Justice Served Up Daily

insider trading

Justice Served Up April 1 2014

FBI Badge & gun.

FBI Badge & gun. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here is what we are reading today:

FBI Opens Investigation Into High Frequency Trading Info Leaks (Bloomberg) -  Federal agents are investigating whether high-frequency trading firms break U.S. laws by acting on nonpublic information to gain an edge over competitors.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s inquiry stems from a multiyear crackdown on insider trading, which has led to at least 79 convictions of hedge-fund traders and others. Agents are examining, for example, whether traders abuse information to act ahead of orders by institutional investors, according to an FBI spokesman. Even trades based on computer algorithms could amount to wire fraud, securities fraud or insider trading.

Pillow Talk Results In Insider Trading (Bloomberg) - wo California husbands who allegedly heard their executive wives discussing nonpublic information about their technology company employers on the phone were sued for insider-trading by securities regulators.  The lawsuits are the latest in a string of recent U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission cases involving men, including the husband of former Playboy Enterprises Inc. Chief Executive Officer Christie Hefner, who allegedly traded on inside information they learned from spouses over the objections or without the knowledge of their wives.

Drug Company Seeks Legal Fees For Its Cooperation In SAC Insider Trading Case (DealBook) - Elan Pharmaceuticals is seeking to recoup the more than $1.5 million in legal fees it paid to comply with document requests by the federal government in its insider trading investigation of the hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors.  The drug company is asking the federal judge presiding over the hearing in April on the guilty plea and penalty for Steven A. Cohen’s hedge fund to consider it as a victim under the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act. Elan submitted a letter to Judge Laura T. Swain of federal District Court saying it incurred the legal fees from its outside law firm Shearman & Sterling in connection with the SAC inquiry.

Ordinary Decisions With Not So Ordinary Consequences (DealBook) -  The Nobel Prize winning physicist Richard P. Feynman once said, “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.” That notion seems especially applicable to white-collar crimes that are the result of ordinary decisions by people who rarely seem to have recognized the path they were going down because they decided to fool themselves.  The collapse of the New York law firm Dewey & LeBeouf provides a good example of how a series of seemingly mundane accounting maneuvers led to guilty pleas by seven workers in its financial operation, called the “Dewey Seven” by DealBook, and criminal charges against four others. Expenses were not properly recorded so it seemed that the firm’s net income was higher and false documents were created to make it appear that the firm would receive payments from clients when there was nothing to collect.

Citigroup Uncovered Rogue Trading In Mexico, Fired Bond Traders (Reuters) -  Citigroup's (C.N) Mexican subsidiary Banamex fired two bond traders after uncovering rogue trading last year, two sources close to the matter said, raising fresh questions over what controls the troubled unit had in place to police employees.  Banamex suffered paper losses from unauthorized trading that ran into the millions or perhaps even tens of millions of dollars, the sources said.

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Justice Served Up February 5 2014

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Here is what we are reading on white-collar crime:

The Legal Way To Insider Trade: Tweet It! (Forbes) - Not a day goes by that some journalist doesn't toot his/her own horn about how they got a story from an "inside" source at a company.  My thought was how is that any different than hedge funds who constantly are on the hunt for information ... the only thing a hedge fund analyst is missing is a Twitter account to make it all legit.

The Jury Has The Martoma Case (Bloomberg) -   A jury ended its first day of deliberations without reaching a verdict in the trial of former SAC Capital Advisors LP fund manager Mathew Martoma, accused by federal prosecutors of masterminding the most lucrative insider trading scheme in U.S. history.  Martoma’s trial began with jury selection Jan. 7 after federal investigators failed to persuade him to cooperate in their probe of SAC Capital and its owner Steven A. Cohen.

JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley Settle Mortgage Lawsuit for $1.86 billion (Bloomberg) - Morgan Stanley (MS) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) agreed to pay $1.86 billion to end U.S. accusations of misconduct in their handling of home loans and related securities that left taxpayers shouldering losses after the financial crisis.

