Category | AntiSocialMedia with Judd Bagley

Gary Weiss discards own identity, reborn “Tom Sykes” the bumbling sockpuppet

Gary Weiss discards own identity, reborn “Tom Sykes” the bumbling sockpuppet


weiss-090727thApparently aware of the ruin that is his own reputation, Gary Weiss has taken to battling in favor of illegal stock market manipulation on political blog aggregator DailyKos.com, under the pseudonym “Tom Sykes”.

Weiss has a rich history of abusive sockpuppeting, mostly for the purpose of attacking those who advocate ending  illegal naked short selling. At one time, Weiss did this on behalf of the DTCC. Now, exactly who’s paying him is unknown, though it must be someone because the fellow has otherwise been unemployed since 2004 (apart from his less-than-lethargic book sales, the pittance in ad revenue generated by his all-but-mothballed blog, and his tiny handful of ostensibly paid pieces for Portfolio Magazine – a publication whose final coffin nail Weiss personally helped to drive).

And the trend continues up to this very day, with Weiss as Tom Sykes.

To anybody who has followed Weiss for any period of time and come to recognize his overly-ripe writing style, that he and Tom Sykes are one in the same is beyond obvious.

But the Deep Capture team adheres to a higher standard when making such claims with certainty, and so I shall now explain how I can do so now.

Among the many flaws on the Yahoo message boards is one which makes it possible, under specific circumstances, to embed any html code, up to and including javascript, on the site. This, in turn, makes it possible not only to capture the IP address from which a user is accessing the site, but also their Yahoo username.

In other words, one can tie a Yahoo username to a specific IP address, sans ambiguity.

Gary Weiss lives in Greenwich Village, NY, but in August of 2008 he bought a second home upstate (tellingly financed by the property owner, not a bank) in the tiny Sullivan County hamlet of Callicoon Center.

A few months ago, using the above-referenced method, I was able to determine that the Yahoo account belonging to user garyrweiss@verizon.net was accessing the web via IP address 74.64.81.92, which maps to within a few miles of Callicoon Center. Given the tininess of Callicoon Center, this is what one would expect of an instance of Weiss being online at his second home.

(Hint: remember that IP address, for we shall return to it shortly.)

We know that garyrweiss@verizon.net belongs to our Gary Weiss thanks to emails we’ve acquired between Weiss and kindred stock manipulator Floyd Schneider.

With the 15-part series on Dendreon recently completed, and our self-imposed hiatus from posting anything else ended, I decided it was time to prove once and for all that Gary Weiss and Tom Sykes are the same person.

It took a few short hours to hit paydirt.

In short, email sent to tomsykes.kos@gmail.com (the address Tom Sykes lists as his own on dailykos.com) induced the recipient to visit the Yahoo message boards in such a way as to reveal his IP address to me.

The result: 74.64.81.92.

This IP address has been conclusively linked to garyrweiss@verizon.net, which in turn has been conclusively linked to Gary R. Weiss, the bumbling sockpuppeteer and defender of illegal naked short selling.

But wait, there’s more.

Among Weiss’s most notable accomplishments has been epic sockpuppeting on Wikipedia in order to cover-up evidence of the damaging impact of illegal naked short selling. Once this finally came to light, Weiss and his home IP address range, which is well known, were unambiguously banned from editing Wikipedia.

But what about Weiss’s new IP address, tied to his new, second home?

Well, as we’d expect, realizing that it was unknown by Wikipedia administrators, Weiss used it, on two occasions, to remove references to Mark Mitchell’s Dendreon-related reporting on deepcapture.com, which had been previously added to the Wikipedia article on Michael Milken.  To see these edits for yourself, follow this link, which will show you the only two contributions made by IP address 74.64.81.92. To see the substance of the edits, click on the links that say “diff”. What you’ll then see is a before and after comparison, with the text in yellow being what 74.64.81.92 (Weiss) removed.

What could possibly be motivating Weiss to carry on in this manner?

