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Posts Tagged ‘FBI’

Things To Do In Greenwich When You’re Dead

Joshua M Brown explains Things To Do In Greenwich When You’re Dead and provides a linkfest of Insider Trading articles. – Ilene 

I would be remiss in my duties as your favorite financial blogger if I didn’t supply you with a handy running linkfest of all the Insider Trading highlights.

A few firms in Connecticut were raided by the FBI today, two of them with ties to SAC. SAC has not been implicated in this story but the funds were spin-offs.

Here’s the Wall Street Journal’s breaking coverage of the raids:  (WSJ)

Barry Ritholtz asks the question on everyone’s mind: Is it the Big Guy (Steve Cohen) who they’re actually after? (TBP)

Bess Levin at Dealbreaker is calling this story Insider Trading Festivus 2010. Obviously her coverage simply cannot be missed:  (Dealbreaker)

I, of course, weighed in this weekend calling the whole "Expert Network" thing another Classic Wall Street Euphemism.  (TRB)

Courtney Comstock with some background on Global Level and Diamondback, two of the raided firms.  (Clusterstock)

As more hysterical headlines pop up on the story, I’ll simply add links below…

Doug Kass: "Based on my contacts, I believe that the soon-to-be-announced insider-trading indictments will be far-reaching and could even have the potential to be market-impactful, as the allegations will not only include some of the most prestigious hedge funds but will also allegations against some of the largest and most conservative mutual-fund companies, investment bankers and law firms." (TheStreet.com

Originally published at The Reformed Broker, Things To Do In Greenwich When You’re Dead 


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“National Security:” A Global Police State-Within-a-State

"National Security:" A Global Police State-Within-a-State 

Courtesy of Charles Hugh Smith, Of Two Minds 

The Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) has spawned a national security "state-within-a-state" with essentially unlimited funding and support of America’s political machine. This National Security State has infected domestic policing and courts; it is both ubiquitous and completely unaccountable.

The Democrats and Republicans have enthusiastically joined hands to create a global police/national security state-within-a-state of unimaginable reach and power.  Frequent contributor Michael Goodfellow sent me this investigative report, which I consider one of the most important of the decade: Top Secret America: A hidden world, growing beyond control (Washington Post).

Let’s go back briefly to September 1, 2001, before the 9/11 attack. The national security "assets" of the nation had all the information needed to stop the attack. The various agencies did not stop the attack because there was essentially zero coordination and data-sharing between the CIA, NSA and FBI.

This was laid out in the PBS program The Spy Factory.

Now the national security "assets" have metastasized into a gargantuan national security state-within-a-state--and the exact same problem not only exists, it has become even more intracable.

Now that the national security state (NSS) has become much larger and even more unwieldy, coordination, collaboration and data-sharing have been rendered essentially impossible. This report makes that absolutely clear.

Rather than fix the problem of coordinating our national security assets, the Federal government and its leaders have amplified the problem. At the same time, they have created a monster which is beyond the control of elected officials or the citizenry, a secretive state-within-a-state which protects itself behind the inpenetrable shield of "national security" and "need to know."

The national security state is the ultimate protected fiefdom. Cutting one dollar of funding would be instantly characterized as "weakening our fight against global terrorism," as would any limits on the NSS’s powers.

This is in effect a new arm of the "military-industrial complex" which dwarfs the power of the traditional military-industrial complex: "defense" contractors and the revolving door between the DoD (Department of Defense) and these Pentagon-dependent industrial corporations.

GWOT is the perfect defense for a state-within-a-state that is insatiable and beyond accountability. Even simple inquiries are quickly dismissed as "dangerous"--as if global terrorists would glean some useful information from knowing just how many hundreds of billions of dollars are being spent tracking them.

