Friday, February 05, 2010

Why do people have to DIE before con men go to jail?

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Months after authorities focused a homicide investigation on James Arthur Ray, the motivational speaker was indicted on manslaughter charges that could land him in prison and topple his self-help empire.

Ray was arrested Wednesday in Prescott, Ariz., on three counts of manslaughter for deaths of participants in a sweat lodge ceremony he led in northern Arizona last year.

Ray has built a multimillion-dollar empire as a self-help superstar who teaches people about financial and spiritual wealth, and uses free seminars to recruit followers to more expensive events. He soared in popularity after appearing in the 2006 Rhonda Byrne documentary "The Secret," and he later was a guest on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and "Larry King Live" to promote it.

"The Secret" was a steaming pile of BULLSHIT. We arrest people for fraud when they fraudulently sell the Brooklyn Bridge. Why do we not arrest people for fraud when they sell a scheme for success that is a complete fucking LIE? Seems to me, three people are dead because our society tolerates fraud when it's disguised as spirituality. Can we please stop doing that? Thanks.


At 8:54 AM, Blogger Robert said...

I wondered how they died. Here is some info:

"Self-help guru James Arthur Ray says it was all a tragic accident when his followers began collapsing one by one in a sweat lodge at his retreat, with three of them dying. As unfortunate as the ordeal was, he says the participants knew about the risks the ceremony presented.

Prosecutors say it's a blatant case of manslaughter by a man who recklessly crammed dozens of people in a 400-square-foot sweat lodge and chided them for wanting to leave, even as people were vomiting, getting burned by hot rocks and lying lifeless on the ground."


At 10:04 AM, Blogger BeamStalk said...

Jeff, you know why they won't do that. They would have to start actually questioning their own beliefs and start arresting Christians for fraud. Joel Olsteen would be devastated.

At 7:06 PM, Blogger Justy said...

I recently (as "The Skeptheist") did an episode on "Quantum Nonsense", that dealt with (in addition to other sillinesses) "The Secret".

I had no idea that J.A.R. was involved in something that not only bilks funds, but endangers lives. (Un) 'Holy'. Crap.

At 10:09 PM, Blogger sandbaggy2 said...

There are a multitude of laws (usually state and local) against palm reading and other scams that claims knowledge of the future, spirits, and unsubstantiated woo woo.

As you would expect, religion is exempt.

At 11:28 AM, Blogger rrpostal said...

I am somewhat torn on some of these things. On the one hand I know that even smart people can fall for some pretty stupid scams and ways of thinking. I've believed dumb things myself. But I still have a real hard time feeling too much compassion for people who willingly go along with such drivel at the expense of their health. It's a "Darwin Awards" type thing. Anti-vaccine people are also hurting others more directly.

I feel very sorry, however, for the families of the people who died. They not only must deal with the grief of losing a loved one, but also people like me who wonder how their loved one could have been so stupid. Especially if the loved one was not particularly dumb.

Sorry for the jumbled thoughts. I am trying to figure out what I think about this as I write...

At 3:30 PM, Blogger Jeff Dee said...


Two years in prison, and $70.5k in fines and restitution? Not nearly enough. But it's something.


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