So you're thinking of running a Ponzi scheme are you? Or perhaps a classic pump and dump? Before you dive right in and start stealing people's money, there's probably one thing you haven't thought of, and it's the key to your success-- adding your wife as a member of the team. I know what you're thinking-- women, not good with numbers and stuff and definitely not good at crime. And that's exactly the point: no one will ever see them coming. Won't suspect a thing. The experts are backing me up on this one. Apparently it's become something of a trend (because it's genius). Reuters' Matt Goldstein reports:
"The beauty of these husband and wife cases is that they take advantage of the basic sexism of Wall Street, which is that these women aren't really smart enough to do this," said Bill Singer, a securities attorney, who has defended a number of married couples in his day. "But that just isn't true."
Regulators, defense lawyers and criminologists suggest the uptick in securities fraud crimes by couples who love to scam may simply reflect the fact that more women work in Wall Street jobs where they get better access to confidential market-moving information. Or it may reflect the natural ability of married couples to better win the confidence of potential victims than a male swindler acting alone or with other men. "It is pretty easy to look at a guy and be suspicious of him for being too slick," said Michael Benson, a professor at the University of Cincinnati School of Criminal Justice. "But if a guy has his wife involved, for some people I can imagine that would be very reassuring."
It also works in the event you're not so much slick but a bit rough around the edges. Not so refined. Have a goatee. Allow the words "We're not out there pounding 1,000 shares up Uncle Joe's ass" to exit your mouth while conversing with a reporter. The mere presence a woman can fix all that, and keep your scam going a lot longer than you'd be able to doing it alone, or with another dude. Jeff and Janette Stone (who sometimes goes by the name "Dillerstone) know what we're talking about.
The former Greenwich residents and proprietors of the now-defunct New York investment firm Crescent Fund are living in Tokyo, and owe US regulators around half a mill for their five-year penny stock scam. A scam that never would've gotten off the ground if it weren't for Janette making the whole thing look kosher. (She was named CEO of the firm, while her husband, a former Lehman executive who'd previously spent a year in prison for a different penny stock scam, was named a "subcontractor.") The couple is currently running a new maybe-scam called the Wakabayashi Fund, and if the authorities think they're going to get jack from J&J, they're sorely mistaken.
"They'll have to beat it out of me," said Jeffery Stone, a balding 46-year-old heavy-set man with a goatee. He said he had "no intention of ever paying" the U.S. regulators who secured a civil judgment against him and his wife in January 2009, referring to them with an expletive involving mothers. "We did nothing wrong," said Stone, who oversees the operations of the Wakabayashi Fund out of the couple's upscale Tokyo home. "We took profits and I would do it again, for crying out loud."
As for their new venture, Stone had this to say:
He insists the Wakabayashi Fund is perfectly legitimate and not breaking any securities laws. And he resents people suggesting otherwise, or dredging up his past.
"We're not underwriting securities. We're not going out and handling private placements. We're not out there pounding 1,000 shares up Uncle Joe's ass," said Stone, in his typically blunt way. "That's not what we do."
Sweethearts In Crime [Reuters]