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Thinking Of Running Some Sort Of Financial Scam? Consider Bringing Your Wife In On The Gig

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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]


Your Dream Gig: Now Within Reach

Back in the day, as in 2007, Wall Street compensated its employees in a way that made them feel loved. In a way that made them feel special. In a way that made the long hours, the constant stress, the soaring highs and the crashing lows, the verbal and sometimes physical abuse bearable. Now, obviously, not so much. Combine that with suffocating regulation and you've got a bunch of financial services hacks who are saying "I want out." Some, like the Goldman partners who've already made enough money to not have to work again, are simply retiring. Others are waiting to get fired. Yet other are seeking out the warm embrace of hedge funds. A lesser number, though, are using the shift as an opportunity to finally leap for that dream, be it baking cupcakes or slapping bare asses with branches. But about your dream? You know the one. The one you've never shared with a soul. The one that's always in the back of your head. The one that keeps you up at night. The has you giving the side-eye to the dog-walkers you see your neighborhood-- because it's not fair. YOU should be the one wrangling the packs of pups, masterfully juggling dozens of leashes at a time that you'd never let get knotted.  Unfortunately, because this is the world we live in, no one would ever give you a chance. Something about being overqualified for the job, they said, looking you up and down in your dress pants and blue button-down, smirking, thinking "Like this guy can command the respect of a bunch of bitches." Plus, you had a lifestyle to maintain and the golden handcuffs were still a serious draw. Now though, you've been unshackled. And you know all those little plastic bags you've been subconsciously saving under the sink for years, waiting for your moment to come? It's here now.

Citigroup Did It! Sort Of!

[Mike Corbat wipes sweat off brow.]

Know Your Chief Financial Officers: Harvey Schwartz

What do you know about soon-to-be Goldman Sachs CFO Harvey M. Schwartz? Probably not much, but luckily Bloomberg profiled the guy today and came back with a couple moderately amazing tidbits about longtime chief financial officer David Viniar's successor. Such as one, the fact that he likes his women with some gunshot wounds ("Schwartz...lives with Annie Hubbard, whom he met in 2003, a year after she was shot helping subdue a hostage-taker at an East Village bar") and two, to date he is the only known Goldman Sachs executive to play a role in a chick lit novel that went on to become a major motion picture (Jon Winkelried's cameo in The Notebook, which was left on the cutting room floor, sadly does not count). Schwartz and Hubbard make an appearance in the best-seller “Eat, Pray, Love,” where they’re credited with helping author Elizabeth Gilbert buy a house for a friend in Indonesia. “I sent out this e-mail to everybody that I knew, and I got an e-mail back from Annie saying that her boyfriend, Harvey, would like to contribute $10,000 to the cause,” Gilbert said in an interview. In addition to his generosity, shareholders will also be happy to hear that there's no risk of Schwartz pulling a Jimmy Cayne, i.e. working on his golf game in moments of minor to major crisis ("Jim Rothenberg, who plays with Schwartz about three times a year, said Schwartz’s high-teens golf handicap is a reassuring sign he’s not playing too much. 'I wouldn’t say Harvey’s a good golfer, which is a good thing if he’s going to be CFO of Goldman Sachs,' he said.") Schwartz Shrugged Off Black Monday In Rise To Goldman Sachs CFO [Bloomberg]