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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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Chart School

A New Look at the Total Return Roller Coaster

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Note from dshort: I received a recent email requesting an update to my Total Return Roller Coaster series. I've now updated the charts below based on monthly data through the March close.

Here's an interesting set of charts that will especially resonate with those of us who follow economic and market cycles.

Imagine that five years ago you invested $10,000 in the S&P 500. How much would it be worth today, with dividends reinvested but adjusted for inflation?

The purchasing power of your investment has increased to $26,567 for an annualized real return of 19.70%.



...

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Zero Hedge

"Holy Grail" HFT Firm Virtu Questioned By NY AG

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Having the trade record of Bernie Madoff and the braggadocio of a WWF wrestler was just too much for New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to ignore. Rigged Market HFT Poster-child, and recent-delayed IPO, Virtu Financial has received a letter of inquiry from the AG's office requesting information about its business. As Bloomberg reports, a person with knowledge of the matter said this week that six high-frequency trading firms have r...



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Insider Scoop

Rovi Announces Sale of MainConcept Businesses

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related ROVI U.S. Court Of Appeals Sides With Amazon In Rovi Lawsuit Market Wrap For April 8: Markets Bounce Higher As Earnings Season Begins

Rovi Corporation (NASDAQ: ROVI), a global leader in entertainment discovery, announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its DivX and MainConcept businesses. Rovi had previously announced its intent to sell the DivX and MainConcept businesses by the end of the second qua...



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Market Shadows

Canary In the Yen Shaft: $10 trillion JGBs; No Bids!

Two guest authors, David Stockman and long-time contributor John Rubino, write about the current state of Abenomics. 

Canary In the Yen Shaft: $10 trillion JGBs; No Bids!

By  

This one matters a lot. Abenomics was predicated on a lunatic notion—namely, that the economic ills from Japan’s massive debt overhang could be cured by a central bank bond buying spree that was designed to be nearly 3X larger relative to its GDP than that of the Fed. Yet anyone with a modicum of common sense and market...



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Option Review

Wild Ride For Chipotle

Shares in Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (Ticker: CMG) opened higher on Thursday morning, rising more than 6.0% to $589.00, after the restaurant operator reported better than expected first-quarter sales ahead of the opening bell. But, the stock began to falter just before lunchtime on concerns the burrito-maker will increase menu prices for the first time in three years. The price of Chipotle’s shares have since fallen into negative territory and currently trade down 3.5% on the session at $532.89 as of 1:50 p.m. ET.

Chart – Shares in Chipotle cool by lunchtime

...

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Phil's Favorites

The Best of TRB 2014 - Investing and Psychology

 

The Best of TRB 2014 – Investing and Psychology

Courtesy of 

This week I’m in Disney World with the family, our first proper vacation all together in years. As such, I’m off the grid and away from computers of any kind (I’m trying to stay married, you guys). But while I’m gone, I’ve left you some stuff to catch up on…

These were the biggest posts – as read and shared by you – during the first quarter of this year. The theme of today’s collection is good investing and understanding the psychological forces at work when we commit capital. No matter how long I’m doing this...



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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

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

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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Sabrient

What the Market Wants: Positive News and Stocks at Bargain Prices

Courtesy of David Brown, Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Last week’s market performance was nasty again, especially for the Small-cap Growth style/cap, down 4%.  Large-caps faired the best, losing only 2.7%.  That’s ugly and today’s market seemed likely to be uglier today with escalating tensions over the weekend in Ukraine. 

But once again, positive economic trumped the beating of the war drums. Retail Sales jumped up 1.1% over a projected 0.8% and last month’s tepid 0.3%, which was revised up to 0.7%.  While autos led, sales were up solidly overall.  Business inventories were about as expected with a positive tone.  Citigroup (C) handily beat estimates to add to the morning’s surprises.  As a result, the market was positive through most of the day, led by the DJI, up 0.91%, and the S&P 500, up 0.82%.  NASDAQ had a less...



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Digital Currencies

Facebook Takes Life Seriously and Moves To Create Its Own Virtual Currency, Increases UltraCoin Valuation Significantly

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Reggie Middleton.

The Financial Times reports:

[Facebook] The social network is only weeks away from obtaining regulatory approval in Ireland for a service that would allow its users to store money on Facebook and use it to pay and exchange money with others, according to several people involved in the process. 

The authorisation from Ireland’s central bank to become an “e-money” institution would allow ...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of April 14th 2014

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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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 is the new Stock World Weekly. Please sign in with your user name and password, or sign up for a free trial to Stock World Weekly. Click here. 

Chart by Paul Price.

...

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Promotions

See Live Demo Of This Google-Like Trade Algorithm

I just wanted to be sure you saw this.  There’s a ‘live’ training webinar this Thursday, March 27th at Noon or 9:00 pm ET.

If GOOGLE, the NSA, and Steve Jobs all got together in a room with the task of building a tremendously accurate trading algorithm… it wouldn’t just be any ordinary system… it’d be the greatest trading algorithm in the world.

Well, I hate to break it to you though… they never got around to building it, but my friends at Market Tamer did.

Follow this link to register for their training webinar where they’ll demonstrate the tested and proven Algorithm powered by the same technological principles that have made GOOGLE the #1 search engine on the planet!

And get this…had you done nothing b...



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Pharmboy

Here We Go Again - Pharma & Biotechs 2014

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

Ladies and Gentlemen, hobos and tramps,
Cross-eyed mosquitoes, and Bow-legged ants,
I come before you, To stand behind you,
To tell you something, I know nothing about.

And so the circus begins in Union Square, San Francisco for this weeks JP Morgan Healthcare Conference.  Will the momentum from 2013, which carried the S&P Spider Biotech ETF to all time highs, carry on in 2014?  The Biotech ETF beat the S&P by better than 3 points.

As I noted in my previous post, Biotechs Galore - IPOs and More, biotechs were rushing to IPOs so that venture capitalists could unwind their holdings (funds are usually 5-7 years), as well as take advantage of the opportune moment...



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Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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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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