Markets in everything, gypsy threat point edition

by on March 27, 2009 at 12:57 pm in Current Affairs | Permalink

I do not read Italian, but Stefano offers me the following summary:

Gypsies exploit their bad reputation to make money. That's what happened in the provinces of Macerata, Ascoli Piceno and Ancona. A group of Gypsies coming from Veneto figured out an original way to swindle real estate agencies. Three of the Gypsies would show up at construction sites driving an expensive car and wearing nice clothes; they would get in touch with the sales office and and put down a down payment in cash for an apartment, sight unseen. After a couple of days they would then show up with their entire families, obstreperous and in tatters. This would trigger an immediate buy-back of the sale contract: the real estate agency would promptly pay back three times the amount of the down payment to get the apartment back (an apartment that the Gypsies did not in fact really want). Real estate agencies reporting this scheme to the police set in motion an investigation that resulted in three of the Gypsies being indicted for fraud. Their loot has been estimated around 300k Euros.

Here is the article.

1 lc March 27, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Why is this fraud, and not inadequate due diligence on the part of the seller?

2 deriuqer March 27, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Holly Coase! How cool is that! And how crooked is their legal system if it is cheaper for the real estate company to “convince” the state that this is fraud than to do a simple due diligence.

3 Paul Gowder March 27, 2009 at 1:56 pm

Not only is this not fraud, but the claim that it is fraud reveals the essential bigotry of the underlying legal system: fraud is, if anything, concealing a relevant fact, and the fact that they are gypsies ought not to be relevant.

Sounds more like arbitrage to me.

4 bbartlog March 27, 2009 at 2:37 pm

Doesn’t sound like fraud to me either, but it’s possible that there are salient details omitted in the short summary.

5 Andy March 27, 2009 at 2:54 pm

I’m guessing the fraud is in the details – namely, was there an application & did they lie on the application? Otherwise, I don’t see the fraud either.

6 Barkley Rosser March 27, 2009 at 3:27 pm

As someone with some gypsy ancestry, I shall go ahead and take
offense at yet another obvious instance of anti-gypsy bigotry.
Clearly not fraud.

7 Joao March 27, 2009 at 3:47 pm

This has been happening in Portugal for a while as well. I think gypsies use the internet.

8 Steve Sailer March 27, 2009 at 3:56 pm

Not wanting a typical gypsy clan to move into your new apartment development — rank bigotry! After all, they almost never kidnap children anymore to use as crippled beggars, like they kidnapped Adam Smith:

“At the age of 4 he was kidnapped by a band of Gypsies, though prompt action by his uncle soon effected his rescue. ‘He would have made, I fear, a poor Gypsy,’ commented John Rae, his main biographer.”

9 Bob Knaus March 27, 2009 at 4:41 pm

Paul – in the US, we already have a Federal agency that targets racist landlords using “testers” who are essentially undercover enforcement personnel posing as renters or buyers.

A quick Google did not turn up any recent press releases but I know they’ve done it extensively in the past. I think much of the legwork is done by state-level HUD agencies who receive block grants from the federal agency to perform their enforcement work.

Realtors know this and most avoid implicating themselves like poison. Some years ago, a friend of mine was looking at townhouses in Miami with a Realtor. They looked at some, then went to another development where identical models were priced $10,000 less. When my friend asked why, the Realtor said “I can’t tell you.” Whe pressed, the Realtor said “You might be from HUD!”

The simple truth is that, in Miami at the time, housing units in Spanish-speaking neighborhoods sold for somewhat less than equivalent units in English-speaking neighborhoods. But saying so could have cost the Realtor his license.

10 Paul Gowder March 27, 2009 at 4:51 pm

Bob, It’s mostly done by Fair Housing Councils nowadays, which are technically private non-profit organizations but work with housing agencies (and help get evidence pissed off legal-aid lawyers like I used to be, which is why I’m intimately familiar with this system), get some federal money, etc. But they still catch people. They catch people like crazy, who are stupid enough to do obvious things like tell the black couple no places are available and then tell the white couple that places are available.

But it would still be fun to screw over the racists without using the legal system.

11 bbartlog March 27, 2009 at 8:04 pm

Wups, ya Godwined it. Anyway, I guess an enthusiastic attack on strawmen is probably your best shot; you’d have a hard time defending the thesis that gypsies, on average, behave just like everyone else except for a few insignificant quirks.

yet another obvious instance of anti-gypsy bigotry…the claim that it is fraud reveals the essential bigotry of the underlying legal system

We can’t be certain without more information. It’s certainly possible they got railroaded on flimsy pretexts by a bigoted judge (or just one in the pay of the local landlords), but it’s also possible that there was some factual misrepresentation in their original application. There’s also an outside chance that the law prohibits the overall structure of the behavior without any of the individual components being illegal, in the same way that English law prohibits blackmail even though the act of revealing the information would not be illegal.

12 Peter March 27, 2009 at 9:24 pm

I read not long ago that the Gypsies in Europe are almost the exact opposite of the Amish in America. The Amish pay taxes, use almost no government services, and commit almost no crime. The Gypsies pay few or no taxes, use all sorts of government services, and commit plenty of crime.

13 Lizzy March 27, 2009 at 10:38 pm

The scheme appears cool to me. However this is not fraud. The seller should have been more alert before the transaction. This Lizzy from Israeli Uncensored News

14 Justin March 27, 2009 at 11:05 pm

I’m not quite sure what your point is, Steve.

15 Rex Rhino March 28, 2009 at 12:10 am


Ignore Steve Sailer. He is just another crypto-racist trying to sugar-coat his white-supremacist viewpoints behind bad IQ statistics.

