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Insider Trading While Posing As Your Mother Is Officially Illegal

The Ballad of John Afriyie has been sung, and it was batshit glorious.

It's been awhile since we checked in on the strange case of John Afriyie.


The erstwhile hedge fund trader was picked up by the Feds last spring for trading on some inside information and trying disguise it all by running the trades through his mom's account. Preet Bharara did not fall for this elaborate ruse and Afriyie was ordered to stand trial in January of this year. And apparently, that's when things got even weirder.

Last Monday, according the NY Post, Afriyie decided to just not show up to his trial...and that went over as well as one would assume.

A former analyst with billionaire Michael Dell’s personal investment firm, MSD Capital, decided to play hooky on the morning of his Manhattan federal court trial — prompting a judge to issue a warrant for his arrest.
John Afriyie, charged with seeking to hide a $1.5 million insider trading scheme by using his mom’s brokerage account, was nowhere to be found when his insider trading trial began on Monday.
“He has not agreed to join us today,” his lawyer Ezra Spilke told the judge. “He is in New Jersey,” Spilke told the judge.

When Afriyie was finally found and taken into custody at a New Jersey Quality Inn, Bloomberg reported that his choices became even more...intriguing.

He refused to bring his expected court attire when U.S. marshals arrested him. When he finally arrived in federal court in Manhattan late Monday, dressed in Under Armour workout gear, he tried to fire his lawyers. On Tuesday, he listened in silence as a prosecutor laid out the evidence against him -- wearing a jacket, shirt, tie and pants that his mother brought him.

Well, this is clearly a very strong mother-son bond.

And per Bloomberg's reporting, Afriyie was so addled that he didn't seem to understand what was happening and his mother brought him enough clothing to last a week in court:

His mother brought him three pairs of slacks, one jacket, five shirts, four ties, seven pairs of socks, five pairs of underwear, a pair of shoes and a belt, to be kept at the jail to wear to court each day, according to court filings.

Apparently, the whole thing was deemed to be an act because the trial happened...and yesterday, it ended.

A New York federal jury took less than three hours to convict a former MSD Capital LP analyst who made $1.5 million by trading on confidential information about Apollo Global Management LLC’s takeover last year of ADT Security Services.

But here's the thing we think makes the whole ballad of John Afriyie worth it. A detail so goofy that it almost makes us wish the man had gone free to cheat another day:

MSD had a policy against employees trading in individual shares, so Afriyie used a TD Ameritrade in his mother’s name to place the trades. Jurors heard audio tapes in which Afriyie called TD to discuss the account pretending to be his mother, at times using a high-pitched voice -- to ask how his computer’s IP address was being traced and whether trades from a phone were tracked.

Imagine having this detail discussed in open court while wearing underwear that your mother brought you in jail. We miss this case already.

Financier skips his insider trading trial [NY Post]

No Coat, No Tie Leads to Rough Start for Accused Insider Trader [Bloomberg]

Ex-MSD Capital Analyst Convicted of Insider-Trading Charges [Bloomberg]


(Getty Images)

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