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The Audacious Rise And Sudden Downfall Of Florida Man Capital Management

Turns out planting bombs in Target stores in order to manipulate the stock isn't the surest investment strategy.
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Florida Man Capital Management, we hardly knew ye.


On Thursday, federal agents arrested Mark Charles Barnett of Ocala, Florida, accusing him of attempting to plant bombs in at least 10 Target stores along the East Coast with the intention of profitably trading on the subsequent stock price dislocations.

The bombs were seized and the plan was halted. Florida Man Capital Management didn't even get to execute its first trade before being smothered in the crib. It was too beautiful for this world.

Still, there were some glaring snafus with the plot's execution. Like many other aspiring trading firms out there, Barnett suffered firsthand from the dearth of new talent in the industry.

The person he recruited to plant the 10 bombs ended up telling federal agents all about it and turning over the 10 food boxes — for breakfast bars, stuffing and pasta — that contained the black powder bombs.

So the operational element of the plan was a bit of a gamble. Transporting explosives across state lines introduces what many investors would consider an inordinate level of downside risk. But at least in his own head, Barnett was no stranger to the vagaries of the market.

ATF officials said Barnett made statements about the stock market and that he had some investments and planned to make money from those investments. The plan was to detonate bombs in Target stores to make the stock tumble. Once the stock plunged, he would buy the stock at a lower price and then resell it at a profit.

Needless to say, planting potentially deadly bombs in public places is not an acceptable trading strategy. For one, it's unclear what kind of returns Barnett had in mind. We can assume Target's stock would slump at least a little following Barnett's activist intervention, but would it be enough to overcome the costs of black powder explosives, transportation and labor? Unfortunately, FMCM didn't publicize an investment thesis for the ploy.

It is not clear whether FMCM had any outside investors.

Florida man accused in plot to bomb Target stores [AP]
Feds: Ocala man sought to put bombs in 10 Targets [Ocala Star-Banner]



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