16 Justin March 28, 2009 at 1:19 am

Steve, that’s a quotation from someone else’s writing. I’d prefer something more focused on the present discussion. More importantly, it’s a definition, not an explanation.

17 Steve Sailer March 28, 2009 at 1:44 am

“I’d prefer something more focused on the present discussion.”

Thanks for playing straight man.

The present discussion largely consists of Marginal Revolution commenters too clueless about the real world to grasp a simple scam, and proud of their ignorance as well: “bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction” — i.e., protective stupidity.

18 Careless March 28, 2009 at 2:24 am

“Clueless about the real world” Really? The following groups were systematically killed by
Adolf Hitler: Jews, gays, communists, the disabled, the Roma and the Sinti. And you are whining
about scams? Really?”

Do you think this is an argument with regards to anything coming before in this post/thread?

19 Steve Sailer March 28, 2009 at 4:07 am

Dear Barkley:

You played the Hitler card, so you win! Congratulations.

Bernie Madoff must be kicking himself that he didn’t hire you as his lawyer. You could have got up in court and said:

“Judge, the following groups were systematically killed by Adolf Hitler: Jews, gays, communists, the disabled, the Roma and the Sinti. And you are whining about scams? Really?”

And the judge would have looked ashamed, pounded his gavel, and announced, “Case dismissed.”

20 not raivo March 28, 2009 at 9:16 am


You don’t like Tyler’s views and think nothing of the ignorant MR commenters then why do you come here?

Quit trolling! Leave! Shoo!

21 anon March 28, 2009 at 1:05 pm

Rosser and Sailer: You two should set up a blog together. The comments alone would drive traffic through the roof.

22 anon March 28, 2009 at 1:13 pm

Rosser and Sailer: You two should set up a blog together. The comments alone would drive traffic through the roof.

They could call it “Marginalized Revolution”.

raivo pommer-eesti could also blog there!

23 Steve Sailer March 28, 2009 at 3:32 pm

The Roma and their high birthrates are one of the strains on the European Union project that are less obvious to us naive Americans. The Western Europeans dread having millions of Gypsies move from Eastern Europe to Western Europe, with their more lucrative welfare states and more gullible populations. So, they have been badgering the Eastern European governments to be nicer to their Gypsies so they’ll stay home.

24 Steve Sailer March 28, 2009 at 5:28 pm

In the British Isles, there’s a group — known as the Travelers — who have adopted a Gypsy lifestyle of nomadic caravans, hanging around until they have finally made such a pigsty of where they are living that they decamp for greener pastures, as well as a Gypsy economy of scamming for a living. They don’t appear to be genealogically related to the Roma — in the Guy Ritchie movie “Snatch” the Traveler character is played by Brad Pitt. But somehow or other they have found their way to a similar economic / social niche.

25 Justin March 29, 2009 at 12:00 am

Steve, I don’t think I’m just playing straight man. Your posts sound like a lot of non-sequiturs to me. I am giving you a chance to defend yourself.

A list of facts does not interpret itself. It does not do this any more even if they are facts that most people do not like to hear.

26 Donna B. March 29, 2009 at 1:36 am

As I read these comments, I wondered if the same thing wouldn’t work in the states with a redneck family. The thing that makes it a scam is the intent.

27 Justin March 29, 2009 at 2:52 pm

Cute, Steve, but I didn’t say you should stop talking or that you’re wrong, or that you’re evil. I just asked for an explanation. Indoctrinated or no, that’s a fair request.

I have accused you of non-sequiturs, not malice. If this is an instance of crimestop, it sounds like pretty tame stuff.

28 Barkley Rosser March 29, 2009 at 5:20 pm

Not wishing to turn this into a sub-blog with Sailer, this will be my last comment on this thread.
Steve says nice things about the Jews, especially compared to the gypsies, but I would note that
quite a few of the arguments he has made about them involve things that have in the past been
regularly said about the Jews in many places in Europe, and widely repeated by those attempting
to justify anti-Semitism. One might call it not fair cricket, but a Jew hearing such talk might
well be inclined to bring up you know who in reply to such discussions.

29 asdf March 29, 2009 at 6:55 pm

Wow. Steve Sailer is a man among boys. Justin plays dumb (“how do facts about Roma criminality impact this discussion? I dunno…”), Barkley Rosser plays holier-than-thou (“i’m part Roma and no one else has ever been killed and of course the Roma died for our sins!!!11!eleventy”), and Paul Gowder shows that he has the soul of a secret policeman (with all his enthusiasm for catching out racist thoughtcrimes, who really thinks Gowder lives in a black neighborhood? ahhh, thought so.)

The funniest are the people like Rex Rhino tossing around the “racist” label. You might as well call us witches or heretics. The label is losing its power to end careers now that the Internet allows anonymous free speech.

30 Steve Sailer March 29, 2009 at 11:25 pm

“… now that the Internet allows anonymous free speech.”

Yes, but the fascinating thing is how many people use the anonymity of the Internet to express exactly the insipid socially approved banalities that society wants them to utter.

For example, here Tyler post a story about a gypsy scam that’s pretty funny if you know anything about Gypsies. Obviously, Tyler knows something about Gypsies, which is why he posted it.

And yet, a bunch of Marginal Revolution readers then write in to say they don’t understand why it’s a scam — in effect, to boast of their cluelessness, to brag about their “protective stupidity.”

When I then explain the basics of Gypsy economics and culture, so that they can understand why Tyler thought it was funny enough to post, MR readers get angry at me for making them less ignorant!

31 Steve Sailer March 30, 2009 at 1:10 am

Dear Barkley:

You mentioned “that failed painter who lived in Vienna for awhile.”

You win again!

Double congratulations.


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