I see one of two possibilities: either he’s like the 80-year-old Japanese soldier living in the jungles of Guam who refuses to accept that his “side” lost the war, or – as I suspect – he remains in active contact with his “side,” which remains mobilized and intent on subverting all that we’ve accomplished.

So what next?

Well, obviously, the editorial staff at dailykos.com will want to know that they’ve given forum to a deeply conflicted contributor who – beyond simply using a pseudonym – is actively pretending not to be Gary Weiss by referring to Weiss in the third person and linking to his own blog as though it were actually really relevant. You can let them know what we’ve discovered about Mr. Sykes by going here.

In addition, any active Wikipedians among you will probably want to make it known there that 74.64.81.92 is in fact the dread sockpuppet Mantanmoreland/Gary Weiss.

Finally, I’d simply suggest the Deep Capture community understand that there are many who are actively working – usually anonymously – to discredit the market reform movement. I encourage you to seek out and bring instances of such to our attention, so that we can investigate further when warranted, in order to better understand their real motives.

And as a postscript, I wish to thank Gary Weiss for being so very predictable. His consistently reptilian-brain-based responses to my occasional prodding has made this aspect of my job not only productive, but very enjoyable, as well.

UPDATE: Both Tom Sykes and Gary Weiss are “separately” expressing outrage at this situation tonight. I encourage each of you to make use of “their” blogs’ comment functions to let “them” know what you think about how “they” have been lying to you.

Posted in AntiSocialMedia with Judd Bagley, Featured Stories, The Deep Capture CampaignComments (77)

Weighing the options

Note: I have the privilege of being a contributor on an upstart blog where some extremely intelligent criticism of Web 2.0 is taking place. It’s called Akahele.org, and I recommend adding it to your RSS reader.

Akahele, if you’re curious, is a Hawaiian word meaning “slow” or “deliberate”, in contrast with wiki, the Hawaiian word for “fast” (and the origin of the “wiki” in Wikipedia).

The following is my most recent contribution to Akahele, and is an examination of the Wikipedia/Gary Weiss saga, with a new twist.

My direct involvement notwithstanding, I feel it’s both fair and accurate to say that the events surrounding the Gary Weiss/Mantanmoreland affair were among the strangest and most polarizing in Wikipedia’s history.

For those lucky enough to have no idea what I’m referring to, here’s the highest of high-level summations (much more in-depth explanations can be found here and here):

Former journalist Gary Weiss.
Gary Weiss

Former business journalist Gary Weiss used multiple sockpuppet accounts to ingratiate himself with Wikipedia’s inner circle and – thanks primarily to the relationships he established there – gain control of, most notably, the article describing an illegal form of stock market manipulation known as naked short selling.

Weiss then proceeded to dramatically alter the content of this and related articles in order to minimize the perceived negative impact of naked short selling while marginalizing critics of the practice, myself included.

There’s strong evidence suggesting Weiss was paid to do this by the very organization many fault as the primary enabler, not to mention a financial beneficiary of, illegal naked short selling.

I suspect most would agree with my assessment that among the darkest moments in the more than two-year drama between Weiss’s arrival and eventual forced departure were those in which Wikipedia co-founder Jimbo Wales injected himself into the controversy – always seemingly uninvited – and always with the effect of derailing whatever progress might have been made toward bringing about Weiss’s removal.

Among these, the most incomprehensible episode occurred at the crescendo of what is widely regarded the largest and most thorough sockpuppeting investigation in the history of Wikipedia, in which dozens of volunteers dedicated hundreds of hours amassing a body of evidence overwhelmingly implicating Weiss in a deeply disturbing deception.

It was at that time that Wales posted an unprovoked indictment of the process under the heading ‘I have personally seen no persuasive evidence’, resulting in Weiss getting another pass. This, despite Wales having told others, privately, that he knew Weiss was guilty; and many more, publicly, that I was a liar for making the same claim.

What follows is my best explanation for Jimbo’s odd behavior.

But first, I need to explain a little more about the nature of short selling, both legal and illegal.

Legal short selling involves selling borrowed shares with the expectation of buying them back and returning them to their owner at a later date and a lower price, allowing the short seller to pocket the difference.