Deutsche Bank Fires Three Currency Traders Amid Probe (Reuters)Deutsche Bank AG DBKGN.DE has fired three New York-based currency traders, in the latest sign that a probe over alleged manipulation of foreign exchange markets is gathering steam, according to a source familiar with the situation.  Diego Moraiz, Robert Wallden and Christopher Fahy were terminated by the bank, which told trading floor staff of the development on Tuesday, according to the source.

Ethics Resource Center Releases Ethics Survey for 2013 (Ethics Resource Center) - Guess what?  We're getting more ethical!

Congress Gets More Lobbyist Perks Than The Abramoff Years (National Journal) -   Members of Congress and their aides took more free trips around the world in 2013 than in any year since new restrictions were put in place after the Jack Abramoff influence-peddling scandal.  The website LegiStorm, which compiles congressional travel records, said Monday that lawmakers and their staffs took a combined 1,887 free trips last year for a total cost of almost $6 million.  That amount is more than double the sum private groups spent on congressional trips in 2008, the first full year that the tightened travel rules of 2007 went into effect. The total number of trips has bounded upward by more than 60 percent since 2008 as well.  Last year, lawmakers enjoyed all-expenses-paid journeys to Ireland, Morocco, France, South Africa, Israel, Turkey, and many more destinations, according to House travel records.

Army Probes Allegations Of Fraud Over Enlistment Incentive Program (Wasihington Post) - Army criminal investigators are probing allegations that hundreds of National Guard recruiters and others with ties to the military abused an enlistment referral program established at the height of the Iraq war, officials disclosed Monday, describing a massive racket that appears to have gone undetected for years.

A Look At The Affect Of Prison On The Family Left Behind (MarketPlace) -   At the end of last year, the Department of Justice issued a memo stating the federal prison system is in crisis: It’s overcrowded and expensive to run. And while there’s always a lot of hand-wringing over the burdened taxpayer - it costs about $29,000 a year to keep an inmate in federal prison - it can also be expensive for the family.

 

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Justice Served up February 4 2014

English: Bernard Madoff's mugshot

English: Bernard Madoff's mugshot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here is what we are reading today:

Martoma Lawyer Claims The Real Guy Govt After Is Cohen (Bloomberg) -  Former SAC Capital Advisors LP fund manager Mathew Martoma was portrayed by his lawyer as the victim of a “rush to judgment” by prosecutors looking to use him to bring insider-trading charges against his former boss, Steven A. Cohen.  The jury could begin considering the case as soon as today.

Five Fmr Madoff Employees Start Their Defense (Bloomberg) -  Five former aides to Bernard Madoff are seen as facing tough odds in trying to convince a jury they were innocent bystanders to the con man’s $17 billion fraud, given what one lawyer called the “avalanche” of evidence presented by prosecutors.  After months of testimony by Madoff accomplices, industry experts and former clerical staff, the three men and two women on trial since October will begin presenting their defense cases as soon as today in Manhattan federal court. The defendants have pleaded not guilty and claim Madoff duped them.

HP Announces Accounting Errors Discovered In Autonomy Purchase (DealBook) -   Hewlett-Packard has disclosed to the authorities that it found what it said were serious accounting errors at Autonomy, the British software maker it acquired in 2011, leading to a number of major revisions in the acquired company’s financial report for 2010.  Among the changes in the restatements were an 81 percent cut in the operating profit of a major Autonomy subsidiary, to 19.6 million pounds, and a 54 percent drop in revenue. The audit was conducted on H.P.’s behalf by Ernst & Young.

SAC Capital Rebrands Itself As Family Company (NY Times) -   SAC Capital Advisors, synonymous with an insider trading scandal that has consumed the hedge fund industry, will soon cease to exist as Wall Street has known it.  Steven A. Cohen’s 22-year-old hedge fund — once the envy of Wall Street — is completing plans to change its name and its corporate structure by mid-March, according to people briefed on the matter, a rebranding effort that comes after SAC pleaded guilty last year to criminal insider trading charges.

