person tries to save it. It's a great effort on his part and I hope, in spite of what you obviously feel, that they go easy on him.

Come waste your time with me
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kieran
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2008-12-23, 16:19

Edit: I'm stupid and can't remember what I wrote.

I just think that this guy should get punished for committing fraud. Whatever that may be, I'm fine with it. My problem is that some people think it's good that he committed a crime and he should be praised for that.

I'm all for saving public lands and what not, but in this case, it was a legitimate auction that he took part in knowing that he wasn't going to pay. That's fraud, plain and simple.

One of the quotes in the article said something about this being postponed until February, when the Obama administration will be in office. It went on to say that hopefully the new administration won't be in a rush to prosecute. What? That's ridiculous. The dude committed a crime, let him be punished and move on. ( I know I might be entering some dangerous territory with the political spin, but I was just mentioning a quote from the article. I don't care who is in office. That was this person's goal, to stop the auction until a new administration came in, and he accomplished it. What I'm saying is that just because the new administration may agree with him, they still have the obligation to prosecute him.)

I think that's about it for me.

The guy should be punished for committing fraud, plain and simple. Whatever that punishment may be, he deserves it.

Last edited by kieran : 2008-12-23 at 16:38.
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DMBand0026
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2008-12-23, 16:27

I think we're not actually disagreeing here, it just seems like it

I agree, he committed a crime and should be punished. However, it brings ethical questions in to play that many other crimes do not. I'm saying that I hope the judge considers the ethical aspect here as opposed to just the legal aspect.

You're 100% correct, according to the law, he committed fraud. If he gets punished, that should be expected, I'm sure he expected it. If he doesn't, I don't see the problem with it. He did something not a lot of people have the balls to do.

Come waste your time with me
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tomoe
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2008-12-23, 16:36

Quote:
Originally Posted by kieran View Post
He should be punished to the full extent of the law and no one should be crying about it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kieran View Post
I never said that this person should be punished to "the full extent of the law." Someone else said that and I guess that it's been attributed to me.
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kieran
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2008-12-23, 16:38

Thanks for pointing that out.

I'm a little slow sometimes.

I apologize.
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apple007
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2008-12-23, 17:21

Quote:
Originally Posted by DMBand0026 View Post
I'm saying that what he did seems like a victimless crime to me. I know there's no such thing, but as previously stated, he didn't force anyone into a bidding war with him.
You mean, except the other bidders, and American taxpayers who paid for the auctions, and who stood to gain from the lease contract(s)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DMBand0026 View Post
I agree, he committed a crime and should be punished. However, it brings ethical questions in to play that many other crimes do not. I'm saying that I hope the judge considers the ethical aspect here as opposed to just the legal aspect.
Rabid anti-abortion activists are 100% sure they're doing the right thing and saving lives. But plenty of liberals want them to go to jail for sitting on the sidewalk in front of the clinics.

Ethics are in the eyes of the beholder. Do the crime, do the time. Plain and simple ... on BOTH sides of the political aisle.
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zsummers
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2008-12-23, 17:31

And we shouldn't view the Boston Tea Party participants and Gandhi as heroes either. Punish them and do it quietly and strictly in accordance with sentencing guidelines. Civil disobedience has no place.

If you think the law is always right and should always be followed, you don't pay very much attention to the character and imperfections of the people who make it.

And a judge generally does have discretion to "take it easy" when sentencing in matters like this, precisely because of the imperfection of law. It's based on the principle of equity ("a branch of law that developed alongside common law in order to remedy some of its defects in fairness and justice"), a principle of law far older than our court system, and well-established. A jury, more controversially, has the option of nullification--returning a not-guilty verdict even if his conduct fits the bill.

But this is silly. I hope this kid gets off, founds an organization, and keeps up his bold ways. He's better suited to be a leader than most of these schmucks. And he's braver than I'll ever be.

P.S. And to be clear: I do not agree with anti-abortion protestors, but their civil disobedience for a cause they believe in is admirable, even if I find what they do to generally add only difficulty and stress to a most difficult process. And so long as things don't go over the line (no violence or intimidation--in either this kid's case or the protestors case), I believe that should be factored in "judging" these people.

"How could you falter / when you're the Rock of Gibralter? / I had to get off the boat so I could walk on water. / This ain't no tall order. / This is nothing to me. / Difficult takes a day. / Impossible takes a week."

Last edited by zsummers : 2008-12-23 at 17:35. Reason: updated for apple07's post...
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zsummers
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2008-12-23, 17:45

Also, a silly fact that I was reminded of recently: the Boston Tea Party participants were protesting a tax on tea. Seriously--nothing noble... just some pennies on the beverage. They caused millions and millions of dollars worth of damage to do it. And they dressed up like Native Americans for, essentially, fun. They weren't fooling anyone.

No wonder this country is strange, greedy, freedom-hungry, grand, and terrible all at the same time. What a wonderful auspice to give kids when they are growing up--the true, slightly less noble version of the Boston Tea Party.

"How could you falter / when you're the Rock of Gibralter? / I had to get off the boat so I could walk on water. / This ain't no tall order. / This is nothing to me. / Difficult takes a day. / Impossible takes a week."
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apple007
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2008-12-23, 17:53

Quote:
Originally Posted by zsummers View Post
And we shouldn't view the Boston Tea Party participants and Gandhi as heroes either. Punish them and do it quietly and strictly in accordance with sentencing guidelines. Civil disobedience has no place.

If you think the law is always right and should always be followed, you don't pay very much attention to the character and imperfections of the people who make it. ...
The very essence of civil disobedience is a willingness to be punished for one's actions. In such cases, "letting them off easy" is often counterproductive to the cause. More often than not, it's the punishment that brings attention to the issue rather than the underlying act.

If this guy is sincere, he should be perfectly happy to accept whatever punishment is doled out to him. Otherwise, he's no different than a million other pranksters who only show remorse when punishment looms.
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Taskiss
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2008-12-23, 18:01

Quote:
Originally Posted by zsummers View Post
And we shouldn't view the Boston Tea Party participants and Gandhi as heroes either. Punish them and do it quietly and strictly in accordance with sentencing guidelines. Civil disobedience has no place.
That's what Ben Franklin thought, too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wiki
In the colonies, Benjamin Franklin stated that the destroyed tea must be repaid, all 70,000 pounds.
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Wrao
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2008-12-23, 18:02

He already stated that he is willing to goto jail if that is to be his fate. He has resolved himself fully. The only debate is exterior to that which is, does he deserve to goto jail, and in that case, it is upto the Judge to decide. "time" does not have to mean jail-time, it can also mean any level of probation, civil service or whatever. The important thing about the justice system is that the court determines whether justice is served, nowhere is it written that sending someone to jail automatically constitutes justice being served. We just use jails because they are convenient(personally I feel that it is lazy) way of 'resolving' something.

Believing that the law is always infallible is, imo, a very intellectually lazy position, that risks undermining everything that this nation was founded on.
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