Naked short sellers, on the other hand, sell shares short without borrowing them first, thereby creating the equivalent of counterfeit shares. This has the effect of artificially swelling the supply of stock, which has a markedly depressive influence on price, making the naked short seller rich, while inflicting immense harm upon legitimate shareholders and the companies in which they’ve invested.

There have been, in theory, rules intended to prevent naked short sales from occurring, or at least, from enduring longer than 13 trading days. Unfortunately, the people behind the practice are quite smart, and the monetary incentive to violate the law quite large.

In other words, they’ve found a path around the rules.

And that path runs right through the heart of Chicago’s financial district.

As it turns out, there is a law, known as the “options market maker exemption”, which permits certain brokerages, specifically those registered as ‘options market makers’, to engage in a highly-controlled form of naked short selling in the course of bona fide options market making – comparable to the permission police officers have to exceed the speed limit under certain extreme circumstances when it’s in everybody’s best interest that they do so.

Naked short sellers have discovered that they can essentially “rent” the options market maker exemption from certain corrupt options market makers, producing massive amounts of counterfeit shares in the process.

It’s as though a corrupt cop rented his police cruiser to a random citizen so he or she could drive it around at 120 mph for a day, without being held responsible for any of the damage they might cause.

Of course, it’s silly to think that either the citizen or the cop could get away this, but in the financial world, such overt violations of the law regularly take place on a grand scale. And though the reason is not immediately clear, research proves that this abuse of the options market maker exemption nearly always takes place on the Chicago Stock Exchange.

Why Chicago?

My guess is that it’s a cultural thing: the same way you’d never even think of bribing a cop who pulled you over in San Diego, while doing the same just 30 miles south in Tijuana is not a big deal.

What does this have to do with Jimbo Wales?

Well it turns out that both he and former Wikimedia Foundation trustee Michael Davis used to work at Chicago Options Associates, where Wales was a research director and Davis was CEO.

To be clear, while it existed, Chicago Options Associates traded options and futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and was not an options market maker. But because I suspect the Chicago phenomenon is a cultural one, and given the near certainty that Wales counts many equities options market making traders as his friends, I’m not sure it really matters: his professional background is deeply rooted in the same dark corner of the financial world that facilitates the same form of stock fraud Gary Weiss worked so hard to defend on Wikipedia.

Which I suspect explains why Jimbo Wales worked so hard to defend Gary Weiss.

Is Jimbo Wales above influencing Wikipedia content based on his personal relationships?

Rachel Marsden would probably say that no, he is not.

I recently asked Jimbo whether anybody with ties to options market making on the Chicago Stock Exchange sought to influence his decisions in this respect, and was not entirely surprised when Jimbo insisted that they did not.

However I was surprised when Jimbo followed with “it is still to this day completely unproven that the claims you’ve made about Mantanmoreland being Gary Weiss are true.”

Once I’d picked myself up off the floor, I decided to take Jimbo up on his invitation to finally show him the first bit of proof linking Gary Weiss to Mantanmoreland, despite the fact that doing so felt like proving to a skeptic that the moon is not composed of dairy products.

What I ultimately sent Wales were:

Gary Weiss wikipedia editing pattern chart. Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.
  1. A scatter graph (seen at right) showing Mantanmoreland’s Wikipedia editing pattern over several months, including a 12 hour time shift limited to the period in which Gary Weiss was known to be visiting India.
  2. Email from Gary Weiss (if you want to know how I came to possess Weiss’s private email, read this) in which he told a friend that he intended to edit a specific Wikipedia article to include a reference to a book he wrote.
  3. A link showing that Mantanmoreland did in fact edit that very article to include a reference to that very book.

I also made it clear that should these bits of evidence fail to convince him, I’m ready to send much, much more.

Maybe Jimbo was convinced and he decided there was no reason to respond further.

Maybe the evidence simply left him speechless.

Or maybe owning up to his reckless actions in this case would prove unpopular with his friends back in Chicago.

All I know is that once the evidence was sent as requested, the conversation went cold.