New Orleans Drug Enforcement Agency Sees Abuse (The Advisor) - Law enforcement officials are investigating possible payroll fraud within the state Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control, an inquiry that has opened a window into internal turmoil the agency has seen under Commissioner Troy Hebert.

 

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Justice Served Up January 29 2014

Here is what we are reading today:

Convicted Insider Trader James Fleishman Has A New Book Out (Forbes) - Walt Pavlo interviewed James Fleishman about his life since conviction on insider trading charges.  He has a new book out and goes into detail about his case and what he feels was a wrongful prosecution.  Must read!!

SAC's General Counsel Testifies At Martoma Insider Trading Trial (DealBook) -  Peter Nussbaum, the general counsel of SAC Capital Advisors, took the witness stand on Tuesday in a bold and surprising move by the defense at the insider trading case of Mathew Martoma, a former SAC trader.  The move came after the government rested its case and after three weeks of testimony from 20 witnesses. The defense’s case is expected to take considerably less time.

U.S. Govt Seeks To Keep BP Suspended From Govt Contracts (Bloomberg) -   BP Plc. (BP/)’s suspension from new government contracts and oil leases after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill should continue because, government lawyers argued, the company hasn’t demonstrated it’s a responsible contractor.   BP is fighting a 2012 ban imposed on 20 affiliates by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which prevents all BP entities from bidding on any new government supply contracts or oil leases. The suspension, which doesn’t affect BP’s earlier government contracts, was imposed after the agency determined the London-based company hadn’t fully corrected problems that led to the fatal explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and the worst offshore spill in U.S. history.

Another Foxconn Exec Arrested On Bribery Charges (Bloomberg) -   A former Foxconn Technology Group executive was detained yesterday by an order of a Taiwan judge, making him the second former employee ordered to be held in an investigation of bribe payments from suppliers.  The former executive, who had been free on bail, can be jailed as long as two months and investigators can seek a further two-month extension before filing any charges, Huang Mou-hsin, deputy chief prosecutor of the Taipei District Prosecutors Office said by phone today.

Never Ask A Congressman About Campaign Finance Abuses During A TV Interview (CBS) -  A congressman took great exception Tuesday night to being questioned by a New York cable news reporter about allegations surrounding his campaign finances and was heard on-camera threatening to throw the reporter off a balcony if the reporter brought up the topic again.  Following President Obama's  State of the Union address, Rep. Michael Grimm, a Republican from the New York City borough of Staten Island, was asked for his thoughts by New York 1's Michael Scotto.

What It's Like To Work On Wall Street (Yahoo) - Yahoo interviewed Patrick Curtis, founder of Wall Street Oasis, about what it is like to work on Wall Street .... long hours and all.

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Justice Served Up December 24 2013

Image representing SAP as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

Here is what we are reading today, Christmas Eve:

Ponzi Schemes In Review 2013 Had $3 billion in Losses, 1,000 Years Prison (PonziTracker) - Ponzitracker presents a comprehensive database containing both new Ponzi schemes uncovered in 2013 and the sentences handed down to Ponzi fraudsters in 2013.  The simple truth is that there is no resource compiling these statistics in an easily accessible format, and this resource aims to fill that gap.  Great work by my good friend Jordan Maglich.

SAC's Cohen Knew Of Govt Insider Probe In 2009 (DealBook) -  By the summer of 2009, the billionaire investor Steven A. Cohen appeared to be growing suspicious that federal authorities were gathering evidence about insider trading in the hedge fund industry.  When a former employee approached Mr. Cohen that summer, seeking a job at SAC Capital Advisors, his hedge fund, Mr. Cohen called a friend at another hedge fund and told him to be careful about talking to the former trader, according to people briefed on the matter.

Insider Trading Case Involving SAP Settled (Bloomberg) - A former board assistant to the co-chief executive officer of SAP AG, the German software maker, made $43,500 in illicit profit through insider trading, the Securities and Exchange Commission claimed in a lawsuit.

