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 The Morality Thread

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Batman

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PostSubject: Rabbi Found Guilty of $4M SAC Capital Shakedown    Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:46 pm

HFN:
by Paula Schaap ,Senior Reporter , November 11, 2010

A Brooklyn rabbi was found guilty of trying to shake down SAC Capital for $4 million.

The guilty verdict for Milton Balkany, 64, who was the dean of a religious day school in Brooklyn, was handed down by a federal jury in Manhattan Wednesday.

Balkany claimed that he was the spiritual advisor to an inmate in a federal prison who supposedly had information about insider trading at Steve Cohen’s hedge fund firm.

The rabbi turned around and tried to use his supposed information to get money out of SAC Capital -- $2 million for himself and $2 million as a “loan” to his school -- by threatening the fund that the government was going to contact the inmate.

But no such meeting was in the offing, prosecutors said, although Balkany received $3.25 million from SAC Capital as part of the government’s trap.

Balkany faces a maximum of 27 years in prison.

Benjamin Brafman, Balkany’s defense attorney said, in a statement, “There are important legal issues that we fully intend to address on appeal.”
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PostSubject: Re: The Morality Thread   Thu Nov 18, 2010 3:17 pm

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/14/business/14rattner.html


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October 13, 2010
Financier Is Said to Accept a Ban in Pension Case
By LOUISE STORY and PETER LATTMAN
Steven Rattner, who oversaw the Obama administration’s overhaul of the auto industry, for months resisted a settlement with regulators over his role in New York pension fund kickbacks because he did not want to be banned from the securities industry.

But this week, Mr. Rattner relented. He has agreed to accept a ban for a few years, according to three people briefed on the negotiations but not authorized to discuss them.

That concession was made with the possibility of his facing a criminal charge related to whether he was truthful in his testimony years ago about his role in helping to distribute a low-budget comedy movie for the benefit of a public official.

Under a deal with the Securities and Exchange Commission that could be announced as early as Thursday, Mr. Rattner will pay a fine of more than $5 million along with accepting the ban, according to the people briefed on the talks. Mr. Rattner may still be able to perform some roles in finance, even with that ban.

A spokesman for Mr. Rattner declined to comment.

Mr. Rattner, 58, while at the private equity firm he co-founded, the Quadrangle Group, was accused by federal regulators of paying off a political adviser to secure investment business from the state’s pension fund.

He is the most prominent financier to pay a settlement in the pension kickback investigation, which raised questions across the country about the ways investment firms seek money from public pension funds. Private equity executives like Mr. Rattner often hire outside advisers called placement agents to help them pitch their services to public pension officials, a practice that has come to be called pay to play. New York State, and the city, have since banned their pensions from working with placement advisers, though the practice continues in many parts of the country.

The investigation led all the way to the top of New York’s $125 billion fund. Alan G. Hevesi, the state’s former comptroller, pleaded guilty last week to a felony for steering pension fund investments to a money manager who had contributed to his campaign and steered business to one of Mr. Hevesi’s friends. The state’s former chief investment officer also pleaded guilty to securities fraud in March for his role.

The investigation in New York was led by the S.E.C. and the office of the New York attorney general, Andrew M. Cuomo, the Democratic candidate for governor. Mr. Cuomo’s office was still negotiating with Mr. Rattner on Wednesday night, said the people close to the case.

A resolution of some sort would be welcome for Mr. Rattner, a high-powered financier who has remained in the spotlight for years as the pension scandal unfolded. He resigned from the administration’s auto team as the investigation heated up and since then has written about that work in Op-Eds and this week was promoting his new book on the auto industry at a private soirée.

His former firm, Quadrangle, settled its case with regulators this year, after other private equity firms like Carlyle Group and Riverstone Holdings.

For Mr. Rattner, the pension investigation tarnished an otherwise prestigious career in the top leagues of finance, the media and Democratic politics. He began his career as a news assistant at The New York Times and left to join Wall Street in the early 1980s. There, he specialized in advising media companies, and in 2000, he began Quadrangle. Along the way, he amassed great wealth that he and his wife, Maureen White, used to back numerous Democratic candidates, including Hillary Rodham Clinton and President Obama.

During the recent boom in private equity, Quadrangle was a leading firm in media industry investments. In 2004, Mr. Rattner was pitching Quadrangle’s services to pension funds. He retained Hank Morris, a top political adviser to Mr. Hevesi, as a placement adviser to help him secure investments from several state pensions, after learning that was common industry practice.

New York’s $100 million investment with Quadrangle was a relatively small portion of Mr. Rattner’s fund, but it added credibility to his pitches with other investors. Quadrangle received about $5 million in fees for managing the state’s money.

