Posts Tagged ‘securities fraud’

No Redemption

By Ilene

(Originally published at Phil's Stock World. Check back for a follow-up interview in Nov. 2017.)

Interview with Sam Antar

Crazy EddieSam Antar, former CFO of the criminal enterprise "Crazy Eddie," will tell you all about his crimes while insisting he will burn in Hell. He now teaches accountants, lawyers, and FBI agents about white-collar fraud and how to catch white-collar criminals. I met Sam in Portland, at his seminar for healthcare fraud investigators.

Sam opened his lecture by asking the audience, “Can anyone guess why I’m here?” A man in the audience suggested “because you got caught.” (That was the first correct answer in twelve years.) Sam, who was energetic and seemed to be enjoying himself, spoke of Crazy Eddie, fraud, and the investigators charged with bringing criminals to justice. Below, I've posted a summary of Sam's presentation followed by our interview and some background information.

1. Presentation

About fraud

All fraud is basically the same.  All fraud is personal in nature. It’s done on a one to one basis.  Your humanity, ethics, and sense of fairness are weaknesses that we – white collar criminals – seek to exploit.  We have no morality. The more likable and friendly we are, the easier it is for us to commit our crimes. We build walls of false integrity. You never know who the real person is behind a criminal’s carefully choreographed wall of false integrity. Bernie Madoff had a wall of false integrity around him and the lawyers investigating him at the SEC were enamored by his status. That’s why they didn’t properly follow through on whistleblower Harry Markopolos’s tips about Madoff’s criminal activities.

Punishment does very little to prevent crime. It’s not a great deterrent. Criminals don’t stop because they see other people getting caught. While Bernie Madoff committed his crimes for almost two decades, he saw many other criminal get caught. Did that stop him?

When I cooperated with the government it was only to save my own skin. I only cooperated with the US Attorney’s Office, the FBI, the SEC, and lawyer representing victims of my crimes because I did not want to bend down to pick up a bar of soap and worry about who was going to


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The Mainstream Media Doesn’t Know Sh*t About Securities Law or the Goldman Case- with Barry Ritholtz of The Big Picture

The Mainstream Media Doesn’t Know Sh*t About Securities Law or the Goldman Case- with Barry Ritholtz of The Big Picture

Lady justice with scales

Courtesy of Damien Hoffman at Wall St. Cheat Sheet

Last week Barry Ritholtz had an excellent post 10 Things You Don’t Know (or were misinformed) About the GS Case in which Barry noted that 99% of the mainstream media commentary regarding the strength of the SEC’s case is, of course, completely uninformed conjecture.

I sat down with Barry, who is a lawyer with experience in securities law, to get an insightful take on the SEC’s case against Goldman Sachs (GS):

Damien Hoffman: Barry, what annoys you most regarding the media’s commentary on the Goldman case?

Barry: The rule on securities fraud and misrepresentation is straight forward. You cannot make material misrepresentations when selling a security. You can’t say black when it’s white. You can’t say up when it’s down. John Paulson can’t say he’s long 200 million when he’s short 200 million. You just can’t and yet that’s what was done.

It doesn’t matter if Goldman lost money. So what? You can lose money. If I rear-ended a guy with my car and banged up my fender, I lose money. It has nothing to do with fault or guilt. State of mind on all that other stuff is irrelevant. The question is whether Goldman is guilty of committing some form of violation of these rules. It’s either yes or no. It’s amazing people get it so very wrong.

Damien: Which people or publications got it very wrong?

Barry: There are a lot. But, for example, the New York Times got it wrong when they talked about the loss. Market Watch got it wrong when they talked about “Mens Rea” which is mental state. There are just a few who got it wrong and misinformed the public.

You don’t have to be a specialist in this area. You just have to understand that there’s certain specifics of securities rules and litigation. If you are not familiar with that area, then, as I mentioned, pour yourself a big glass of shut-the-fuck-up and sit quietly in the corner.

At first, Jim Cramer, who’s usually smarter than this, lost his objectivity and said, “Goldman lost $90 million, how can there be a crime.” Are these people trying to put forth the legal standard that anyone…
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77 Fraud, Money Laundering, Insider Trading, and Tax Evasion Investigations Underway Regarding TARP

My belief is the benefits of TARP and the entire alphabet soup of lending facilities was not as stated by Bernnake and Geithner, but rather to shift as much responsibility as quickly as possible on to the backs of taxpayers while trumping up nonsensical benefits of doing so. This was done to bail out the banks at any and all cost to the taxpayers. – Mish

77 Fraud, Money Laundering, Insider Trading, and Tax Evasion Investigations Underway Regarding TARP

Courtesy of Mish

Magnifying glass over US dollar bills

Inquiring minds are reading the SIGTARP Quarterly Report To Congress. The report is a massive 224 pages long. I will do my best to condense it down to the critical highlights involving Fraud, Money Laundering, Insider Trading, etc.

