Charles Keating was sentenced to ten years in prison for perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in American history.
The Savings and Loans scandal has gone down in history as one of the filthiest scams ever conducted, involving the defrauding of 17,000 people of their life savings. Many of these people were elderly, and many lost everything they owned.
Charles Keating donated 1.25 million of these stolen dollars to Mother Teresa, and also gave her the use of his private jet.
At his trial the good nun sent a letter to the trial judge, Lance Ito (a man you might remember from the OJ Simpson case).
This is what Mother Teresa said on behalf of Charles Keating:
Dear Honorable Lance Ito,
We do not mix up in Business or Politicts or courts. Our work, as Missionaries of Charity is to give wholehearted and free service to the poorest of the poor.
I do not know anything about Mr. Charles Keating’s work or his business or the matters you are dealing with.
I only know that he has alway been kind and generous to God’s poor, and always ready to help whenever there was a need. It is for this reason that I do not want to forget him now while he and his family are suffering.
Jesus has told us “Whatever you do to the least of my brethern … YOU DID IT TO ME. Mr. Keating has done each to help the poor, which is why I am writing to you on his behalf.
Whenever someone asks me to speak to a judge, I always tell them the same thing. I ask them to pray, to look into thier heart, and to do what Jesus would do in that circumstance. And this is what I am asking of you, your Honor.
My gratitude to you is my prayer for you, and your work, your family and the people with whom you are working.
God bless you
Thinking that Mother Teresa didn’t understand how Keating had robbed countless old and vulnerable people to obtain this money, the deputy District Attorney in the case, Paul Turley wrote a personal letter, as follows:
Dear Mother Teresa
I am a Deputy District Attorney in Los Angeles County and one of the persons who worked on the prosecution of your benefactor, Charles H. Keating, Jr. I read your letter to Judge Ito, written on behalf of Mr. Keating, which includes your admission that you know nothing about Mr. Keating’s business or the criminal charges presented to Judge Ito.
I am writing to you to provide a brief explanation of the crimes of which Mr. Keating has been convicted, to give you an understanding of the source of the money that Mr. Keating gave to you, and to suggest that you perform the moral and ethical act of returning the money to its rightful owners.
Mr. Keating was convicted of defrauding 17 individuals of more than $900,000. These 17 persons were representative of 17,000 individuals from whom Mr. Keating stole $252,000,000.
Mr. Keating’s specific acts of fraud were that he was the source of a series of fraudulent representations made to persons who bought bonds from his company and he also was the repository of crucial information which he chose to withhold from bond purchasers, thereby luring his victims into believing they were making a safe, low-risk investment.
In truth and in fact, their money was being used to fund Mr. Keating’s exorbitant and extravagant lifestyle.
The victims of Mr. Keating’s fraud come from a wide spectrum of society. Some were wealthy and well-educated. Most were people of modest means and unfamiliar with high finance.
One was, indeed, a poor carpenter who did not speak English and had his life savings stolen by Mr. Keating’s fraud.
The biblical slogan of your organization is ‘As long as you did it to one of these My least brethren. You did it to Me’.
The ‘least’ of the brethren are among those whom Mr. Keating fleeced without flinching. As you well know, divine forgiveness is available to all, but forgiveness must be preceded by admission of sin.
Not only has Mr. Keating failed to admit his sins and his crimes, he persists in self-righteously blaming others for his own misdeeds. Your experience is, admirably, with the poor.
My experience has been with the ‘con’ man and the perpetrator of the fraud. It is not uncommon for ‘con’ men to be generous with family, friends and charities.
Perhaps they believe that their generosity will purchase love, respect or forgiveness. However, the time when the purchase of ‘indulgences’ was an acceptable method of seeking forgiveness died with the Reformation.
No church, no charity, no organization should allow itself to be used as a salve for the conscience of the criminal. We all are grateful that forgiveness is available but we all, also, must perform our duty.
That includes the Judge and the Jury. I remind myself of the biblical admonition of the Prophet Micah: ‘O man, what is good and what does the Lord require of you. To do justice, love mercy and walk humbly.’
We are urged to love mercy but we must do justice.
You urge Judge Ito to look into his heart — as he sentences Charles Keating — and do what Jesus would do. I submit the same challenge to you.
Ask yourself what Jesus would do if he were given the fruits of a crime; what Jesus would do if he were in possession of money that had been stolen; what Jesus would do if he were being exploited by a thief to ease his conscience?
I submit that Jesus would promptly and unhesitatingly return the stolen property to its rightful owners. You should do the same.
You have been given money by Mr. Keating that he has been convicted of stealing by fraud. Do not permit him the ‘indulgence’ he desires Do not keep the money. Return it to those who worked for it and earned it!
If you contact me I will put you in direct contact with the rightful owners of the property now in your possession.
Paul W. Turley
There was no reply and the money wasn’t returned.
So much for living saints.
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