6 Hilariously Blatant Episodes Of Greed And Corruption
Seeing as how the most big-hearted politician's agenda can be derailed by their own roaring dumbassery, common sense dictates that we citizens temper our expectations of our government overlords. The best traits we can ask for are stuff like, "She has nice handwriting ... for a person ... from Illinois."
Of course, we're talking about normal public officials here. There's also that special breed of government employee who's so unilaterally bugfuck that they don't simply wipe their asses with the social contract -- they make prolonged, unflinching eye contact with you while they're doing so. We mean people like ...
Mayor Uses Instagram To Brag About How Corrupt She Is
Lidiane Leite's rags-to-stolen-riches story begins with a humble girl selling milk door-to-door in one of the poorest municipalities in Brazil, Bom Jardim. Then something amazing happened! The milk maid's boyfriend was barred from running for mayor (because of allegations of corruption), and Leite ran in his place. And she won! Mayor Milk Seller got right to work turning her poverty-stricken town into a thriving community reinvigorated with youth and more calcium than anyone could ask for.
"Anyone caught using soy milk will be executed on the spot."
Right off the bat, Leite delegated the day-to-day work to her boyfriend (who legally couldn't be mayor after accusations of, again, corruption), moved four hours away to a much richer city called Sao Luis, and ordered her staff around via fucking WhatsApp. Yes, an app. Imagine how quickly we'd scream for impeachment if the president texted his way through a single cabinet meeting while living it up in Key West.
He can't even bare his toes without somebody giving him shit, remember?
And oh, did she ever live it up. A typical Leite work day involved hot parties, expensive cars, fine clothing, top-of-the-line champagne, and flooding Instagram with trolling, braggadocious selfies showing off how rich she was. She even captioned one photo with, "I can buy whatever I want, I'm going to spend money on what I want, and I don't care what people say about me." As far as inspirational political quotes go, it's not quite "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself," but it's a start.
"We shall #NoFilter on the beaches; we shall keep it 100 on the landing grounds;
we shall duck face in the fields and in the streets; we shall never be off fleek."
Adopting the Kardashian lifestyle would be bad enough if the money was hers. But, of course, it wasn't. Leite had stolen $4 million from her municipality -- which needed every penny of it, remember -- to fund her lifestyle. She would do shit like invent fake companies, award them contracts to build new schools, and then steal the money to buy ridiculous amounts of eyeliner. We're sure dirt-poor villages like Turi do Augusto, whose one school looks like this, completely understood:
Blackboards, full desks, and pencils just spoil the little brats anyway.
Finally, in August 2015, authorities issued a warrant for her arrest, presumably after studying Instagram for 10 seconds and concluding, "Come on, really?" After 39 days of being the most glamorous fugitive she could be, Leite turned herself in. Her lawyer blames youth and inexperience, because who among us hasn't stolen millions from the poor and blown it all on caviar, gold iPhones, and body shots?
Councilman Scraps Town's Tornado Sirens (For A $37.95 Payday)
Some people don't go corrupt for the money -- they do it for the art. That's the only way to explain the alleged actions of former Luther, Oklahoma, Councilman James Richard Smith's actions, which cost his city thousands and netted him just enough cash for a tank of gas.
In 2015, Smith, while still a councilman, noticed Luther had just received six brand-new tornado sirens and saw a chance to make some serious coin. If he had just lifted them like a normal person, he might well have actually made some money -- the sirens were worth thousands each. But he didn't do that. Instead, while overseeing a group of prisoners cleaning up the city during a work program, witnesses say, he hired (i.e. forced) three of them to strip all the aluminum and copper from the sirens. That's like the shittiest Joker scheme ever.
At least when he tried to copyright fish, he used the whole body.
In total, the prisoners removed 62 pounds of aluminum and 92 pounds of copper, which Smith took to a recycling center and sold for a hefty ... $157.95. He made just over a buck a pound. Even more ridiculous, after paying each prisoner $40, he found himself pocketing a mere $37.95. That's less than the prisoners got!
We're sure the tornadoes will take his generosity into consideration before blowing his house to Texas.
