The first several posts published on AntiSocialMedia.net dealt with former BusinessWeek reporter Gary Weiss and his abuse of blogs, Wikipedia and message boards in defense of illegal stock market manipulation.
Almost immediately after publishing the first such post, I began to receive email from readers who were confident that any scam involving Gary Weiss was all but certain to involve a fellow named Floyd Schneider, as well.
Curious, I googled “Floyd Schneider”, and quickly found the 2002 BusinessWeek story entitled “Revenge of the Investor”, in which Floyd is painted as a crusading folk hero fighting against corporate fraudsters.
With that, I concluded that Floyd Schneider could not possibly be an associate of Gary Weiss.
Time passed, and I began to gain a better understanding of how Gary Weiss was not only a corrupt blogger, but how he had also been a corrupt reporter, often using his by-line at BusinessWeek to further the interests of his short selling patrons by casting black as white, and white as black.
Indeed, as anybody who’s followed his career knows, the First Law of Gary Weiss is: If Gary says something is bad, it’s probably good; and vice versa.
I’m ashamed to admit that the obvious “A-ha!” moment finally came in December of 2006. That’s when it occurred to me – rather randomly – that I ought to take another look at the 2002 piece on Floyd Schneider…particularly the story’s by-line (which BusinessWeek.com tends to print at the end of stories).
Looking back, what I found probably should have come as no surprise…
…the author of the story lionizing Floyd Schneider was Gary Weiss himself. Indeed, Floyd is also lovingly featured in Weiss’s second book.
Those facts, when viewed in the context of the First Law of Gary Weiss, were all I needed to know that the individuals who suggested Floyd Schneider was involved in the coordinated public attacks I had observed against Patrick Byrne and other opponents of illegal naked short selling, were correct.
At that point, I sought to determine which message board aliases Schneider was using at the time. The answer was to be found in this legal opinion filed in one of the (multiple) lawsuits brought against Schneider by companies defamed and libeled by his message board posting.
…“Floydtheoneandonly,” “charlesp0nzi,” “thetruthseekercom,” are [stock message board] pseudonyms used by Floyd Schneider…
From there, the Dissembler Sorting Algorithm revealed that on Yahoo Finance alone, additional Schneider aliases included strethoechasity, returnofstockdung, baloneymarch, wackypat, zorro20934 and china39846.
As an aside, the alias zorro20934 was used by Schneider to post attacks (since deleted) against Matrixx Initiatives, in direct violation of an agreement Schneider signed stipulating that he would not do so.
Over time the vast majority of Schneider’s message board contributions have been deleted for their abusive nature. Possibly the best and most recent example of this appeared briefly on Yahoo’s INVESTools board, in a series of posts in which Schneider attempted to blame INVESTools management for former employee David Ragsdale’s tragic decision to murder his wife earlier this year.
Analysis of the thousands of posts made by Schneider revealed that they attacked – almost without exception, companies appearing on the Reg SHO Threshold Securities list – which is comprised of firms targeted by hedge funds engaged in manipulative naked short selling.
In addition, Floyd’s posting patterns tended to be very abnormal; meaning, he would focus intensely on one or two companies for a time, then abruptly shift focus to attacking another and never return to the prior. This, I reasoned, was what one would expect of someone being directed in their efforts, as opposed to someone whose attention naturally evolved over time.
The next breakthrough came when I discovered this message board post made to SiliconInvestor.com by former Schneider business partner and convicted stock manipulator Anthony Elgindy, reading:
From: [email protected]
4/21/2001 8:28:44 PM
Notice of termination of all association with The truthseeker.
As of Yesterday.
I wish him luck in his current business venture as a paid researcher/basher..
I dont pay for any posts..period and I’m not gonna start ever doing that.
Please dont ask me to elaborate , just know that he is being paid now by outside parties.
He has done some good work and we have had some good times , but all good things must come to an end..someday.
I first wrote about what I had discovered, vis-à-vis Floyd Schneider, in December 2006.
In early April 2007, a mysterious comment was added to the Schneider post, claiming to have been made by Floyd’s long-deceased father. It read…
The Truthseeker is incapable of ever telling the truth!
How do I know? That’s easy I was his father. Currently my wife and other 4 sons have completely disowned him and will have nothing to do with him anymore.
I passed away on 2/7/1996, let me tell you some of my own experiences with my 3rd son, Floyd D. Schneider.
1976-1979 while attending the University of Miami he has gambled with bookies losing thousands of dollars I had to bail him out of, and committed credit card fraud stealing credit card numbers.
1982 stock broker for Moore Schlay, embezzled monies from family and friends brokerage accounts and lost it all buying options, He was fired and I had to bail him out again.
1983 stockbroker for Shearson American express, again he did the same thing and he was fired, I had to mortgage my house this time to bail him out.
1983- 1988 in between this time there were a few more bets with bookies and in 1988 he married a con artist and became her 6th husband. They both ran an Insurance agency in Bradley Beach, NJ “The F. D. Schneider Insurance Agency” This was a total disaster, they both were issuing insurance cards to people and had them make out their premium checks directly to them and cashing the checks for money for themselves, never putting the policies through and having these people driving with no car insurance without them knowing.
Yup again this cost me money in 1991, my whole half years retirement package in fact to bail him out of this mess.
Floyd came home to live again and in 1992 became a Mortgage broker for Weichert Realtors. He got in more trouble in those years by having people sign lock-in agreements and not locking the interest rate in, hoping rates would go down and lock it in then making loads more money for himself. Problem was more often the interest rates went up and he had to arrange to pay large lump sums of money to the borrowers to keep them from getting him fired.
