The news came yesterday that Monroe Beachy, Ohio Amishman and investment fund manager, received a 6-and-a-half year sentence for fraud.

Investors in Beachy’s popular fund lost around $17 million, around half of its total value. U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach described it as “fraud on a massive scale.” Beachy, 78, requested to serve his sentence at home, but this was rejected, and he will be going to prison.  He could have received a maximum of 20 years.

Moving on

To use popular terminology, I suppose this brings some sort of “closure” to the matter.  We often use that word when a wrongdoer gets a justly-deserved punishment.  Victims seek closure as a necessary component in moving forward with life.

However being that this primarily involves Amish, I don’t  know that that is the right word to use.  The Amish community wished to handle the matter themselves.

Perhaps they would have, had Beachy not first filed a bankruptcy claim which later proved impossible to retract.   An Amish committee made a special request that they be allowed to deal with recompense themselves, but that was rejected.

That request shone a light on the sometimes controversial Amish preference for handling transgressions internally.  There can be a blurry line between what is a church issue and what is a criminal issue.

But the sheer size and impact of this case, and the fact that some English investors were involved as well, probably precluded a private Amish sorting-out from ever happening.

Though a lot of people lost a lot of money in his fund, I’d think this is something that Amish could forgive.  I’d imagine many if not most already have.  That of course doesn’t automatically erase the damage done. Hopefully the community will emerge stronger from this situation in the long term.


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