What’s essential to our…
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How White-Collar Criminals Exploit Your Vanity – Beware of Compliments

Career criminal, master charmer Sam E. writes about his speaking engagement in Portland, where we met and I gathered material for part II of the No Redemption. The most fascinating aspect of Sam’s story is what his admissions teach us about human nature. But on a more practical level, understanding fraud and the techniques used to commit white collar crimes can give investors insight into the integrity of the companies they invest in. Companies built on fraud tend to implode under the weight of their own lies, eventually – can we find these companies early, before their business comes crashing down?  (Stay tuned for part III) – Ilene 

How White-Collar Criminals Exploit Your Vanity – Beware of Compliments

By Sam Antar of White Collar Fraud 

Artwork by Marta Dahlig

Last Friday, I was the key note speaker at the Oregon Health Care Fraud Working Group Training Seminar, sponsored by the United State Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon. I explained to the group that while emphasis on effective oversight and internal controls are important factors in preventing or deterring white-collar crime, not enough emphasis is given to the underlying psychology used by white-collar criminals to prey on their victims and effectively commit their crimes.

I have said many times that, "White-collar criminals consider your humanity as a weakness to be exploited in the execution of their crimes" and as the cold-blooded and ruthless criminal CFO of Crazy Eddie, I learned that you can steal far more with a smile than you can with a gun.

White-collar criminals use a combination of charm and deceit to achieve their objectives. The more likable and charming that I was as a criminal, the easier it was for me to successfully lie to my victims…
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Fraudulent ‘Flopping’ of Homes

Fraudulent ‘Flopping’ of Homes

Courtesy of Larry Doyle at Sense on Cents  

Young couple standing by 'For Sale - Sold' sign, portrait

As day follows night, financial fraud follows economic distress. God forbid people try to make an honest living as opposed to seizing opportunities to make a dishonest buck. This financial artifice is on display in the short sales of homes throughout our country.

Bloomberg highlights this fraudulent activity in reporting, Banks Face Short-Sale Fraud as Home ‘Flopping’ Schemes Spread:

Two Connecticut real estate agents found a way to profit in the U.S. housing bust: Buy low, sell fast. Their tactic was also illegal.

Sergio Natera and Anna McElaney are scheduled to be sentenced in Hartford’s federal court in August after pleading guilty to fraud. Their crime involved persuading lenders to approve the sale of homes for less than the balance owed — known as a short sale — without disclosing that there were better offers. They then flipped the houses for a profit.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the California Department of Real Estate and mortgage finance company Freddie Mac have warned that such schemes may be spreading after a plunge in values left homeowners owing more than their properties are worth. The scams threaten to deepen losses for lenders that are increasingly agreeing to short sales as an alternative to more costly foreclosures.

How and why might a lender agree to a sale at an exceptionally depressed price? Kickbacks and payoffs. To whom and from whom? Brokers or agents who have a buyer willing to pay more for the home. Bloomberg highlights how Uncle Sam has overlooked the potential for this fraudulent ‘flopping’:

An Obama administration effort to boost short sales may increase incentives for fraud, Neil Barofsky, special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, wrote in an April 20 report to Congress. The government, through its Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program, that month began offering as much as $1,500 to servicers, $2,000 to investors and $3,000 to homeowners who close short sales.

“It appears that the program may lack necessary antifraud protections,” Barofsky wrote.

While the Bloomberg article focuses on payoffs to appraisers, it would seem the fraud embedded in payoffs and kickbacks likely runs far wider than that. Other likely recipients for these payoffs and kickbacks?

1. The mortgage servicers are already being paid by Uncle Sam to expedite short sales. Might a little extra cha-ching provide even greater incentive for these servicers…
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Insider Trading Busts are the Corporate World’s Darwin Awards

Insider Trading Busts are the Corporate World’s Darwin Awards

Courtesy of Joshua M. Brown, The Reformed Broker 

Insider trading busts are the Darwin Awards of the corporate world. 