Thank goodness he was a “so called” top producer, giving him them means pay his way out of a mess for himself for once. Floyd is a compulsive liar and you never can get the Truth from him, always nothing but another lie after another. Guess that’s why now he feels a need to seek truth from others, lord knows he could never seek it from himself.
He has a very convoluted way of justifying things. I remember back in 1983 when he was with Shearson in that mess, he forged a signature from his Godfather’s account, when I sat down with him to explain he did something very wrong all he told me was: “dad I never forged anything, I just signed the check Floyd Schneider, it’s my fault Shearson didn’t check to see if it was the right Floyd Schneider or not, so really it’s their fault not mine!” You see Floyd was named after his uncle and Godfather “Floyd Schneider” of Carpenter and Smith Oil in Monroe, NY.
I never could convince him he did anything wrong either, he really believes he has never done a wrong thing in his life. I died 6 months after Floyd was married to his second wife. His father-in-law has no idea of what his daughter married! I am starting to feel I am the lucky one now six feet under, but finally in peace!!!
Not feeling comfortable with a comment from a dead person appearing on my blog – particularly one leveling such extreme accusations – I removed it and contacted its author: not to ask for proof of the claims, but to discern with reasonable certainty that he or she was actually in a position to know whether or not they were true.
What resulted was a long and fruitful conversation with Roger Schneider, Floyd’s brother and – until days before – Floyd’s boss at the Ramsey, NJ branch of mortgage brokerage Nationwide Equity.
The circumstances behind Floyd’s dismissal from Nationwide provide what might be the most interesting and valuable bit of insight yet gained in my effort to prove that contrary to their repeated claims, some individuals are indeed paid to “bash” public companies on stock message boards on behalf of short selling hedge funds seeking to profit from a drop in the target company’s share value.
Here’s how Roger Schneider himself describes the situation:
“Floyd was writing up invoices on Nationwide Equity’s letterhead to Magic consulting instructing Magic to pay Nationwide for some phony service he made up, and too have Magic consulting make out the checks payable directly to Floyd D. Schneider. He did this many times before it was discovered and he was fired.”
(More on Michelle McDonough and Magic Consulting in a moment)
As Roger described the above scene to me, when Floyd was presented with the evidence of his history of illegally disguising payments from Magic Consulting as mortgage brokerage commissions, Floyd’s only defense was to point out that in this most recent case (the one for which he was caught), Magic owner Michelle McDonough had instead opted to pay him directly as a contract “stock researcher.”
This is a vital detail, because it confirms Anthony Elgindy’s claim that Floyd had engaged in a “business venture as a paid researcher/basher.”
It was while cleaning out Floyd’s desk a few days later that Roger discovered a print version of the same legal filing I had found online months before, and the partial listing of Floyd’s confirmed message board aliases. Then, while seeking additional information on what he’d found, Roger happened upon AntiSocialMedia.net and my post about his brother.
As it turns out, Floyd left behind many compelling insights into his relationship with Michelle McDonough’s Magic Consulting.
It seems that when hedge fund Third Point Capital needed some dirt spread about specific companies, they would enlist the help of McDonough, who would in turn enlist the help of individuals such as Floyd Schneider. McDonough would provide Floyd with a list of “talking points” and, moments later, these were the things Floyd would begin posting on stock message boards across the web, including Yahoo Finance, Raging Bull, and Silicon Investor.
Very soon, these were also the things business reporter Roddy Boyd (currently of Fortune, previously of the New York Post) was writing damning stories about.
Very frequently, Boyd would contact Floyd, asking for help digging up negative information on officers of specific companies. In every case, these companies were known to be under active and vicious attack by short selling hedge funds.
On one occasion, Roddy Boyd refers directly to Michelle McDonough as an acquaintance of his and Floyd’s…which is what makes the following email exchanges between Boyd and myself so strange:
Judd Bagley: “…What do you know about a woman named Michelle McDonough?”
Roddy Boyd: “re Michelle M: nothing. Should I? google has about 1mm entries for that name.”
Judd Bagley: “She used to go by the name Michelle Sarian. Today she runs “Magic Consulting.” I think she did a year in prison back in 2001.”
Roddy Boyd: “re sarian or mcdonough…youre [sic] concern, not mine.”
Judd Bagley: “While I’ve got you…you recently denied knowing Michelle McDonough (formerly Sarian). Is that still your position?”
Roddy Boyd: “sorry judd, im [sic] not talking to you about anything else, period. if youre [sic] not comfortable with me asking the questions-fine. but im [sic] not anwering [sic] yours.”
We’ve since learned yet more about Michelle McDonough and Magic Consulting.
Most notable is the fact that McDonough apparently offers her services to multiple hedge funds, not just Third Point Capital, as originally suspected.
It’s also emerged that, prior to leaving for prison, McDonough (then known as Michelle Sarian) was a very active message board poster, herself. Sources suggest that in those days, she primarily attacked the companies targeted by Evan Sturza, a former hedge fund manager who went on to publish Sturza’s Medical Investment Letter.
Based on evidence he saw, Roger Schneider estimates McDonough paid Floyd at least $14,000 in 2006 alone. A few years before that, Roger observed Floyd receive at least one payment of $10,000 from Paul C. Harary, who – it should come as no surprise – was recently imprisoned for securities manipulation.
Paul C. Harary.
Sam E. Antar.
All convicted securities manipulators.
All past and present associates of paid stock message board basher Floyd Schneider.