Posts filed under “Legal”

Blame the Enablers

I couldn’t agree with this article more: Madoff Enablers Winked at Suspected Front-Running. I look at Madoff as a Sociopath — he is a sick individual. The enablers, on the other hand, were simply greedy hacks who didn’t, (and probably couldn’t) do the suitable investigation and due diligence into Madoff’s asset management business.

Were they Corrupt? Incompetant? Both? Who is to say. The bottom line is they lost all of their clients’ monies, and need to be held accountable.


If the 70-year-old money manager was running a con, then his marketers like Access International, wittingly or not, were part of the scam.

The purported mission of such feeder funds was to vet hedge funds for wealthy clients. Instead, the line between victim and perpetrator was blurred. Middlemen like Littaye funneled billions of dollars to Madoff, even, in some cases, when they suspected he was engaged in questionable trading practices. In return, they reaped hundreds of millions of dollars in client fees.

Lower Returns: Wolfer says he heard of traders trying to replicate the split-strike conversion strategy Madoff told investors he used — buying shares of large U.S. companies and entering into options contracts to limit the risk — and getting far lower returns. He also says he heard Littaye and other middlemen talk about how Madoff may have used the knowledge he gained from his market- making firm, New York-based Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, to get in and out of stocks ahead of market swings.

That’s front-running, a term usually applied to brokers’ trading for their own account — and profit — ahead of clients. It’s also applicable to Madoff’s purported practice, says Peter Henning, a law professor at Wayne State University in Detroit and a former federal prosecutor.

“Front-running isn’t who’s getting the benefit; it’s who’s paying the price,” says Henning, noting that Madoff’s market- making customers expected the firm to obtain the best price available when buying or selling stocks. Instead, their interests were apparently subordinated to those of Madoff’s investment clients.

Front-Running: While front-running is illegal, it didn’t horrify Madoff’s champions.

“They were convinced that the risk was only that the Securities and Exchange Commission would do something about breaches of the Chinese wall in the Madoff organization,” Wolfer says. In the worst case, he says, “what could be expected was that at a certain point the SEC could say stop.”

Weasels all. I sincerely hope that the Trustee looks to confiscate the Funds of Fund managers’ houses, cars, watches, jets and boat — as the illegal proceeds of a crime. Auction ‘em off, put the proceeds into a fund for the scam’s victims.

The Madoff investors themselves aren’t blameless — as Paul Kedrosky asked, “why so many smart people get suckered into losing billions on an implausible con” remains a mystery of the Madoff affair. But they are far less culpable than the Do-No-Due-Diligence fund of fees funds managers . . .

Madoff Enablers Winked at Suspected Front-Running
John Helyar, Katherine Burton and Vernon Silver
Bloomberg, Jan. 27 2009

They Knew What They Were Getting Into
Paul Kedrosky
Daily Beast, December 16, 2008 | 7:36am

Category: Finance, Investing, Legal, Regulation

Foregoing Foreclosure

Insight on the latest housing trends, with CNBC’s Diana Olick; Susan Wachter, Wharton Business School; Carl Horowitz, National Legal and Policy Center; and CNBC’s Tyler Mathisen.

click for video

via CNBC

Category: Credit, Legal, Real Estate, Video

Microsoft Zune: Down 54%

My pal JP notes that the iPod wannabe had an utterly disasterous quarter: Overlooked in the carnage of Microsoft’s second quarter was the performance of the company’s Zune platform. Which was, quite simply, atrocious. Seems that $10 to $20 holiday discount didn’t do much good at all. According to Microsoft’s latest 10-Q, “Zune platform revenue…Read More

Category: Legal, Markets, Music, Technology, Venture Capital

Good-Bye and Good Riddance to Chris Cox

“Chairman Cox has increased to 34 percent of the S.E.C. work force from 32 percent in 2005 and 29 percent in the 1990s. This investment in investor protection already is paying significant dividends.” The baldfaced lie above was issued under SEC Chairman Cox about how he had improved the agency enforecement staff to protect investors….Read More

Category: Bailouts, Investing, Legal, Markets, Regulation

California Foreclosures Driving Sales

You need only two things to fix the housing crisis: Readily available consumer credit, and lower real estate prices. The second part of that equation is being helped along by Foreclosures: Southern California home sales rose 51 percent in December as a surge in foreclosures pushed prices of single-family houses and condominiums down from a…Read More

Category: Credit, Legal, Markets, Real Estate

How copyright extension in recording actually works

How copyright extension in sound recordings actually works

Category: Legal, Music, Video

More Cablevision Redirect Nonsense

In September, I mentioned that my internet provider, Optimum OnLine by Cable Vision, was hijacking my typos and searches via their DNS Redirect. The company line is that this is a form of search assistance — but that’s transparent bullshit. I didn’t ask for search, and I know how to use Google. Besides, this defeats…Read More

Category: Legal, Regulation, Web/Tech

U.S. Foreclosure Market Data by State – 2008

via Realty Trac

Category: Digital Media, Legal, Real Estate

2008 U.S. Foreclosure Heat Map

> RealtyTrac reported this week that in 2008, the U.S. had a total of 3,157,806 foreclosure filings — default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions — on 2,330,483 U.S. properties. This was an 81% increase over 2007, and a 225% percent increase from 2006. The report also shows that 1.84 percent of all U.S….Read More

Category: Credit, Legal, Markets, Real Estate

Circuit City = $0

Full blown liquidation, no value remains for shareholders. I was going to write “Wow,” but its a tough business, with brutal competition and razor thin margins. CC had too many missteps over the years — and too much debt — to reorg/recover from. WSJ:  Circuit City Stores said it has reached an agreement with liquidators…Read More

Category: Consumer Spending, Legal, Retail