Let’s start with the SIGTARP mission, then the findings. 

Mission

SIGTARP’s mission is to advance economic stability by promoting the efficiency and effectiveness of TARP management, through transparency, through coordinated oversight, and through robust enforcement against those, whether inside or outside of Government, who waste, steal or abuse TARP funds.

Let’s dive into the 224 page report and see how well TARP, and the alphabet soup of lending facilities met their stated goals. 

On the positive side, there are clear signs that aspects of the financial system are far more stable than they were at the height of the crisis in the fall of 2008. Many large banks have once again been able to raise funds in the capital markets, and some institutions — including some that appeared to be on the verge of collapse — have recovered sufficiently to repay their TARP investments years earlier than most would have predicted. These repayments and the sales of the warrants associated with them have meant that Treasury (and thus the taxpayer) has turned a profit on some of the individual TARP investments; as a result of these repayments, among other positive developments, it now appears that the ultimate cost of TARP to the American taxpayer, while still substantial, might be significantly less than initially estimated.

Mish: The idea that there are "profits" is fictitious. It’s effectively praising making 10 cents on a dollar while not counting hundreds of $billions lost on AIG and Fannie Mae, and ignoring $300 billion worth of loan guarantees at Citigroup still in effect.

Moreover, the only reason banks…
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Billionaire Arrested for Insider Trading

More on the Raj Rajaratnam insider trading drama…

Billionaire Arrested for Insider Trading

Raj RajaratnamBy AP / LARRY NEUMEISTER, courtesy of TIME

One of America’s wealthiest men was among six hedge fund managers and corporate executives arrested Friday in a hedge fund insider trading case that prosecutors say reaped more than $20 million in illegal profits and should be a wake-up call for Wall Street.

Raj Rajaratnam, a partner in Galleon Management and a portfolio manager for Galleon Group, a hedge fund with up to $7 billion in assets under management, was accused of conspiring with others to trade based on insider information about several publicly traded companies, including Google Inc.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, putting total profits in the scheme at $20.6 million, told a news conference it was the largest hedge fund case ever prosecuted and marked the first use of court-authorized wiretaps to capture conversations by suspects in an insider trading case…

Robert Khuzami, director of enforcement at the Securities and Exchange Commission, said the charges show Rajaratnam’s "secret of success was not genius trading strategies."

"He is not the master of the universe. He is a master of the Rolodex," Khuzami said.

Rajaratnam, 52, was ranked No. 559 by Forbes magazine this year among the world’s wealthiest billionaires, with a $1.3 billion net worth…

The others charged in the case were identified as Danielle Chiesi, 43, of New York City, and Mark Kurland, 60, also of New York City.

According to court papers, Chiesi worked for New Castle, the equity hedge fund group of Bear Stearns Asset Management Inc. that had assets worth about $1 billion under management. Kurland is a top executive at New Castle.

A criminal complaint filed in the case shows that an unidentified person involved in the insider trading scheme began cooperating and authorities obtained wiretaps of conversations between the defendants.

In one conversation about a pending deal that was described in a criminal complaint, Chiesi is quoted as saying: "I’m dead if this leaks. I really am. … and my career is over. I’ll be like Martha (expletive) Stewart."…

Prosecutors charged those arrested Friday with conspiracy and securities fraud…

A separate criminal complaint in the case said Chiesi and Moffat conspired to engage in insider trading in the securities of International Business Machines Corp.

According to a criminal complaint in the case, Chiesi and Rajaratnam were heard on…
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Phil's Favorites

You're a Liar

 

You’re a Liar

Courtesy of 

Brendan Mullooly asked a bunch of people the following question:

What do you consider to be your biggest behavioral bias (as it pertains to investing or personal finance) and how do you work to control it?

My answer:

Hindsight bias was my biggest hurdle to overcome.

Hindsight bias makes one part of our brain lie to another part without even realizing it. The way I conquered my internal liar was to write down all of my trades and why I did them. Once every few weeks I would read what I wrote in order to check myself. If I knew Amazon was going higher, why di...



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Zero Hedge

China Is Spending Billions To Dethrone The U.S. In Race For The World's Fastest Supercomputer

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

China is currently in the midst of a multi-billion dollar investment cycle to upgrade its supercomputer infrastructure in a bid to pass the United States for fastest supercomputer in the world after the United States regained the title for fastest supercomputer in 2018, ending a five-year reign of Chinese dominance.