Soon Mr. Rattner was pulled into the movie financing business. According to court filings by Mr. Cuomo’s office, Mr. Rattner had known for years that the brother of the state’s chief investment officer was trying to distribute a movie about Italian-Americans and their mishaps on a trip to Mexico. Mr. Rattner arranged for one of Quadrangle’s company’s to distribute the film, and notified Mr. Morris by e-mail that he had done so.

Those actions, revealed by Mr. Cuomo’s office in the spring, did not square with an earlier version of events provided by Mr. Rattner. As regulators began unraveling the state pension’s ties to financiers, they contacted Quadrangle. Mr. Rattner, then leading the firm, was awarded some immunity from Mr. Cuomo’s office for his role in the kickbacks because information supplied indicated that he had not been involved with the movie. Evidence uncovered later revealed his direct role in the film.

Mr. Rattner could face a perjury charge because of that discrepancy, according to the people with knowledge of negotiations. His settlements with the S.E.C. and Mr. Cuomo’s office could reduce the chances of prosecution.

A spokesman for the S.E.C. declined to comment, and the press office at Mr. Cuomo’s office did not return a call. Quadrangle, which no longer employs anyone involved in the pension case, has been cooperating with the government since its settlement and has disavowed Mr. Rattner’s behavior.

This week, New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the publisher of The New York Times, co-hosted a party for Mr. Rattner on the publication of his book, “Overhaul,” about his role in the auto industry overhaul. Mr. Bloomberg toasted Mr. Rattner, offering up casting suggestions for a movie version of the book. Mr. Bloomberg envisioned Matthew Broderick as Mr. Rattner. Mr. Bloomberg said Mr. Rattner and his auto team “saved the country.”

Mr. Rattner’s role as a Democratic power broker was on display at the event at the Four Seasons restaurant. Robert E. Rubin, the former Treasury secretary, attended, as did Vernon Jordan, the senior adviser to former President Bill Clinton. Ms. White, Mr. Rattner’s wife, had just returned from Pakistan where she is working as a special adviser to Richard C. Holbrooke, the American special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The anticipated fine for Mr. Rattner is more than $5 million. His net worth is in the hundreds of millions of dollars, according to government disclosure forms.



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PostSubject: Re: The Morality Thread   Tue Feb 08, 2011 7:35 pm

Chicago Hedge Fund Manager Charged With Fraud
A former Chicago hedge fund manager was recently charged with allegedly bilking over $3.5 million from approximately 48 victims in an investment fraud scheme.

Since 2003, James Brandolino, 42, allegedly raised $4.7 million to invest in futures and commodities, and then told investors the trading was profitable when he was taking losses, prosecutors charged.

After allegedly returning about $1.1 million in redemptions, Brandolino lost half of the total funds invested, and spent the remaining money on a 2004 BMW, a Rolex wristwatch and an interest totaling $107,000 on a condo in Greece.

Brandolino faces up to 20 years in prison.

He has been a principal of several commodities traders including Brandolino Investment Group, Lloyd Lewis Capital and Falcon Capital Partners.

When reached by phone, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment.

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Ex-Hedge Fund Exec Chiesi Pleads Guilty
Danielle Chiesi, 45, a former executive with hedge fund firm New Castle, pleaded guilty to three counts of conspiracy to commit securities fraud in Manhattan federal court Wednesday.

Chiesi had been charged more than a year ago in the sprawling insider trading investigation into dealings at hedge fund firm Galleon Group that the government alleged netted participants about $20 million in ill-gotten gains.

Her guilty plea leaves Galleon Group founder Raj Rajaratnam as one of the only people charged in the investigation still claiming to be innocent.

Chiesi, who arrived in court accompanied by her mother, sister and two nieces, looked composed as she admitted to passing information about IBM, AMD and Sun Microsystems to her boss at New Castle, Mark Kurland, as well as to Raj Rajaratnam and others.

Prosecutors charged that New Castle made $1.7 million by trading on insider information about the companies.

The only time Chiesi faltered in her court appearance was when she said that her guilty plea "causes me deep shame."

"By crossing the line, I ruined a 20-year career which I loved," Chiesi told federal judge Richard Holwell.

Holwell said that sentencing guidelines called for a 37-to-46 month prison term. But the judge has leeway to sentence Chiesi to less or more.

The maximum sentence that could be imposed is 15 years for the three counts.

Alan Kaufman, an attorney for Chiesi, pointed out that Chiesi did not trade for her own account.

He also said that she was not cooperating with the government.

Chiesi is scheduled to be sentenced May 13.



Attorney Pleads Guilty to Galleon Related Insider Deals
In another insider trading case connected to the Galleon Group, an attorney who used to work at the New York law firm Ropes & Gray recently pleaded guilty to conspiracy and securities fraud charges.