Whatever the case, the legacy of Gary Weiss’s campaign of misinformation endures on Wikipedia to this day, due in large part to the apartheid-like probationary status imposed upon the naked short selling article after Wales condemned the inquest into Weiss’s activities as having produced no persuasive evidence.

All the while, Wikipedia remains the first option offered those searching the web for information about naked shorting, and its role in the current financial crisis.

Weiss may have created this problem, but Jimbo Wales — whatever his motivation — has allowed it to persist. The time has come for Wales himself to step in, help find a real solution, and acknowledge the damage this dark episode has caused real people in the process.

Posted in AntiSocialMedia with Judd BagleyComments (40)

Lecture on abuse of social media by stock manipulators

I recently lectured business students at the University of Texas, on the topic of abuse of social media by stock manipulators. I’ve merged the recording of the lecture with my slide presentation and converted it to video below. For the larger, interactive slideshow version, click here.



As a post-script, I found this experience to be a very positive one, and would welcome similar opportunities in the future. Please contact me via email at: antisocialmedia@gmail.com
If the information contained in this presentation concerns you, and you wish to help, then:
1) email it to a dozen friends;
2) go here for additional suggestions: “So You Say You Want a Revolution?

Posted in AntiSocialMedia with Judd Bagley, The Hijacking of Social MediaComments (91)

Spyro Contogouris and the gentle art of hedge fund persuasion

Among the disturbing facts contained in the recently unsealed documents obtained via discovery in the Fairfax Financial (NYSE:FFH) vs. SAC Capital, et al, lawsuit are the lengths to which short-selling hedge funds go to attack the leadership of the companies they’ve designated for destruction.

In the case of Fairfax, when the work of corrupt Morgan Keegan stock analyst John Gwynn and thestreet.com columnist Peter Eavis failed to get the job done, a “real” expert was called in; namely: Spyro Contogouris of MI4 Reconnaissance.

Contogouris and MI4 employee Max Bernstein were hired by Exis Capital Management, among the smaller of the half-dozen hedge funds comprising the “Enterprise” targeting Fairfax, in early 2005. Their primary mission was to gain access to material non-public information from sources in and around Fairfax. Their secondary mission seems to have been harassment of Fairfax executives, both public and private.

This effort got off to an impressive start, in the form of a 30-page document anonymously sent by Bernstein to Rev. Barry Parker, head of the Toronto church attended by Fairfax CEO Prem Watsa. The gist of Bernstein’s package was as follows: Prem Watsa bears a striking resemblance to a convicted swindler named Marty Frankel, and even if Watsa is not Frankel, Rev. Parker should beware and call Watsa to repentance for Fairfax Financial’s accounting.

In December of 2005, Contogouris and Bernstein created premwatsa.com, an attack site. In one exchange of instant messages, the two discuss how to use posts planted on stock message boards to build traffic to the site, and blithely speculate as to how Watsa and other Fairfax officers will react upon discovering it.

Meanwhile, Contogouris created a document, since discredited, dubbed “Fairfax Fraud Facts”, which he circulated broadly among journalists and analysts. This document sparked substantial negative coverage of Fairfax.

It was possibly in this context that, in an undated instant messenger exchange, Andrew Heller, manager of Exis Capital, told Bernstein: “tell spyro, bloomberg was taken care of, and he will receive payment.”

I contacted Heller, seeking context to clarify this potentially significant tidbit, but he refused to comment, citing the ongoing nature of the Fairfax lawsuit. The only thing of any substance Heller would say was that his hedge fund remains “up net 15% on the year.”

Congratulations, Mr. Heller.

MI4’s effort to secure inside information ramped up significantly in May of 2006.

On the 29th of that month, MI4 created the following “Intelligence Profile” on an officer of Fairfax (whose name is redacted):

On May 31st, Contogouris, posing as a reporter, gained access to the back offices of that Advent Group, a Fairfax subsidiary in London, trolling for potential insiders to act as sources.

The next day, Contogouris personally delivered a package to Advent Group CFO Trevor Ambridge, asking that Ambridge provide inside information or risk criminal prosecution.

