Over at the Journal today, you will find an amazing story chronicling an FBI sting operation called “Operation Pennypincher,” wherein an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation posed as a crooked hedge fund manager named John Kelly, of the fictional SeaFin Capital. Starting in 2010, Kelly (real name: John Keelan) invited people to his office, which was “tucked behind an auto-parts supplier in a Boston suburb” and asked them to “help him reel in executives of penny-stock companies willing to pay a huge kickback in return for an investment of up to $5 million by SeaFin.” (Naturally, these meetings were surreptitiously videotaped.)

One of the people with whom Kelly/Keelan took a meeting was Edward Henderson. A 71 year-old retiree from Rhode Island who previously worked as a stockbroker, Henderson was just your average guy looking for a straightforward scam with a nice little payoff. A straightforward legit scam, run by honest, hardworking criminals. So when something in his gut told him, “Hey wait a second…,” he seriously considered backing out of the whole thing, until saying “Fuck it” and going through with it anyway. Read more »

At the end of October, Deutsche Bank held a town hall on the topic of electronic communication, specifically the perils of making statements re: engaging in fraud, even in jest. To be safe, one should reserve such riffing for face-to-face conversations, or, to avoid headaches in the form of house calls from the FBI, insert some sort of disclaimer in the chat making clear that any talk of breaking the law is not to be taken seriously. Clearly, these are good tips that Deutsche employees will presumably employ moving forward. Unfortunately, they came a bit too late for trader Richard Whalen, who in retrospect would’ve appreciated hearing them before taking part in the “ill-advised” banter that led to this: Read more »

Enough, already! You don’t need to increase your compliance staff 20-fold; you just need to stop insider-trading. Read more »

  • 12 Dec 2012 at 4:55 PM

But How Will It Affect Its Stock Price?

Facebook isn’t only good for wasting time, building a record of one’s unsuitableness as a hire and losing investors’ money. It is a crime-fighting revolution. Read more »

There is no denying that Jeffrey Gundlach is a hugely talented man whose IQ would rank among the highest in the world if he ever had it tested. “What’s it like having lunch with a genius,” he once asked a colleague, who presumably answered, “To be honest, it’s giving me an inferiority complex just breathing the same air as you, knowing that your brain is the standard for how intelligence will be measured from now until the end of eternity.” Until recently, however, the application of Gundlach’s brilliance was largely confined to bond management. According to a new profile by Bloomberg Markets, though, Gundlach’s intellectual prowess is just as if not more impressive when it comes to crime solving. Read more »

Charlie Gasparino is on the scene: Read more »

  • 28 Feb 2012 at 3:52 PM

Getting Half-Arrested

It’s been dead here lately with the NBA on break. Not so for Irish, a cross-town bookie who called to pass along that he was “half-arrested”. I kind of thought that getting half-arrested was like getting half-pregnant, so I asked for details.

Two plainclothes city cops knocked on his door mid-morning: could he please come down to the precinct at 3 p.m. to answer some questions? So Irish dutifully showed up with our lawyer. (Yeah, most of us here use the same lawyer. He’s something of a specialist. It’s our version of Group Medical.)

The cops wanted Irish to talk all about all his customers, but nobody specific. Wanted Irish’s stream-of-consciousness or whatever. Our lawyer summed up all the righteous indignation $300-an-hour can buy and said that first, Irish wasn’t admitting making book. Second, if he was a bookie, idly chatting about clients’ lives would kill his business. Last, being a customer is never a crime, ever. Read more »