Small-time (alleged!) crook edition.
If you were going to try and extort money Bear Stears alum, how would you do it? Would you call him at his new job and talk trash about his wife? Would you call his house and tell his wife he was running around on her with another woman? Would you call his mother-in-law in New Jersey and breathe heavily into the phone? Or would you bring out the big guns and start sending pizzas, sometimes 20 at a time, to his home in New Canaan, as a sign you really meant business? Donato Anthony Minicozzi chose all of the above.
Among the many reasons typically cited by hedge fund managers who choose to run their business out of Connecticut instead of New York are: 1. The room to stretch their shit out 2. Proximity to the Long Island Sound 3. Convenience for those already living in the area. Some probably also believe that the Fairfield County is slightly safer than New York City. That you're not going to get jumped walking out of the office or beaten with a tire iron because you messed with someone's man or woman. OR WILL YOU?
Have you ever gazed upon classical Greek philosopher Nassim Nicholas Taleb and thought to yourself, "That man has a body from the gods. I could never hope to match him in brains, but what about brawn? If only I could obtain the details of his diet and fitness regimen"? Well, friends, today is your lucky day. Despite still being on his second tour of self-imposed quiet time, Taleb granted several interviews to publications reviewing his new book, "Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder," and, naturally, the topic of his physique came up, specifically the various ways he keeps it in such enviable shape. (He also touches on the exercises that led to him having a brain three times the size of the typical astrophysicist, though please note that these should be appreciated but not be attempted by average humans, who could hurt themselves quite badly.)
Back in December 2007, things weren't going so well for Matthew Marshall Taylor. He'd just been fired from Goldman Sachs and not only was he out of a job, but his prospects for finding a new one didn't look so hot, on account of the fact that Goldman planned to put a note in his file detailing the reason he'd been let go-- "for building an 'inappropriately large' proprietary trading position"-- and it seemed unlikely anyone at the firm would be open to serving as a reference for him moving forward. Three months later, however, one bank told MMT that there was room for him at their inn. Morgan Stanley, apparently having decided the incident at Goldman was but an asterisk in what would be a long and fruitful career, told Taylor to come on down, employing him for over four years until he left in July of his own accord and not because of any legal issues relating to his work at Goldman Sachs. Taylor was accused yesterday by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission of concealing an $8.3 billion position in 2007 that caused Goldman Sachs to lose $118 million. Goldman Sachs fired Taylor in December 2007 and cited “alleged conduct related to inappropriately large proprietary futures positions in a firm trading account,” in a so-called U-5 form, according to a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority document. Morgan Stanley, which had employed Taylor before he joined Goldman in 2005, re-hired him in March 2008, according to the records. Taylor, who handled client-related equity derivative trading at Morgan Stanley, left the firm in July, according to Mark Lake, a company spokesman in New York. His departure wasn’t related to the CFTC complaint filed against Taylor yesterday in federal court, according to a person familiar with the situation, who requested anonymity because the information is private. Taylor concealed the position by bypassing the firm’s internal system for routing trades to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and manually entering fabricated futures trades in a different internal system, according to the complaint. Goldman Sachs, which wasn’t identified in the CFTC lawsuit, said Taylor allegedly made the trades while employed at the firm. Anyway, since MMT is a free agent at the moment, if any other banks would like to overlook the blip, please do get in touch directly. Citi, BofA? At least just think about it. He was good enough for Morgan Stanley, he should be good enough for you. Morgan Stanley Hired Goldman Trader Accused Of Hiding Position [Bloomberg] CFTC Charges Matthew Marshall Taylor with Fraud for Fabricating and Concealing Trades from His Employer and Obstructing Their Discovery [CFTC]