From 2007 to 2008 Arthur Cutillo, 34, used his position as counsel to 3Com, a technology company, and Axcan Pharma, to sell inside information to certain investors.

Cutillo allegedly sold Zvi Goffer information about mergers and acquisitions related to those companies for tens of thousands of dollars.

During the unseemly transactions, Goffer worked at the Galleon Group and was a broker for Schottenfeld Group in New York.

The maximum prison sentence for both offenses is a total of 25 years and a fine of $5 million.
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PostSubject: FXCM slapped with a class action suit over claims of fraud and racketeering    Tue Feb 15, 2011 9:45 am

FXCM slapped with a class action suit over claims of fraud and racketeering
Posted by Michael Greenberg

The Business Trial Group of Morgan & Morgan, P.A. filed a class action lawsuit today against Forex Capital Markets, LLC (FXCM) (NYSE:FXCM) alleging fraud and racketeering by the nation’s largest Forex dealer.

The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan Division), alleges that FXCM has bilked thousands of customers out of hundreds of millions of dollars using deceptive and unfair trade practices, including falsely portraying its Forex trading platform as a fair, transparent and true foreign currency exchange, when instead it is a “rigged game” designed to systematically separate customers from their money.

The Plaintiff, William H. Sanders, of Muscogee, Oklahoma, brought the action on behalf of himself and all other similarly situated FXCM customers, accusing FXCM of fraud by misrepresenting itself as a trading platform that is free from dealer intervention or manipulation. Instead, Sanders alleges, FXCM uses a number of devices and tricks, including software applications, designed specifically to interfere with customers’ trades.

The Complaint further alleges that FXCM engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity by collaborating with its software developers and programmers to develop a “diabolical” software application that provides FXCM with a myriad of tools and system commands with which to interfere with customers’ trades, including routing trades to “slow” servers and sending false “error” messages when customers attempt to close out profitable trades.

Finally, Sanders alleges in the Complaint that FXCM lured thousands of customers to its trading platform by promoting a “demo account” which was touted as providing customers with a true market trading experience. Instead, he claims, once “live” trading commences, FXCM deploys specially designed software to manipulate customers’ trades.

Lead Trial Counsel Tucker H. Byrd, of the Morgan & Morgan Business Trial Group of Orlando, Florida, stated, “We are proud to be representing Mr. Sanders in this action, which we believe will be an important step in bolstering accountability in an industry that has been largely unregulated since inception. We believe, as the Complaint alleges, that Forex Capital Markets, LLC has taken advantage of the trust placed in it by its customers, causing substantial financial harm to this group of people, and we are committed to working to recover those losses.”

FXCM is the nation’s largest Forex Dealer Merchant. The company recently went public and trades on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Business Trial Group teamed up with the renowned Morgan & Morgan Class Action Group headed by attorneys Scott Weinstein and Andrew Meyer in filing this lawsuit. Attorneys James Byrd, Jr., J. Carlos Real and Damien Prosser of the Business Trial Group and Rachel Soffin and Tamra Givens of the Class Action Group round out the Morgan Forex team.
Update 1: FXCM’s stock is down 7% since Thursday.

Update 2: FXCM Intends to Vigorously Defend Lawsuit

NEW YORK, NY, February 10, 2011 – FXCM Inc. (NYSE: FXCM) today announced that a purported class action lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York by a single former customer against Forex Capital Markets, LLC alleging claims under Federal and New York State law with respect to trading through the company’s platforms. FXCM comments, “While it is FXCM’s policy not to comment on pending litigation, FXCM intends to vigorously defend itself against the allegations in the action.

Link:http://forexmagnates.com/fxcm-slapped-with-a-class-action-suit-over-claims-of-fraud-and-racketeering/
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PostSubject: FXCM Lagging Price Feed   Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:07 pm

Atrocious: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hZn4jW2Gsk
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PostSubject: Re: The Morality Thread   Wed Feb 16, 2011 3:12 pm

Batman wrote:
FXCM slapped with a class action suit over claims of fraud and racketeering
Posted by Michael Greenberg

The Business Trial Group of Morgan & Morgan, P.A. filed a class action lawsuit today against Forex Capital Markets, LLC (FXCM) (NYSE:FXCM) alleging fraud and racketeering by the nation’s largest Forex dealer.

The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan Division), alleges that FXCM has bilked thousands of customers out of hundreds of millions of dollars using deceptive and unfair trade practices, including falsely portraying its Forex trading platform as a fair, transparent and true foreign currency exchange, when instead it is a “rigged game” designed to systematically separate customers from their money.

The Plaintiff, William H. Sanders, of Muscogee, Oklahoma, brought the action on behalf of himself and all other similarly situated FXCM customers, accusing FXCM of fraud by misrepresenting itself as a trading platform that is free from dealer intervention or manipulation. Instead, Sanders alleges, FXCM uses a number of devices and tricks, including software applications, designed specifically to interfere with customers’ trades.