Fmr Tiffany Exec Sentenced To One Year Prison For Jewel Theft (Bloomberg) -  A former Tiffany & Co. (TIF) executive who stole jewelry including diamond rings and bracelets worth $2.1 million over eight of her almost 25 years at the luxury retailer was sentenced to a year and a day in prison by a federal judge who called her crime “inexplicable.”  The sentence was less than a third of the term sought by federal prosecutors for Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun, 47, who was a vice president of product development and design.

 

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Justice Served Up December 19 2013

English: Wall Street sign on Wall Street

English: Wall Street sign on Wall Street (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here is what we are reading today:

SAC's Michael Steinberg Guilty (DealBook) - Michael S. Steinberg, the highest-ranking employee at SAC Capital Advisors to become ensnared in a sweeping insider trading investigation, was found guilty on Wednesday of trading on secrets gleaned from some of the nation’s largest technology companies.  The conviction deals the latest blow to SAC, the giant hedge run by the billionaire stock picker Steven A. Cohen. Coming on the heels of a record $1.2 billion deal SAC struck with prosecutors along with pleading guilty to insider trading charges – concluding a rare criminal case against a large corporation – Mr. Steinberg’s conviction further clouds the future of a hedge fund that was once the envy of Wall Street.

With Steinberg Guilty, Martoma Is On Deck - He Better Plead Guilty (Forbes) - The verdict of guilty against Michael Steinberg has to be a tough one for former SAC employee Mathew Martoma whose insider trading trial begins January 6, 2014.  It was supposed to begin on November 4, meaning that it might have ended just prior to the Steinberg trial.  With the delay, Martoma has to be rethinking his strategy … a strategy to plead guilty.

Ex-EPA Official Gets 32-Months Prison For Freeloading On Job (Bloomberg) -  A former high-ranking U.S. Environmental Protection Agency official who skipped years of work by faking assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency was sentenced to 32 months in prison for stealing government property.  John Beale, 65, collected paychecks from about 2000 through this year despite absences from work totaling about 2 1/2 years that he explained by falsely claiming he was working for the CIA.

Former BP Engineer Kurt Mix Guilty On One Count, Not Guilty On Other (Bloomberg) -  A former BP Plc (BP/) senior engineer was found guilty of destroying evidence sought by the U.S. in a probe of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico well explosion and oil spill.  A federal jury in New Orleans today found the engineer, Kurt Mix, guilty of one of two counts of obstruction of justice. Prosecutors said Mix deleted from his mobile phone text messages and voice mails related to BP’s effort to estimate the size of what turned out to be largest U.S. offshore oil spill.  Mix, who was involved in leading efforts to cap the Macondo well as crude gushed into the gulf, denied intentionally destroying evidence. His lawyer Joan McPhee asked U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. to throw out the guilty verdict. Duval deferred ruling on that motion. He released Mix on bond and set sentencing for March 26. Mix faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

BP Makes Fraud Claims Against Lawyers Filing On Behalf Of Harmed Fishermen (WWLTV) - BP’s toxic battle to undo its expensive oil spill damage settlement may have hit a new low on Tuesday.  Just hours after plaintiffs’ attorneys filed a motion in federal court saying that BP misled the court about the true nature of business claims the company complained were improperly paid, the oil giant took the fight to a new level by accusing a plaintiffs’ lawyer of fraud and attempting to shut down the previously unquestioned seafood compensation program.

Three Indicted Washington National Trust Mortgage Fraud (Chicago Tribune) -  An alleged mortgage scam that swindled at least 54 suburban, primarily Hispanic homeowners out of $220,000 has resulted in three federal indictments.  Melvin T. Bell, 37; Monica Hernandez, 43; and Carlos Rayas, 39, face federal fraud charges tied to their operation of Washington National Trust, which promised struggling homeowners in the Aurora area a way out of foreclosure and into reduced mortgage payments for a fee of $5,000 to $10,000.  But Washington National wasn't a trust, wasn't licensed to make mortgages or modify loans, and the fees collected were used to operate the business, pay finders' fees to people who helped ensnare other victims, and for personal use, the U.S. attorney's office charged in an indictment unsealed Tuesday.