From his emails, one gets the impression that this is the sort of thing Contogouris quite relishes. However, presently things would take a rough turn for the self-styled corporate spy.

The first blow came six weeks later, when Fairfax named Contogouris in the lawsuit that led to the document production that led to this post.

The second, more severe blow came in November of 2006, when Contogouris was arrested by the FBI, charged (and subsequently indicted) with engaging in an unrelated multi-million-dollar real estate fraud.

While this came as a surprise to many, seasoned observers might have predicted something negative was about to happen to Contogouris when, in late September of 2006, apropos of nothing, Rocker Partners order-taker and former New York Post business writer Roddy Boyd, wrote FBI’S SECRET SOURCE, claiming:

“An FBI spokeswoman confirmed to The Post that Spyro Contogouris, who analyzes companies’ balance sheets, was deputized by the FBI in June to approach Fairfax’s former chief financial officer, Trevor Ambridge, as part of an investigation into the insurance company’s accounting and stock trading.”

It’s worth noting that none of the other writers following up on Boyd’s story — myself included — managed to get FBI confirmation of the supposed “deputy” status bestowed upon Contogouris.

In fact, the United States Senate Judiciary Committee found Boyd’s claim sufficiently strange to specifically ask FBI Director Robert Mueller about it, three weeks after Contogouris was arrested. Mueller’s response (see pages 70 and 71) was simple:

“The FBI does not “deputize” members of the general public.”

So what was motivating Boyd and Contogouris?

For Boyd’s part, that’s simple: as is revealed in documents unsealed in the Fairfax case reveal, (documents which I will be examining here shortly), Roddy writes what certain short-selling hedge funds tell him to write.

As for Contogouris, I suspect that, aware of the trouble looming on the real estate front, he made contact with the FBI as a “confidential informant” (something you or I could do at any time) seeking to ingratiate himself with that agency, possibly earning what he expected would be some form of immunity from other prosecution in the process. Then, fearing that despite these efforts his arrest was imminent, Contogouris used his hedge fund contacts to plant the story with Boyd, hoping the feds would be too embarrassed to nab someone they apparently trusted enough to “deputize”.

Four months after his arrest, the story of Spyro Contogouris and Fairfax was examined at length by another high profile business writer, who practically tied herself in a knot attempting to distance Contogouris from Fairfax’s attackers while simultaneously lending credibility to his work.

The author of that piece was none other than Bethany McLean.

To quote my friend Patrick Byrne: “If only there were a pattern.”

If this article concerns you, and you wish to help, then:

1) email it to a dozen friends;

2) go here for additional suggestions: “So You Say You Want a Revolution?

Posted in AntiSocialMedia with Judd Bagley, The Deep Capture CampaignComments (35)

Introducing John Hempton: the Plunderer from Down Under

While an examination of the recently-unsealed products of discovery in the Fairfax Financial (NYSE:FFH) vs. SAC Capital, el al, lawsuit reveals the extensive involvement of most all the usual players — both in the world of hedge funds and business journalism — one name, mostly unknown to those outside Fairfax circles, appears quite prominently: John Hempton of Sydney, Australia.

Hempton, it appears, conceived of and initially orchestrated the entire Fairfax fiasco. At the time, he was a senior analyst at Australia’s Platinum Asset Management hedge fund. Last year he left Platinum to join Global Value Investors, though on May 15 of this year, Hempton started a blog and began calling himself semi-retired; leading me to presume that some time in early May, Hempton and GIV parted ways.

Though possibly mere coincidence, Herb Greenberg abandoned his MarketWatch gig on May 1, 2008 while Bethany McLean announced her departure from Fortune three days later. Greenberg and McLean, as it turns out, both play notable roles in the apparent Hempton-inspired conspiracy.

A reading of Hempton’s early efforts to win converts to his thesis that Fairfax was a ticking time bomb waiting to implode suggests his conclusions were based on what he viewed as sound principles; he really was convinced, and composed multiple, lengthy missives outlining his reasoning. I suspect Hempton’s mistake was then convincing some of the worst people on Wall Street, whose methods fill the pages of this blog, and whose influence probably turned his project from a speculative to a criminal enterprise, dragging Hempton down with it.