The Complaint further alleges that FXCM engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity by collaborating with its software developers and programmers to develop a “diabolical” software application that provides FXCM with a myriad of tools and system commands with which to interfere with customers’ trades, including routing trades to “slow” servers and sending false “error” messages when customers attempt to close out profitable trades.

Finally, Sanders alleges in the Complaint that FXCM lured thousands of customers to its trading platform by promoting a “demo account” which was touted as providing customers with a true market trading experience. Instead, he claims, once “live” trading commences, FXCM deploys specially designed software to manipulate customers’ trades.

Lead Trial Counsel Tucker H. Byrd, of the Morgan & Morgan Business Trial Group of Orlando, Florida, stated, “We are proud to be representing Mr. Sanders in this action, which we believe will be an important step in bolstering accountability in an industry that has been largely unregulated since inception. We believe, as the Complaint alleges, that Forex Capital Markets, LLC has taken advantage of the trust placed in it by its customers, causing substantial financial harm to this group of people, and we are committed to working to recover those losses.”

FXCM is the nation’s largest Forex Dealer Merchant. The company recently went public and trades on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Business Trial Group teamed up with the renowned Morgan & Morgan Class Action Group headed by attorneys Scott Weinstein and Andrew Meyer in filing this lawsuit. Attorneys James Byrd, Jr., J. Carlos Real and Damien Prosser of the Business Trial Group and Rachel Soffin and Tamra Givens of the Class Action Group round out the Morgan Forex team.
Update 1: FXCM’s stock is down 7% since Thursday.

Update 2: FXCM Intends to Vigorously Defend Lawsuit

NEW YORK, NY, February 10, 2011 – FXCM Inc. (NYSE: FXCM) today announced that a purported class action lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York by a single former customer against Forex Capital Markets, LLC alleging claims under Federal and New York State law with respect to trading through the company’s platforms. FXCM comments, “While it is FXCM’s policy not to comment on pending litigation, FXCM intends to vigorously defend itself against the allegations in the action.

Link:http://forexmagnates.com/fxcm-slapped-with-a-class-action-suit-over-claims-of-fraud-and-racketeering/

Scary...
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PostSubject: Re: The Morality Thread   Tue Jul 19, 2011 3:20 pm

McCrudden Pleads Guilty Before Trial Starts
Former hedge fund manager Vincent McCrudden decided it was easier to plead guilty than stand trial on death threat charges.

McCrudden entered his guilty plea Monday in a Central Islip, N.Y. court before opening arguments commenced in his trial, according to Bloomberg.

Prosecutors accused McCrudden of utilizing web postings and e-mails to threaten 47 officials including prominent targets such as Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro and Commodities Futures Trading Commissioner Gary Gensler.

McCrudden initiated the death threat campaign after the CFTC filed a civil lawsuit against McCrudden, alleging that he had failed to properly register his hedge funds, Alnbri Management and Managed Accounts Asset Management (both now closed).

McCrudden professed his innocence in a jailhouse interview with Bloomberg in March.

He faces up to 10 years at his sentencing scheduled for Dec. 5, Bloomberg reported.




Hedge Fund Manager Avoids $5.2M Fine
Roman Lyniuk has convinced the Securities and Exchange Commission not to levy a $5.2 million fine against him.

Lyniuk, the founder and manager of Atlantis Capital Management, a hedge fund with offices in New York City and Rumson, N.J., was barred by the SEC from ever again doing business in the investment industry, according to a SEC ruling made public last week.

However, as part of the ruling, the $5.2 million he would have had to pay in penalties has been waived based on statements Lyniuk made to the SEC as well as documents he submitted to the agency.

Lyniuk, 54, was found to have engaged in "fraudulent conduct" starting in 2004 by marketing his hedge fund to outside investors by providing misleading performance results and by making payments to himself and his friends when he was supposed to honor investors' redemption requests.




Baupost Group Backs Controversial Quarry Project
A Boston hedge fund has reportedly purchased a stake in a Canadian company planning to build a quarry that has been the target of protest.

The Baupost Group has invested in the Highlands Company, which is proposing a quarry site on more than 2,000 acres in Ontario's Melancthon Township, according to Reuters. Baupost declined to comment to Reuters about its stake in Highlands.

However, the hedge fund involvement with Highlands does not come without some risk, particularly when it comes to the quarry project, which would produce crushed limestone, a building material and ingredient in concrete.

In April, residents living near the quarry, native Indians, and environmentalists led a 75-mile protest march to the quarry. They argued that the quarry would affect the local water supply, as well as potato growing in the area, the region's top cash crop. The proposed quarry site is located on potato fields purchased by Highlands for the project.


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