Smith's dummy scam was immediately discovered, since the destroyed sirens (which cost about 31,000 taxpayer bucks to repair) were still laying out in the open, right behind town hall. Also, junkers keep records, so the paper trail was easy to follow. But that's not the end of this story, as Smith has since proven himself not just a shitty crook but a shitty wannabe mafioso. After his arrest and release, Smith proceeded to run one eyewitness off the road while threatening to murder another. So now he's got assault and death-threat charges to deal with, all over scrap metal that didn't even pay him enough to buy Fallout 4.
Some men want to watch the world burn, but this guy couldn't even light the match.
Guy Slowly Steals $460,000 In Quarters Over Two Years
You know that Johnny Cash song "One Piece At A Time," where Cash scores himself a free car by stealing tiny part after tiny part over 20 years and then assembles it into a barely working glob of mismatched metal? Somebody actually tried that, but with money. But because he's not Johnny Cash, his approach was a lot less patient, a lot more stupid, and he got caught.
In 2011, Thomas Rica, former public works inspector of Ridgewood, New Jersey, decided that he needed some extra funds to supplement his meager public servant salary of $86,000. The Dickensian pauper quickly found his solution: the town's meter coin storage room, which was bursting with quarters. Rica used a master key to gain unauthorized access to the room and made off with a fistful of quarters. It went so well that he soon went back again. And again. And again. For two years, Rica would snatch quarters and deposit them in his bank account, using coin-counting machines to both cash in and avoid the suspicion that typically comes with dumping thousands of coins on a clerk's desk and saying, "Count 'em."
Sadly, don't expect "but someone might steal the money!" to work on the meter maid ticketing your car.
By the time he got caught, fired, and arrested, Rica had not-earned over $460,000 in quarters. That's 1.8 million coins, weighing in at approximately 11.25 tons. The fact that two years' worth of workers didn't produce a single person capable of realizing, "Wow, we're losing cartoonish amounts of money, let's investigate!" is mind-boggling, and presumably the judge took an entire town's elephant-sized blind spot into account when sentencing Rica to zero jail time. He simply has to pay back every cent he stole over five years (hand-rolled, if the system actually worked).
Russian Official Steals (And Sells) 30 Miles Of Road
Some people adopt roads. Others just outright steal them, like Russian prison chief Alexander Protopopov. In 2014, Protopopov was running a northern Russian prison system when he observed a 30-mile highway and saw ruble signs. Apparently concluding that Putin and his goons were too far away to notice that a fucking road disappeared, Protopopov ordered his prisoners to remove all 7,000 slabs of concrete that made up the road. They were rewarded for their hard work by rotting in their cells while Protopopov sold the cement to a business partner for a hefty profit. That partner then turned around and sold the slabs again, also for a hefty profit. You know who didn't profit? Russia, who's out roughly 6 million rubles (around 77,000 Cold War-winner bucks) in damages.
Given's Russia's reputation for stellar roadwork, expect them to shell out the money sometime in 2125.
Thankfully, somebody noticed the dark chasm where a road used to be, and a quick investigation zeroed in on Protopopov, who was promptly arrested and charged with embezzling state property, organized crime, and abuse of power.
Since he couldn't just deny the allegations with, "Nuh-uh, there's a road there; you didn't look hard enough," Protopopov went all-in with perhaps the most Russian defense of all time: It's the People's Road. Basically, several random hooligans attempted to steal roads in the past, but were never punished because no one (including the state) could claim definitive ownership. By that logic, anyone can steal a highway and do whatever they want with it.
We're going to assume Russia will respond with even stronger logic: guns, cuffs, and a "fuck you" the size of the Kremlin.
Soldiers Are Pawning A Shit-Ton Of Equipment On eBay
You won't believe this, but the military frowns on its soldiers stealing expensive equipment and selling it online to anonymous buyers who might be spooning with ISIS. And yet, this happens all the damn time.
Take Douglas Rubsam, an ex-Marine who lifted hundreds of restricted munitions from his base and sold them on eBay like they were old shirts. His most popular item was light interference filters, which protect night vision goggles from getting lasered to smithereens. LIFs are apparently the new Tickle Me Elmo, as Rubsam sold over 200 of them for what we're sure was a good gob of money. While he claims he simply found them near a dumpster and took them home legally, the fact that he illegally made over 40 sales to China and Russia -- frenemies who might be a tad interested in how American military tech works -- probably means he's off the sergeant's Christmas card list for a long time.