That’s not to say that any of this absolves Hempton of blame.

For one, a 2002 email sent to Rocker Partners employee Monty Montgomery makes it clear that Hempton is prominent stock message board poster Brolgaboy (and brolgaboy1 on Yahoo Finance).

I asked Hempton to comment on or clarify this email, but he refused.

That may be because he knows that, thanks to the Yahoo Dissembler Sorting Algorithm bug, it’s possible to know with certainty that in addition to brolgaboy1, Hempton is also Yahoo posters jamiewoodford1, scudzy_short, zipperdydoodah, and (my favorite) mr_byrnes_sith_lord.

Between them, these accounts have many hundreds of posts on Yahoo Finance, to say nothing of the hundreds more posted to several other boards.

Here’s where I really begin to lose patience with John Hempton.

On August 15, 2005, Hempton created and began posting taunting messages under the name mr_byrnes_sith_lord. This was three days after DeepCapture.com contributor and Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne announced a lawsuit against Gradient Analytics and Rocker Partners hedge fund for conspiring to get rich by destroying his company. At that time, Byrne further announced that he had evidence of a central figure — whom Byrne metaphorically compared to the shadowy “Sith Lord” of the Star Wars series — coordinating these attacks in ways nobody had previously considered possible.

Also on August 15, 2005, Hempton created the Sith Lord blog, which he further used, over the space of two months, to deride Byrne for claiming that short-selling hedge funds might operate in a coordinated way to destroy public companies.

In case you’ve missed it, the extreme irony here is that at least initially, in the case of the attack on Fairfax Financial, Hempton himself filled a version of the very role he attacked Byrne for daring to claim exists.

More than just irony, this, my friends, is a perfect example hubris as defined by the ancient Greeks: an act of extreme pride and arrogance that humiliates the victim, and ultimately the perpetrator as well.

If this article concerns you, and you wish to help, then:

1) email it to a dozen friends;

2) go here for additional suggestions: “So You Say You Want a Revolution?

Posted in AntiSocialMedia with Judd BagleyComments (14)

Emails show journalist rigged Wikipedia’s naked shorts

For anybody familiar with this site, the following, published today in The Register, will be a reprise of a well-worn tale. But believe me…it’s still well worth the read…

Two and a half years ago, Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne penned an editorial for The Wall Street Journal, warning that widespread stock manipulation schemes – including abusive naked short selling – were threatening the health of America’s financial markets. But it wasn’t published.

“An editor at The Journal asked me to write it, and I told him he wouldn’t be allowed to publish it,” Byrne says. “He insisted that only he controlled what was printed on the editorial page, so I wrote it. Then, after a few days, he got back to me and said ‘It appears I can’t run this or anything else you write.'”

The Journal never changed its stance. But last week, the editorial finally saw the light of day at Forbes – after Byrne added a few paragraphs explaining that naked shorting had hastened what could turn out to be the biggest financial crisis since The Great Depression. (get the rest here)

Posted in AntiSocialMedia with Judd BagleyComments (12)

Emails show journalist rigged Wikipedia's naked shorts

For anybody familiar with this site, the following, published today in The Register, will be a reprise of a well-worn tale. But believe me…it’s still well worth the read…

Two and a half years ago, Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne penned an editorial for The Wall Street Journal, warning that widespread stock manipulation schemes – including abusive naked short selling – were threatening the health of America’s financial markets. But it wasn’t published.

“An editor at The Journal asked me to write it, and I told him he wouldn’t be allowed to publish it,” Byrne says. “He insisted that only he controlled what was printed on the editorial page, so I wrote it. Then, after a few days, he got back to me and said ‘It appears I can’t run this or anything else you write.'”

