Inevitably, somebody was going to run a Ponzi scheme with bitcoins, and so it has (allegedly!) come to pass: Trendon Shavers of exurban Dallas won the race to be hit with the first such criminal charges, although some of the element of surprise went out of it when the SEC fined him $40 million for the same thing two months ago.
But Shavers was not content merely to enjoy the proceeds of said (alleged) Ponzi scheme. As old friend Matt points out over at Bloomberg View, in a feat of confidence worthy of Bernie Madoff, he actually bet someone 5,000 bitcoins that his enterprise was not a Ponzi scheme. But do not say Shavers is without honor; say he is without intelligence: Much to his lawyers’ current chagrin, he (allegedly) ‘fessed up that it was, in fact, a Ponzi scheme, and made good on the bet. Read more »
Standard & Poor’s, as you may have heard, is fighting a federal lawsuit with a potentially 10-figure pricetag that accuses it of making up whatever CDO ratings it had to in order to win business rating CDOs. Its defense against these charges are (a) no one should listen to them and (b) that no matter how shady and underhanded their practices seem, the ratings they produced were fine, even if they were totally wrong.
Isn’t this rich? Bill Gates, the richest man in the whole country, thinks Wall Streeters are paid too much.
The compensation problem is a very interesting problem. I do think compensation is often too high, but it’s a very tough problem to solve.
Gates blamed a 1993 federal law capping executive salaries at $1 million–“a bad milestone”–which he said wound up backfiring, encouraging huge bonuses and stock option awards. He doesn’t like that, he said during a discussion on philanthropy in New York yesterday, but he’s wary of doing anything about it, worrying that, like the ’93 law, it will just make things worse.