This is his story. The unlikely suspect in a string of window breakings in Beverly Hills -- a 58-year-old Encino investment adviser -- may be connected to 70 additional cases in the area, authorities said. Michael Steven Poret, a broker at UBS Financial Services, was arrested in Encino last week. Police say that Poret vandalized numerous businesses along Ventura Boulevard and several private homes in Beverly Hills. A witness account and private surveillance footage have depicted the vandal as a graying man in white gloves firing marbles at plate glass windows with a slingshot from the driver's seat of his car, then driving away in no apparent hurry. Authorities believe that Poret could be connected to more than 20 vandalism incidents in Beverly Hills and more than 50 in Encino, as well as several other vandalism reports authorities have received in Van Nuys and Topanga Canyon. The vandal appears to target businesses indiscriminately, hitting coffee shops, an autism treatment center and a salon. Luie Velasquez, a detective with the West Valley division of the Los Angeles Police Department, said the police's top theory is that the suspect sought excitement. "Your guess is as good as mine," Velasquez said. "For whatever reason, these individuals get some sort of thrill from smashing windows." Poret was first arrested July 3 after a Beverly Hills patrol officer spotted a slingshot in his vehicle during a traffic stop for a vehicle code violation. A search of his vehicle revealed brass knuckles, knives and slingshot projectiles. Poret was arrested again Thursday in an early morning raid on his Encino home, where police discovered firearms, bb guns, slingshots and marbles similar to those used in the window-breakings. A very understanding victim whose windows were hit three times and cost him $7,000 to repair had this to say: "I mean, I know that an investment bankers* are a little nuts. But you know, maybe the market is that bad. I don't get that. He must be a very frustrated guy." Alleged window-smashing broker may be suspect in 70 more cases [LATimes via TRB] *All together now: broker ≠ investment banker ≠ trader ≠ bank teller
Imagine, if you will, that you are a stock-picking robot. You've put in the time, come up through the trenches, and have finally started to garner the respect you deserve. Investors are flocking to your fund, begging to put in as much money as you'll let them. People were wary at first, not sure what to make of your style, but you've finally proved to them you're the real deal. Life is good. Then some two-bit hacks come along and threaten to destroy everything you've worked for, sullying the reputation of legitimate stock-picking robots with the one they used as a front for their scam. Starting at the age of sixteen, the defendants, twin brothers Alexander John Hunter and Thomas Edward Hunter, developed an elaborate scheme to manipulate the prices of penny stocks at the expense of unwitting investors. The Hunters concocted and hyped the tale of a “stock picking robot” named "Marl" that they claimed could identify penny stocks that were poised to appreciate sharply in value. In their email newsletters and websites (doublingstocks.com and daytradingrobot.com), the defendants represented that the “robot” was a highly sophisticated computer trading program and the product of extensive research and development. The defendants’ story was persuasive. Approximately 75,000 investors, the vast majority of whom lived in the United States, paid at least $1,200,000 for annual subscriptions to the Doubling Stocks newsletter and copies of the robot software. In reality, the “stock picking robot” was a work of fiction. Did "Marl" come up with brilliant investment ideas based on painstaking research, meetings with management, and complex analysis? No, in fact he did not. Defendant Alexander John Hunter, in seeking bids to create the software in 2007, described the requirements for the software to freelance software coders as follows: Need a small software program which will appear to the user that once running it is analyzing thousands of penny stocks. Every so often, the software will find a stock, and a message will appear from the system tray, and on the program showing the ticker symbol. IMPORTANT: This software does not actually find stocks at all. It should connect to my database and simply request any new stocks I have put in. Basically this is almost a “fake” piece of software and needs to simply appear advanced to the user... To say nothing of the fact that his purported credentials were bold-faced lies. On their doublingstocks.com website, the defendants referred to the stock-picking robot as “Marl”, combining the first names of its purported inventors, Michael Cohen (“Cohen”) and Carl Williamson. On doublingstocks.com, the defendants claimed that Michael Cohen “developed the famous ‘Global Alpha’ computer stock trading model” as a contractor for the Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (“Goldman Sachs”). The Global Alpha program, the defendants claimed, in “most years is responsible for $4,000,000,000+ Annual Trading Profit.” The defendants’ representations about “Michael Cohen” were false. No such employee or contractor worked in that capacity at Goldman Sachs. SEC Charges British Twin Brothers Touting "Stock Picking Robot" in Internet Pump-and-Dump Scheme [SEC] SEC v. Hunter Brothers [SEC]