Harvard Law School

Over at the New Yorker today, you will find a long piece exploring the coming undone of the hedge fund formerly known as SAC Capital, now Point72 Asset Management, at the hands of a trader formerly known as Ajai Thomas, now Mathew Martoma. Although nearly a dozen ex-SAC employees have been charged with and convicted of securities fraud over the last several years, it was really the work of work of Martoma, accused in November 2012 of orchestrating “the largest insider trading scheme ever” and found guilty last spring, that was the straw that broke the embalmed shark’s back. Particular details to note:

* While SAC has a history as an extremely cutthroat place to work, where the “down and out” clause means traders are cut loose swiftly and without hesitation, and insults from on high are in no short supply, it was no match for the household of Martoma’s youth, headed by a guy who could teach Steve Cohen a thing or two.

When Martoma’s father first came to America, he was admitted to M.I.T., but he could not afford to attend. He retained a fascination with Cambridge, however, and prayed daily that his oldest son would go to Harvard. Martoma graduated from high school as co-valedictorian, but he ended up going to Duke. Shortly after Mathew’s eighteenth birthday, Bobby presented him with a plaque inscribed with the words “Son Who Shattered His Father’s Dream.”

* Steve Cohen has continued his long and storied tradition of displaying once-living things in boxes at the 72 Cummings Point Road headquarters.

S.A.C. was a notoriously intense place to work. Its headquarters, on a spit of land in Stamford, Connecticut, overlooking the Long Island Sound, are decorated with art from Cohen’s personal collection, including “Self,” a refrigerated glass cube, by Marc Quinn, containing a disembodied head sculpted from the artist’s frozen blood.

* That anecdote that circulating a while back about how Martoma had fainted on his front lawn when approached by the Feds? It wasn’t the mere sight of them, or some sort of line about how they knew he’d been trading on material non-public information that caused him to collapse, but rather this: Read more »

  • 05 Sep 2014 at 1:42 PM

Mathew Martoma Is Still Going To Jail

Despite his lawyer’s arguments that 1) The government’s key witness can’t be trusted and 2) That whole business with the fake Harvard Law transcripts made him look bad in the eyes of the jury. Read more »

Did the revelation that Martoma, who at the time went by the surname Thomas, created fake transcripts and sent them to judges with whom he was seeking clerkships and then tried to pass the whole thing off as a joke that he blamed on his brother, make Martoma/Thomas look bad? You bet. Did the jury nevertheless find him guilty strictly based on the evidence that he convinced a little old man to give him confidential drug trial results and broke a host of securities laws on the way to orchestrating the most lucrative insider trading scheme ever? That’s what people who did graduate from law school are going with: Read more »

  • 13 Jan 2014 at 12:00 PM

Exclusive Preview: Harvard Law School Class Notes

1999: ARLO DEVLIN-BROWN Law ’99 writes that you never know where you’ll run into a classmate. He is prosecuting MATHEW MARTOMA (nee Thomas) ’99* on insider trading charges in Lower Manhattan. Devlin-Brown has asked U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe (unfortunately Penn ’79, Columbia ’82) for permission to talk about Matt’s expulsion from Harvard for doctoring his transcript, so get ready for fireworks! The trial is expected to last several weeks, so for anyone who missed WILLIAM PULLMAN and Lisa Frank’s (Yale ’03, NYU Law ’08, NYU Stern ’08) Christmas Eve nuptials, it would be a great opportunity for a mini-reunion!” Read more »

Yesterday we learned that Mathew Martoma, on trial for orchestrating “the largest insider trading scheme in history,” got himself expelled from Harvard Law School 15 years ago for creating fake transcripts to boost his grades. Obviously, this is not a great thing to have come to light if you are about to ask a jury to believe you are an innocent man, particularly if the judge presiding over your case is going to allow the story to be included by the prosecution.

But apparently changing his Civil Procedure grade from B to A (Contracts from B+ to A; Criminal Law B to A) was but a warm up for the deluge of lies the artist formerly known as Ajai Mathew Thomas would go on to tell! The subsequent ones, courtesy of the findings of Harvard’s administrative board, included:

  • Claiming the fake transcript was only meant to be seen by his parents

Mr. Thomas asserts that he did not purposefully send the judges the altered transcript. He contends that they received it by accident. According to Mr. Thomas, he altered his transcript only for the purpose of deceiving his parents.

  • Blaming the mix up on his brother

At the end of December of in early January, Mr. Thomas’s application for a clerkship was sent to 23 judges in the United States Court of Appeals. The applications included the altered transcript. . . . Mr. Thomas has stated that it was his intention that the real transcript be sent with his applications. According to his statement, he arranged with his brother for the latter to prepare the packets of materials for mailing to each judge; his brother came across the altered transcript and, mistakenly believing that it was the real transcript, included it with the application.

  • Potentially the best lie among the lot, the one in which he said that after he was asked to interview with the judges who received the altered grades, he tried his hardest to come off as a candidate they wouldn’t want to hire…

On January 26 and 27, Mr. Thomas interviewed for a clerkship with Judge Sentelle, Judge Randolph, and Judge Ginsburg of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Mr. Thomas did not disclose to the judges that the transcript that they had received was not accurate…Mr. Thomas has stated that it was his intention, in order to avoid any harmful effect from the altered transcript, not to be offered a clerkship and that he tried not to be a successful candidate at the interviews.

  • …but damn it, they saw through his act!

Read more »

Before Mathew Martoma was (allegedly!) telling Steve Cohen to dump large positions in Elan and Wyeth based on inside information he received from a doctor involved in clinical trials of an Alzheimer’s drug, he was making fake transcripts of his grades at Harvard Law School. Read more »