The Darwin Awards are based on people doing such stupid things to end up dead that the entire human race’s gene pool is better off for their demise.  When you hear about corporate insiders emailing undercover FBI agents with insider information in this day and age, you can only shake your head and ponder the utterly pathetic intellects of the people involved.

From the Wall Street Journal:

A former Walt Disney Co. employee and a friend have been arrested for allegedly trying to sell early access to the company’s earnings, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said Wednesday.

Bonnie Hoxie, a former Disney employee, and her friend Yonni Sebbag were arrested by FBI agents in Los Angeles on Wednesday, the FBI said. They are expected to appear in federal court in Los Angeles later Wednesday.

Ms. Hoxie and her friend were allegedly trying to sell early access to the company’s second-quarter earnings report to hedge funds and investment companies, the FBI said. They have been charged with wire fraud, the FBI said.

Prisoner with ball and chain

As we hear more details about the investigation, I suspect there will be even more head-scratching over how it could be possible that these people haven’t learned better by now.

No shortcuts, Ms Hoxie.  Enjoy your imprisonment.

Props to the FBI for taking this one down.

Source:

Former Disney Employee is Arrested (WSJ) 


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The Economic Elite Vs. The People of the United States of America (I – III)

Full Report: The Economic Elite Vs. The People of the United States of America (Parts I-III)

Courtesy of David DeGraw, AmpedStatus Report

This report was originally released as a six-part series. The first part was published on February 15, 2010. The last part was published on February 27, 2010.  

Support this work by ordering the full report in book format.
>  Download full report with graphics and links.
>  Download printer-friendly version.
 

“The American oligarchy spares no pains in promoting the belief that it does not exist,
but the success of its disappearing act depends on equally strenuous efforts
on the part of an American public anxious to believe in egalitarian fictions
and unwilling to see what is hidden in plain sight.”
– Michael Lind, To Have and to Have Not

 

The Economic Elite Vs. The People of the United States of America

 

It’s time for 99% of Americans to mobilize and aggressively move on common sense political reforms.

Yes, of course, we all have very strong differences of opinion on many issues. However, like our Founding Fathers before us, we must put aside our differences and unite to fight a common enemy.

It has now become evident to a…
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Zero Hedge

How AT&T Just "Beat"

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

... in one simple chart.

Courtesy of @Not_Jim_Cramer

...

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Phil's Favorites

Email From US Special Forces Veteran; 500 US Blackwater Mercenaries in Ukraine? US Backs Ukrainian Neo-Nazis

Courtesy of Mish.

US Special Forces in Ukraine?

In response to US Special Forces in Mariupol? I received an interesting email from "Dan" a 23-year Army veteran with four years in special services.

Dan writes ...
I was a soldier in the US Army for 23 years including four years in Special forces Stationed in Germany. I would agree that there is a strong likelihood that this is a US Special Forces soldier.

I can tell you that we were issued AK 74s and would use them on a mission such as this. That is about all I would really want to say at this point.

It is obvious to me that our strategy is the Balkanization of the various hot spots in the world, Syria, Ukraine, Iraq and so forth.

You can call m...



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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

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Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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Chart School

S&P 500 Snapshot: A Plunge on Weak Earnings and (Mostly) Bad Economic News

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Weak earnings and an ugly Durable Goods Report for December apparently took their toll today, despite a stunning surge in Consumer Confidence. The S&P 500 plunged in the opening minutes and hit its -1.81% intraday low at 10:45, seemingly ignoring the 10 AM release of the surprisingly cheerful Consumer Confidence report. A slow upward trend ensued and lasted until the mid-afternoon, trimming the decline to -0.68%. But the selling resumed and the index ended the day with a 1.34% loss.

The yield on the 10-year Note closed at 1.83%, unchanged from yesterday's close.

Here is a 15-minute chart of the past five sessions.

...

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Insider Scoop

Morgan Stanley Asks, 'What's Driving Gold?'

