An Amishman has come forward anonymously (no longer online) to discuss the Sensenig investment controversy, which we discussed a couple weeks back in “Blog changes, phone booths, and an Old Order Bernie Madoff?”
Plain investors may be out most or all of $65 million. The close ties and inherent trust found in the Old Order circles Sensenig operated within were key to his dubious success.
As the Amishman says, “it was just because he was a Plain Mennonite that he got that much money, that’s the only reason.”
You might also like:
Question on the Amish? Get answers to 300+ questions in 41 categories at the Amish FAQ.
It seems unusual for the Amish to be taken advantage of financially by one of their own…
Just heard of a Mennonite church that had invested their six-figure building fund with this guy.
Please correct me…. years ago I read that aside from regular bank savings account, the Amish did not participate in any other type of investment “opportunities” including the stock market. These investment were shunned by the Amish community because they believed that it was wrong to increase money without actually having worked for it. This did not include reasonable interest charged due to the rate of inflation.
Some may have thought that they were giving Sensenig a hand in some way, I guess. Obviously, he was running a pyramid scheme, paying old investors off or paying out their interest with new investment. On the surface, it sounds like a good business – building and leasing log cabins. I think I could make a good case for a business like that. It sounds solid, doesn’t it? But because the Anabaptists avoid investing, they don’t know things like what is a reasonable rate of return, what is a prospectus, and all the other stuff. A lot of people don’t know, not just the Amish and Mennonites! But those who got a little bit greedy and worldly best remember that the Saviour told us not to lend at interest, and not to expect to be repaid. It still looks like astute advice, doesn’t it?