Lying and Deceit

  By Michael Neidle  |    Thursday February 29, 2024

Category: Columns, Expert Advice


Lying is a practice that has permeated human society since time immemorial, and its ramifications are felt across various domains. From business to politics and from foreign affairs to sports, the impact of lies can be profound, shaping public perception, influencing decisions, and eroding trust. In this article, we will explore how lying has affected each of these areas, using current and historical examples to illustrate its wide-reaching consequences.


In Business

The business world is no stranger to deceit, with companies and individuals often resorting to falsehoods for personal gain. One of the most infamous cases of corporate deceit is that of Enron, a once-mighty energy company that collapsed in 2001 due to a massive accounting fraud. Enron’s executives had crafted complex financial schemes to conceal the company’s true financial health, leading to massive losses for investors and employees when the truth came to light. The aftermath of the Enron scandal resulted in sweeping changes to corporate governance and accounting standards, yet the damage to shareholder trust had been irreparably done.

Another case of lying in business can be seen in the recent scandal involving the German multinational company, Volkswagen. In 2015, it was revealed that Volkswagen had installed software in its diesel vehicles to manipulate emissions tests, deceiving regulators, and consumers alike. This deliberate deception not only resulted in billions of dollars in fines and settlements for the company but also severely damaged its reputation and brand value.

On a smaller scale, two years ago the owners of several Florida-based companies, including Liberty Specialty Services LLC, Paradise Choice LLC, Tropical City Services LLC, plus 3 other entities, were sued for lying to the Federal government about the work permits of dozens of employees who were non-resident aliens, laundering of funds and related charges and defrauding the IRS by $10 million. Jail sentences for the principal owner was 3 years and restitution of $8.5 million. 

Politicians are not immune to the lure of lies, as seen in numerous instances where false promises, misinformation, and outright deceit have shaped political landscapes and decisions. One of the most egregious examples of political lying is the Iraq War and the assertion by the Bush administration that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, which served as a primary justification for the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The subsequent revelation that no such weapons were found undermined public trust not only in the administration but also in the overall integrity of the intelligence that led to the war. More recently, the phenomenon of “fake news” has proliferated in the political arena, with misinformation and disinformation being disseminated through various media channels. This has led to widespread confusion and polarization, undermining the very foundations of informed democratic decision-making. The consequences of political lies can have far-reaching implications, shaping public opinion, influencing elections, and sowing discord within societies. 

And we all know the justice system is slowly but relentlessly working its way through over 7 dozen felony counts against a former President of the United States.


Foreign Affairs

In the realm of foreign affairs, lying has been used as a tool to manipulate geopolitical narratives and justify aggressive actions. One historical example is the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which served as a pretext for the escalation of the Vietnam War. The reported attacks on American warships in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964 were later revealed to have been exaggerated, if not entirely fabricated, leading to a significant expansion of U.S. involvement in the war. The loss of life and long-term consequences of this deception underscores the devastating impact of lying in matters of foreign policy.

More recently, Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 was accompanied by a campaign of disinformation and denial by the Russian government, which falsely portrayed the intervention as a response to the will of the Crimean people. This deliberate distortion of facts exacerbated tensions between Russia and the West and led to a significant deterioration in diplomatic relations, with enduring repercussions for regional stability.



In the world of sports, the consequences of lies can extend beyond mere reputational damage to the very integrity of the competition. One notorious example is the scandal surrounding the Russian state-sponsored doping program, which was uncovered in the lead-up to the 2016 Rio Olympics. The elaborate scheme involved the systematic use of performance-enhancing drugs and the cover-up of positive tests, tarnishing the credibility of Russian athletes and casting doubt on the outcomes of numerous international competitions.

Closer to home for many sports fans are the instances of cheating and deception in games themselves. From “flopping” in basketball to “diving” in soccer, athletes have been known to feign injury or foul in an attempt to deceive referees and gain an unfair advantage. These dishonest tactics not only undermine the spirit of fair play but also breed cynicism among fans and erode the trust that is fundamental to the enjoyment of sports.

In conclusion, the ramifications of lying are profound and pervasive, touching nearly every aspect of human society. Whether in business, politics, foreign affairs, or sports, the consequences of deceit can be far-reaching and enduring. As such, the importance of truth and transparency cannot be overstated, and holding those who engage in dishonesty to account is essential in upholding the integrity of our institutions and the trust of our communities.


In Summary

Not all lies and deceitful acts are discovered but ask yourself if you want to test the systems and if the risk of doing so is worth it. Sometimes, one may take a small chance of being caught, with minimal penalties.  If they are successful, then take a bigger chance with a high reward. But when do the cumulative odds start to build up against you? When does adding a minor tax deduction with no documentation become falsifying loan documents for a property based on your real property being 3 times the actual size get audited? When do the taxes for that same property get reduced by half, on your Federal tax to the IRS, thinking that the two will never be matched against the other?

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