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Justice Served Up November 12 2013

Here is what we are reading:

Determining the Victims Of Insider Trading (DealBook) -  The guilty plea hearing last week in the Justice Department’s prosecution of SAC Capital Advisors raised an interesting question about the law of insider trading: Just who are the victims of a violation? A provision of the federal securities laws gives those who traded at the same time as the insider a right to sue for a violation, but the Justice Department said they are not victims of the crime.  At the hearing, the firm’s general counsel, Peter Nussbaum, expressed “our deep remorse for the misconduct of each individual who broke the law while employed at SAC.” But even though SAC admitted guilt, the plea agreement has not been approved yet by Judge Laura Taylor Swain of the Federal District Court in Manhattan.

JPMorgan Considering Chat-Room Ban (Crain's New York) - JPMorgan Chase & Co., the largest U.S. bank by assets, is weighing whether to ban traders from using electronic chat rooms to communicate with peers at other firms as the forums draw scrutiny from global regulators, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.  JPMorgan's deliberations, which should be complete by early 2014, focus on multi-dealer chat rooms for currencies and other asset classes, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, Britain's biggest publicly owned lender, is also reviewing its use of chat rooms as part of an overhaul of its trading practices around market benchmarks, another person said.

Businessman Convicted In Phony Deed Scheme (Orange County Register) - A Long Beach man accused of seizing distressed Southern California homes and renting them out as his own was convicted Wednesday of five felony counts of recording false real estate documents.

Have White Collar Crimes Become Overcriminalized (NY Times) -  If we intend to punish people, shouldn't we reasonably expect that they knew their actions were crimes?  We all know that murder, rape and robbery are criminal acts. And there was never any question that Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme was a fraud that violated the law. We even know that speeding on the highway can result in a speeding ticket, but we still post speed limit signs.

White Collar Brawlers (Esquire) - Esquire Magazine is launching a new television network and one show allows office co-workers to slug it out in the ring.  Check Your local listings for the show which starts Nov 19.

Google Designs Throat Tattoo That Detects Lying (Business Insider) - The electronic skin tattoo 200 can include a galvanic skin response detector to detect skin resistance of a user. It is contemplated that a user that may be nervous or engaging in speaking falsehoods may exhibit different galvanic skin response than a more confident, truth telling individual.

 

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Justice Served Up September 30 2013

Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban (Photo credit: jdlasica)

Here is what we are reading today:

Mark Cuban Heads To Trial On Insider Trading Charges (Business Insider) -  The government's insider-trading case against Mark Cuban goes to trial Monday in federal court in Dallas.   Cuban is accused of using insider information to dump his stock in a small Internet-search company in 2004 just before the shares fell in value. He avoided $750,000 in losses. The Securities and Exchange Commission wants Cuban to give up the money and pay a civil penalty.

Convicted Stem Cell Schemer, 87, Sentenced To Jail (Trib Town) - An 87-year-old unlicensed physician was sentenced Tuesday to 17½ years in federal prison for heading a stem cell scam in Las Vegas that prosecutors said preyed on terminally ill patients and exposed them to risky placenta implant procedures.

Lumber Liquidators Raided By Feds (USA Today) - Federal authorities on Thursday executed a search warrant at the Virginia headquarters of hardwood flooring retailer Lumber Liquidators.  Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations spokesman Brandon Montgomery said the warrant was executed at the company's Toano, Va., headquarters and a Lumber Liquidators business location in suburban Richmond in coordination with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of Justice.

Fmr KPMG Partner In Securities Fraud Case Barred From Accounting (Patch) - A Securities and Exchange Commission order announced Friday prohibits Scott London from practicing as an accountant on behalf of any publicly traded company or other entity regulated by the agency.

Pro Poker Player Charged With Fraud (Reuters) - World-renowned professional poker player Archie Karas, has been arrested on charges of cheating and defrauding a casino after authorities say he was caught marking cards at a California blackjack table.