As SCMP notes, China had been first on the global Top 500 list of supercomputers sinc...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Germany Breakout Bullish For Stocks In The States!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

An important message to stocks in the states will come from Germany in the next few weeks!

This chart looks at the DAX index from Germany over the past 10-years. For the majority of the past 6-years, the DAX has remained inside of rising channel (1). The 2018 decline saw the DAX hit support where a 1-year counter-trend rally started.

Over the past year, the DAX has created a new falling channel (2). It is now testing the top of this falling channel and the lows of last February at (3).

For most of last year, the DAX created a bearish divergence with the...



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ValueWalk

Pension Flows Add 5 More Years To Credit Boom/Bust Cycle

By Michelle Jones. Originally published at ValueWalk.

The pension crisis has been capturing headlines for years, but there’s another layer to the pension issue that’s starting to draw attention to itself. Public pension funds have shown an increasing appetite for credit and related holdings, the latest round of pension flows demonstrates that this trend continues One analyst believes pensions are largely to blame for the extremes of the boom/ bust cycles we’ve seen over the last year or so. He now suggests that the equity bull market could last another five years—thanks to the extremes driven by pension funds.

...

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Insider Scoop

Needham: Facebook No Longer A Buy Amid A 'Negative Network Effect'

Courtesy of Benzinga.

The bullish case for Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB)'s stock has come to an end, according to Needham.

The Analyst

Needham's Laura Martin downgraded Facebook from Buy to Hold with no price target.

The Thesis

Needham's multi-year bullish stance on Facebook's stock can no longer be justified for three key reasons, Martin said in a research report. These include:

  1. A negative potent...


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Biotech

Marijuana is a lot more than just THC - a pharmacologist looks at the untapped healing compounds

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

 

Marijuana is a lot more than just THC - a pharmacologist looks at the untapped healing compounds

Assorted cannabis bud strains. Roxana Gonzalez/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of James David Adams, University of Southern California

Medical marijuana is legal in 33 states as of November 2018. Yet the federal government still insists marijuana has no legal u...



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Chart School

Wyckoff Price Thrust Measure

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

Richard Wyckoff said in his last days as an educator,'follow the waves'. And an important measure of those waves is the 'thrust'. The thrust of price into new ground, considering price and volume support or lack of it. The price wave thrust is clear visual presentation of the composite man demand or supply characteristics: strong, mild, weak or confused. 

readtheticker.com favored trend tool named RTTTrendStatus sister indicator RTTTrendThrust shows off Wykcoff measure of price thrust. RTTTrendThrust can be used to assist mechanical trading systems...

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Digital Currencies

Facebook's cryptocurrency: a financial expert breaks it down

 

Facebook's cryptocurrency: a financial expert breaks it down

Grejak/Shutterstock

Courtesy of Alistair Milne, Loughborough University

Facebook is reportedly preparing to launch its own version of Bitcoin, for use in its messaging applications, WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram. Could this “Facecoin” be the long-awaited breakthrough by a global technology giant into the lucrative market for retail financial services? Or will...



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Members' Corner

Despacito - How to Make Money the Old-Fashioned Way - SLOWLY!

Are you ready to retire?  

For most people, the purpose of investing is to build up enough wealth to allow you to retire.  In general, that's usually enough money to reliably generate a year's worth of your average income, each year into your retirement so that that, plus you Social Security, should be enough to pay your bills without having to draw down on your principle.

Unfortunately, as the last decade has shown us, we can't count on bonds to pay us more than 3% and the average return from the stock market over the past 20 years has been erratic - to say the least - with 4 negative years (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2008) and 14 positives, though mostly in the 10% range on the positives.  A string of losses like we had from 2000-02 could easily wipe out a decades worth of gains.

Still, the stock market has been better over the last 10 (7%) an...



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Mapping The Market

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism

A good start from :

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism

Excerpt:

The threat to America is this: we have abandoned our core philosophy. Our first principle of this nation as a meritocracy, a free-market economy, where competition drives economic decision-making. In its place, we have allowed a malignancy to fester, a virulent pus-filled bastardized form of economics so corrosive in nature, so dangerously pestilent, that it presents an extinction-level threat to America – both the actual nation and the “idea” of America.

This all-encompassing mutant corruption saps men’s souls, crushes opportunities, and destroys economic mobility. Its a Smash & Grab system of ill-gotten re...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

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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Promotions

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:

 

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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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