The Journal never changed its stance. But last week, the editorial finally saw the light of day at Forbes – after Byrne added a few paragraphs explaining that naked shorting had hastened what could turn out to be the biggest financial crisis since The Great Depression. (get the rest here)

Posted in AntiSocialMedia with Judd BagleyComments (0)

Fairfax and just the facts, Ma’am.

In July of 2006, Fairfax Financial Holdings (NYSE: FFH) filed a lawsuit alleging stock manipulation on the parts of several hedge funds, contract hedge fund operatives, and John Gwynn, an analyst with stock brokerage Morgan Keegan & Co.

The complaint is very enlightening and detailed in its claims, which can be broadly summarized as follows: certain hedge funds, which stood to profit by scuttling Fairfax’s stock price, illegally conspired and acted to do as much.

More specifically, the complaint says:

As a result of [S.A.C. Capital]’s frequent communications with Morgan Keegan and Gwynn, S.A.C. learns when Gwynn intends to issue reports and what they will say and, indeed, frequently directs Gwynn on when to issue reports and what to say. (p.14)

Also like S .A.C., Exis is a significant client of Morgan Keegan and has substantial influence over Gwynn, with whom Exis also collaborates closely. (p.15)

…[convicted hedge fund operative Spyro Contogouris] orchestrat[ed] negative analyst coverage — particularly through Gwynn… (p.18)

Gwynn collaborated with certain hedge funds, including Enterprise member Trinity Capital, in developing extreme criticisms of Fairfax to support both short-term and long-term shorting strategies dubbed “the Fairfax Project.” Gwynn communicated these developed criticisms and his intention to release a highly negative report containing those criticisms in a series of road show presentations to major hedge funds including, among others S.A.C., Lone Pine, Kynikos, Highfields, Greenlight Capital, and Perry Capital . The hedge funds participating in this discussions understood at their conclusion that Gwynn intended to initiate coverage of Fairfax with an extremely critical report, they understood and contributed to the substance of the criticisms to be included in the report, and they understood that the report’s release would be timed to provide them an opportunity to establish their short positions. These critical Morgan Keegan clients also understood that once they had established a short position in Fairfax, Gwynn would continue to support that position with negative reports until they covered. This understanding was critical because the Fairfax Project contemplated short-term and longer term components, the latter of which involved enormous potential exposure to the Enterprise if the stock price increased substantially. (p.20)

The S.A.C. Defendants, Exis Defendants, Lone Pine Defendants, Rocker Defendants, Third Point Defendants and Trinity Defendants…frequently had communications and coordinated with [John Gwynn] and caused [Gwynn] to disseminate [his] reports to numerous clients, investors, journalists, and media outlets… (p.62)

Reading the complaint in full, it’s clear that Gwynn’s actions played a pivotal role in the execution of the defendant hedge funds’ manipulation efforts.

So clear, in fact, it may have contributed to Gwynn’s decision, six months later, to terminate coverage of Fairfax Financial (a fact bemoaned by Herb Greenberg, not surprisingly one of Gwynn’s biggest fans).

As expected, the suit’s many named defendants responded to the complaint with indignant denials and, in the case of John Gwynn, a countersuit filed in November of 2007, accusing Fairfax of making him “a scapegoat” for the company’s “financial, legal and accounting problems.”

Today, ten months after Gwynn’s countersuit was filed, a spokesman for Morgan Keegan told Bloomberg that Gwynn has been fired “for violation of a firm policy relating to his apparent advance disclosure of his pending research coverage of Fairfax Financial Holdings.”

In other words, Fairfax was correct about what Gwynn was doing.

Given that fact, what are the chances Fairfax was not also correct about who benefited from Gwynn’s corruption: mega hedge funds such as S.A.C. Capital, Third Point Partners, Greenlight Capital, Rocker Partners, et al?

And, supposing that aspect is true, there would appear to be quite a bit of coordination between short-selling hedge funds and shady stock research outfits.

And that sounds suspiciously like the claim Deep Capture reporter Patrick Byrne has been making, ad nauseum, for over three years.

Posted in AntiSocialMedia with Judd BagleyComments (5)

Fairfax and just the facts, Ma'am.