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related GLD Jim Cramer Shares His Thoughts On Gold, Kinder Morgan And Dollar Tree Mike Khouw Sees Bullish Options Activity In SPDR Gold Trust Making Money With Charles Payne: 11/13/14 (Fox Business)

While other commodity prices have further softened recently, Gold rallied – rising from December low of $1,174/oz. to touch $1,300/oz. Joel Crane, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, expressed pessimism that...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of January 26th, 2015

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Sabrient

Sector Detector: With the Fed fading into shadows, investors look overseas for new catalysts

Reminder: Sabrient is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

By Scott Martindale

Last week, the S&P 500 put an end to its streak of weekly losses, despite giving back some gains on Friday. Thursday provided the big catalyst, with the ECB’s announcement of its bold new monetary stimulus plan. Investors were cheered and soothed for the moment. And U.S. fundamentals still look strong. But with Greece trying to turn back time, with volatility elevated (and likely to continue as such), and with the technical situation still dicey, the near term outlook is still worrisome.

In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart...



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Market Shadows

Are You Trading or Gambling?

ARE YOU TRADING OR GAMBLING?

An interview with John Ehlers of Stock Spotter and Mesa Software

By Ilene

Ilene: John, in our last discussion about trading systems in general and yours in particular (Can trading be reduced to cycles, stresses and vibrations?) you mentioned Monte Carlo simulations and their use in measuring performance. Can you explain more about how you measure the performance of a trading system?

John: Let's start with comparing trading with gambling. The two have several things in common.  In both ...



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Digital Currencies

Jitters After Bitcoin Exchange Suspends Services

So as I was saying yesterday (Bitcoin: The Biggest Clown Show In History?), Bitcoin has several obstacles on the path to potential success as an alternative currency. But I forgot to mention hacking and theft at Bitcoin exchanges and other technical problems. This is related to the lack of government backing and the fact that the value of Bitcoins is based entirely on confidence.  

Jitters After Bitcoin Exchange Suspends Services 

By 



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Pharmboy

2015 - Biotech Fever

Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

PSW Members - well, what a year for biotechs!   The Biotech Index (IBB) is up a whopping 40%, beating the S&P hands down!  The healthcare sector has had a number of high flying IPOs, and beat the Tech Sector in total nubmer of IPOs in the past 12 months.  What could go wrong?

Phil has given his Secret Santa Inflation Hedges for 2015, and since I have been trying to keep my head above water between work, PSW, and baseball with my boys...it is time that something is put together for PSW on biotechs in 2015.

Cancer and fibrosis remain two of the hottest areas for VC backed biotechs to invest their monies.  A number of companies have gone IPO which have drugs/technologies that fight cancer, includin...



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Stock World Weekly

Stock World Weekly

Newsletter writers are available to chat with Members regarding topics presented in SWW, comments are found below each post.

Here's this week's Stock World Weekly.

Click here and sign in with your user name and password. 

 

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Option Review

SPX Call Spread Eyes Fresh Record Highs By Year End

Stocks got off to a rocky start on the first trading day in December, with the S&P 500 Index slipping just below 2050 on Monday. Based on one large bullish SPX options trade executed on Wednesday, however, such price action is not likely to break the trend of strong gains observed in the benchmark index since mid-October. It looks like one options market participant purchased 25,000 of the 31Dec’14 2105/2115 call spreads at a net premium of $2.70 each. The trade cost $6.75mm to put on, and represents the maximum potential loss on the position should the 2105 calls expire worthless at the end of December. The call spread could reap profits of as much as $7.30 per spread, or $18.25mm, in the event that the SPX ends the year above 2115. The index would need to rally 2.0% over the current level...



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Help One Of Our Own PSW Members

"Hello PSW Members –

This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible.  Feel free to contact me directly at jennifersurovy@yahoo.com with any questions.

Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts.  After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.)  Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.

http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/help-get-shadowfax-out-from-the-darkness-of-medical-bills-/126743

Thank you for you time!




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Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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