U.K. Citizen Chris Tappin Survived Over a Year in U.S. Prison Is Back Home (Mail Online) -  A retired businessman who battled extradition before he was jailed in America for smuggling arms to Iran has been returned to the UK.  Millionaire Christopher Tappin, 66, had been locked up in Allenwood prison in Pennsylvania since January, but will now complete his 33-month sentence in a British jail. 

Psychic Rose Marks Found Guilty (SF Business Journal) - Guess she did not see this coming, but Rose Marks was found guilty of a $25 million scheme in which she had clients pay big dollars for psychic readings.  Really.

Bookkeeper Goes To Prison (Central Valley) - Short writeup that happens all to often ... trusted employee sentenced to prison because there was no oversight, and a lack of will to do the right thing.  Toxic combination.

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Justice Served Up August 7 2013

Here is what we are reading today:

"Insider Trading" Needs To Be Defined (Forbes) - The only group that has the definition of insider trading down pat is the federal prosecutor's office in New York.  Here's a look at the no-win position compliance departments find themselves.

Closing Women's Federal Prison In CT Leads To More Problems (Forbes) - This month, more than 1,100 low-security female inmates at the federal prison in Danbury, CT will be moved to a new prison.  The reason for the move is that Danbury is converting to a men’s facility (sorry, no coed prisons in the U.S., yet).  The women’s new home?  Aliceville, AL.

JP Morgan And Goldman Sachs Sued In Antitrust Case (Bloomberg) - The banks are accused in the complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Tallahassee of racketeering and conspiring with the London Metal Exchange, hoarding aluminum in Detroit-area warehouses and violating federal antitrust laws. Goldman Sachs was sued on Aug. 1 over similar claims by a Michigan company.

UBS Settles Federal Claim In Mortgage Case (Dealbook) - UBS agreed on Tuesday to pay $50 million to settle federal accusations that it misled investors about a complex mortgage security, a transaction that loomed over the government’s recent legal battle with a former Goldman Sachs trader blamed for his role in creating a similar security.

Justice Dept Sues Bank of America Over Mortgage Securities (DealBook) - The latest litigation centers on Bank of America’s own homegrown mortgage operations. And the loans at issue were represented as prime jumbo mortgages — at the time, 2007, loans of more than $417,000 for a single-unit dwelling — rather than subprime mortgages, which were at the heart of the mortgage crisis.

 

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Justice Served Up July 19 2013

English: Rajat Kumar Gupta, Chairman of the Bo...

English: Rajat Kumar Gupta, Chairman of the Board, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; Senior Partner Emeritus, McKinsey & Company, USA; Member of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum, captured during the session 'Completing the Malaria Mission' at the Annual Meeting 2009 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 31, 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here is what we are reading today:

Goldman Witness Says Tourre Did Not Disclose Paulson Role (Bloomberg) The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) employee who ran the firm’s mortgage correlation trading desk testified that Fabrice Tourre failed to tell investors about the role of Paulson & Co. in the deal at the center of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s fraud case against him.

Gupta Ordered To Pay $13.9 Million In Inside-Trading Case (Bloomberg)Rajat Gupta, the former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. director found guilty of passing confidential tips to billionaire hedge-fund manager Raj Rajaratnam, was ordered to pay $13.9 million in a related U.S. regulatory case.

Formula One's Ecclestone Charged In German Bribe Case (Reuters)Formula One Chief Executive Bernie Ecclestone has been charged with bribing a German banker to smooth the sale of a stake in the motor racing business to private equity firm CVC eight years ago.  Ecclestone, 82, has denied wrongdoing and will fight to clear his name. 

Supervision Of Federal Inmates Significantly Cheaper Than Incarceration (US Courts) In 2012, the annual cost of placing an offender in a Bureau of Prisons institution or federal residential reentry center was roughly eight times the cost of placing the same offender under post-conviction supervision by a federal probation officer. 

Small VT Town Stuggles With Theft By Trusted Treasurer (Burlington Free Press) Former Weybridge Town Clerk and Treasurer Karen Brisson will serve two years in federal prison for stealing at least $400,000 from the taxpayers in the tiny Addison County community.  Town continues to search for answer to "Why?"

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