The official description of the Trio Capital fraud as a "high-risk investment" that "collapsed" is grubby, insulting and wrong.
Grubby, because it is self-serving nonsense whose purpose is to save a few dollars in compensation ("You should have known better!") and a whole lot of official skin ("It wasn't our fault!").
Insulting, because it presumes that the public, and most particularly the victims of this outrageous scam, can't see it for what it is.
And wrong, for reasons we shall explore.
Shame on those who peddle this rubbish.
The immediate problem with those descriptions, "high-risk" and "collapse", is that they are properly used to describe legitimate investments that go sour.
But Trio was not a legitimate investment.
It was a rort - and that makes all the difference.
Sadly, some in official circles seem not to appreciate the fundamental distinction between a "legitimate investment that fails" and an "orchestrated scam".
It's time it was spelt out to them.
Last Tuesday, as has long been the custom, millions of Australians "had a flutter" on one of the world's great horse races.
How they chose their horses was their business.
Some pretended to be experts themselves. Some looked for a catchy name, trusted to pure luck in an office sweep, or watched the odds and followed the herd.
Others turned to professional tipsters for advice, or their mates.
With apologies to the ill-fated Cup favourite Admire Rakti, the betting favourite in a horse race is the equivalent of what would be called, in financial circles, a "low-risk" investment.
Not "no risk", because in both horse racing and investment, there's no such animal.
Even if you back the favourite, you can still do your dosh - as in fact happened last Tuesday.
On the other hand, plonking your hard-earned on a rank outsider would, in both circles, be considered a "high-risk" investment.
When politicians and regulators describe Trio Capital as a "high-risk investment" that "collapsed", they are saying it was a long shot that failed.
And they are also saying that, long shot or sure thing, individual and self-managed "punters" should have been aware of this, they should have been more careful and, in any event, must take responsibility for their decisions.
But Trio Capital was not a long shot that failed.
It was a rort - in racing terms, a nobbled runner that had absolutely no prospects of winning.
The race was rigged.
And when a horse is nobbled, it is pure nonsense to talk about risk-this and risk-that and how punters must take personal responsibility for their bets.
Because, when the fix is on, you are guaranteed to lose - and there is no way a punter can identify a fix in advance.
In such circumstances, the concept of "risk assessment" goes down the gurgler.
That's why we have stewards.
But here's where it gets interesting because in horse racing, the stewards, bookies and punters all agree: when a risk is rigged, you're entitled to get your money back.
No questions. No exceptions. No ifs, buts, maybes.
So why is it that when it comes to financial racing, and in particular that nobbled nag Trio Capital, our officials - regulators and politicians - keep banging on about "risk" and "collapse"?
Do they really think it is reasonable to classify fraud as a "risk"?
Do they really think it is reasonable to hold punters personally responsible for failing to detect that the race was rigged - even though the stewards themselves, despite all their power and authority, also failed to detect the fix and in fact declared the race clean?
Let's be clear on this.
Trio Capital and its associated entities were approved and monitored by two government agencies that had the duty and power to police these things on behalf of Australian investors: the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, and the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority.
They were the stewards responsible for making sure that a fair race was run.
That punters were not ripped off.
It makes not a jot of difference how punters put their bets on. The stewards declared the race fair - and it was anything but.
For five years, while the crooks at Trio Capital siphoned off $176 million under their very noses, the stewards failed to notice.
But a rotting fish can only remain undiscovered for so long. Sooner or later, someone will notice the stink.
In this case, it took a private investor called John Hempton with a suspicious mind and a sharp nose who said, "Uh-oh, something smells fishy here."
Even then, once the carcass was shoved under their noses, what did the stewards say to the 690 self-managed and individual investors who lost their savings?
It was a high-risk investment that collapsed and you should have known better.
Never mind that Trio and its entities had ASIC's and APRA's seal of approval.
Never mind that other investors, who put their money into Trio via more normal channels, were also diddled yet did receive compensation.
As for that other bit of nonsense - that Trio Capital "collapsed" - we should have no bar of that.
Trio didn't "collapse". It didn't "go sour".
No, its guts were systematically ripped out from the inside as part of an orchestrated, ongoing criminal scheme.
It is no more accurate to call Trio an "investment" than it is to call a dishlicker a thoroughbred or a koala a bear.
It was a con trick designed to hoodwink ratings houses, advisers, the public - and regulators.
And it succeeded in that devious purpose for five years before the stench finally became so great not even the regulators could ignore it.
It is time to stop this bleating about "risk" and "collapse".
Time to stop the hypocrisy that self-managed investors and advisers who were hoodwinked by the crims are somehow more at fault than the regulators who got sucked in by the very same crooks.
Time, finally, to do the right thing.