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:
On the evening of November 8, 2011, the Martomas returned home from running errands to discover two F.B.I. agents in their front yard. One of them, B. J. Kang, had been a key figure in the investigation of Steven Cohen. Kang has a buzz cut and a brusque demeanor, and he is known for carrying his service weapon—and several magazines of extra ammunition—with a regularity that may not be entirely necessary for an agent on the hedge-fund beat. “Get inside the house,” he told Rosemary. “This has nothing to do with you.” “I’m staying right here,” she replied. “Whatever you have to say to Mathew you can say to me.” Kang turned to Martoma. “Do you want to tell her or should I?” Martoma looked unsteady. Then he said, “You can go ahead and tell her if you like.” Rosemary was confused and terrified. She had no idea what this was about. According to Rosemary, Kang then said, “We know what you did at Harvard.” Martoma fainted.
So, 1. Is it possible that Martoma wouldn't have fainted if the Feds had gone with something like, "We know you've been trading on material non-public information"? Did he consider people knowing about the fake transcript business worse than the insider trading business? 2. Was this in person line of questioning preceded by an unmarked letter with note saying the same thing, sent to Martoma's house?
The Empire Of Edge [New Yorker]