"You better hope Santa gets you a crowbar, so you can pry my foot from your ass."
Then there are the three Colorado soldiers who, along with a civilian buddy, allegedly stole $500,000 worth of military gear from Fort Carson and sold it all on eBay. The stash included a fucking urban robot worth almost 200 grand ... and that only fetched $30,000, which we're sure was great for its self-esteem.
"Why would I pay any more for a half-assed Wall-E?"
"I'm right here."
These aren't isolated incidents, either; they're just the ones who have been caught. Over a two-year investigation, undercover government agents bought back night vision goggles, body armor, helicopter antenna, and ready-to-eat meals for civilians too lazy to even go to McDonald's.
Or dudes ready to take their peeping tom game to the next level.
There's a ton still out there, too, such as scores of clip-on night vision devices for budgets of all shapes and sizes. Can you only afford $10,000? There's an auction for that. Want to go crazy and plunk down 17 grand? Have at it, good buddy!
"Financing not an option, because we'll need all the bail money we can get, and stat."
Of course, not all of this stuff comes from wayward soldiers breaking into secure storage areas or rummaging through top-secret dumpsters. Actually, a huge chunk of this crap comes from a failed, $750 million program called RCOS/Keyhole, which hoped to develop tools to help soldiers detect bombs, but instead did nothing but help budding entrepreneurs start a super-shady side business. The assumption is that, since this program flopped so hard, nobody gave enough of a shit to properly guard the gear, making grand theft from the military both easy and inviting.
So the next time you want to sell a $15,000 night vision scope, consider who's making the bid. It might be a civilian, or it might be Uncle Sam, who wants his shit back and your ass as interest.
Anti-Counterfeiting Expert Steals $1.7 Million (In Real Cash)
In 1989, the United States Treasury tapped printing engineer Robert Schmitt Jr. for their "Threaded Currency Paper Project," in which new threads would be sewn into $100 bills to make them harder to counterfeit. But since the bills weren't woven out of neutron stars, they remained just as easy to steal.
And it took until only 1994 for Schmitt to finally realize, "Nobody ever suspects the butler!" He twice gained access to a special vault, where he waltzed out with 17,000 crisp, freshly threaded $100 bills. When a man barely scrapes by on $67,000 per year in 1990s money, he gets desperate.
"$1.7 million stolen is $1.7 million earned."
Such an egregious theft didn't take long to unravel, because while Schmitt certainly was brazen, he wasn't very clever. He had deposited roughly $300,000 in various bank accounts using a method called "smurfing," where a money launderer deposits funds just below $10,000 to avoid triggering an automatic investigation (painting oneself blue and trolling a crazy old man and his fuck-ugly cat are optional). He also used $685,000 to purchase four houses, including a waterfront estate for $400,000, because that's not suspicious. People making $67,000 a year buy four expensive homes all the time.
"Just cut back on Domino's for a month and any of you could do the same."
But it's always the one detail you neglect that comes back to fuck you in the ass -- in Schmitt's case, he didn't realize that banks deal with tons of smurfing, so they typically investigate and report deposits slightly under $10,000, just in case. That's why, in 1995, the IRS rudely invited themselves over for dinner at his place. In lieu of dessert, they confiscated the $650,000 he still had tucked away in his car, which makes him history's laziest smurfer, aside from whoever wrote the second movie.
With the jig completely up, Schmitt surrendered and took responsibility for everything. And by that, we mean he blamed drugs. According to Schmitt's lawyer, he was on Prozac, and a bad drug reaction had prompted him to live like a Robin Leach outtake.
Side effects include headaches, nausea, federal grand larceny, and constipation.
The judge obviously knew this was bullshit, and locked him up for just over two years. He got lucky, though -- Schmitt could've gotten 20 years, plus a $600,000 fine, and we're guessing none of that sweet, sweet car money would've counted.
Jason would like everybody reading this to give him a quarter. He promises to reward you with selfies of him partying it up while wearing his brand-new night vision goggles. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter, and discuss payment there.
Also, follow us on Facebook, because it's anarchy over there, which is still less insane than these people.