Bank of America suspended a plan to buy back $4 billion of stock and boost its dividend after discovering an error in the way it calculated its capital levels…The second-largest U.S. bank by assets said it discovered the error and brought it to the attention of the Federal Reserve, which then required it to resubmit its capital plan. It has 30 days to do so. The Fed on March 26 approved Bank of America’s proposal to increase its annual dividend to five cents a common share from a penny and expand its share buybacks. The Charlotte, N.C., lender said it now plans to request less than the previously approved plan…The misvalued structured notes were debt securities issued by Merrill Lynch. When the value of the underlying companies changed, the bank failed to readjust the value of the bonds as well. [WSJ]
Behold The Dazzling Array Of Lies Mathew Martoma (née Thomas) Told Before Getting Expelled From Harvard Law SchoolBy Bess Levin
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!
They may be rogue bums but they’re SAC’s rogue bums. Read more »
Oil traders razor-focused on signs of escalating violence in the Middle East were jolted on Thursday by a Twitter posting from the Israeli military that, at first glance, suggested they had just bombed Syrian airports. Oil prices jumped $1 as the talk raced through oil markets, which frequently react quickly to rumors of geopolitical events and where traders have increasingly turned to the Internet and social media for advance warning of escalating risks, from the Arab Spring to the Iranian nuclear standoff. The Tweet was true, but it wasn’t news. The posting referred to an attack 40 years ago in the Yom Kippur war, the latest in a series of Tweets from the Israel Defense Forces Twitter handle (@IDFSpokesperson) commemorating the war. The Tweet just before 10:30 a.m. EDT stated: “October 10 #YomKippur73: Israel Air Force bombards airports in Syria to prevent Soviet weapons reaching the Syrian Army”. It then links to a website that gives a day-by-day account of the war. “Obviously this was part of our Yom Kippur Twitter series. The facts are there and simple to read. It was apparent within the Tweet itself,” said IDF spokesman Peter Lerner. [Reuters]
Next Edition Of John Thomas Financial’s Little Book Of Big Cold Calls Might Want To Include Advice For What To Do In The Event You’ve Reached A Securities Regulator At HomeBy Bess Levin
John Thomas Financial was a boiler room operation that is no longer with us, in part because its founder, Tommy Belesis (pictured at right in a Money Never Sleeps cameo), was accused of fraud (and threatening to hit someone with this car) this past spring. When it was still around, JTF distributed pitchbooks filled with tips for cold calling potential investors and scripts to follow based on certain situations one might find him or herself in over the course of a conversation. Included were such gems as:
* “Give me just 1% of your trust and confidence and I will earn the other 99%.” (A “Power Phrase”)
* “If I am half right, we go out for a steak dinner on you…is that fair enough?” (Another “Power Phrase”)
* “This isn’t something I want you to do; this is something you need to do for yourself.” (Also “Power Phrase”To be deployed in the event someone says they have “three kids in college)
* Let’s face it, if you go home and tell your wife that you want to invest with a broker whom you don’t know very well, chances are you will be hit with a frying pan and spending the night on the couch. However, once she sees my brochure from the firm and a dossier that I send you in the FedEx package with a buy confirmation, what do you think she is going to say? Besides, it is a lot easier to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission, right? (Re: “Let me speak to my wife)
* “The law of averages say that you have to sift through 100 brokers before you find the one that can make you money consistently. Well, I have got to tell you that the search has ended. Start out on 100 shares, and once you realize the value of our research and the level of dedication to our clients, you will never want to open another account again!” (A “Closer”)
Unfortunately, there was no section or pre-written lines in there re: what to say should you find yourself on a call with a securities regulator. Which meant Junmo Hong had to do it live. Read more »
He did get off on one of the seven counts against him, so… Read more »
An obviously tired German bank employee fell asleep on his keyboard and accidentally transformed a minor transfer into a 222 million euro ($293 million) order, a court heard Monday. The Hessen labour court heard that the man was supposed to transfer just 62.40 euros from a bank account belonging to a retiree, but instead “fell asleep for an instant, while pushing onto the number 2 key on the keyboard” — making it a huge 222,222,222.22 euro order. The bank discovered the mistake shortly afterwards and corrected the error. The case was taken to court by the man’s 48-year-old colleague who was fired for letting the mistake slip through when verifying the order. The court ruled that the plaintiff should be reinstated in his job. [AFP]