In July of 2006, Fairfax Financial Holdings (NYSE: FFH) filed a lawsuit alleging stock manipulation on the parts of several hedge funds, contract hedge fund operatives, and John Gwynn, an analyst with stock brokerage Morgan Keegan & Co.

The complaint is very enlightening and detailed in its claims, which can be broadly summarized as follows: certain hedge funds, which stood to profit by scuttling Fairfax’s stock price, illegally conspired and acted to do as much.

More specifically, the complaint says:

As a result of [S.A.C. Capital]’s frequent communications with Morgan Keegan and Gwynn, S.A.C. learns when Gwynn intends to issue reports and what they will say and, indeed, frequently directs Gwynn on when to issue reports and what to say. (p.14)

Also like S .A.C., Exis is a significant client of Morgan Keegan and has substantial influence over Gwynn, with whom Exis also collaborates closely. (p.15)

…[convicted hedge fund operative Spyro Contogouris] orchestrat[ed] negative analyst coverage — particularly through Gwynn… (p.18)

Gwynn collaborated with certain hedge funds, including Enterprise member Trinity Capital, in developing extreme criticisms of Fairfax to support both short-term and long-term shorting strategies dubbed “the Fairfax Project.” Gwynn communicated these developed criticisms and his intention to release a highly negative report containing those criticisms in a series of road show presentations to major hedge funds including, among others S.A.C., Lone Pine, Kynikos, Highfields, Greenlight Capital, and Perry Capital . The hedge funds participating in this discussions understood at their conclusion that Gwynn intended to initiate coverage of Fairfax with an extremely critical report, they understood and contributed to the substance of the criticisms to be included in the report, and they understood that the report’s release would be timed to provide them an opportunity to establish their short positions. These critical Morgan Keegan clients also understood that once they had established a short position in Fairfax, Gwynn would continue to support that position with negative reports until they covered. This understanding was critical because the Fairfax Project contemplated short-term and longer term components, the latter of which involved enormous potential exposure to the Enterprise if the stock price increased substantially. (p.20)

The S.A.C. Defendants, Exis Defendants, Lone Pine Defendants, Rocker Defendants, Third Point Defendants and Trinity Defendants…frequently had communications and coordinated with [John Gwynn] and caused [Gwynn] to disseminate [his] reports to numerous clients, investors, journalists, and media outlets… (p.62)

Reading the complaint in full, it’s clear that Gwynn’s actions played a pivotal role in the execution of the defendant hedge funds’ manipulation efforts.

So clear, in fact, it may have contributed to Gwynn’s decision, six months later, to terminate coverage of Fairfax Financial (a fact bemoaned by Herb Greenberg, not surprisingly one of Gwynn’s biggest fans).

As expected, the suit’s many named defendants responded to the complaint with indignant denials and, in the case of John Gwynn, a countersuit filed in November of 2007, accusing Fairfax of making him “a scapegoat” for the company’s “financial, legal and accounting problems.”

Today, ten months after Gwynn’s countersuit was filed, a spokesman for Morgan Keegan told Bloomberg that Gwynn has been fired “for violation of a firm policy relating to his apparent advance disclosure of his pending research coverage of Fairfax Financial Holdings.”

In other words, Fairfax was correct about what Gwynn was doing.

Given that fact, what are the chances Fairfax was not also correct about who benefited from Gwynn’s corruption: mega hedge funds such as S.A.C. Capital, Third Point Partners, Greenlight Capital, Rocker Partners, et al?

And, supposing that aspect is true, there would appear to be quite a bit of coordination between short-selling hedge funds and shady stock research outfits.

And that sounds suspiciously like the claim Deep Capture reporter Patrick Byrne has been making, ad nauseum, for over three years.

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Was Dan Loeb’s capital allied with David Einhorn’s?

Mega-hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb recently disclosed a double-whammy to his investors: substantial losses early in the third quarter of 2008, and the initiation of a formal SEC investigation into the operation of Loeb’s fund, Third Point Partners.

Loeb blamed part of his firm’s losses on the unfortunate fact of being short financial stocks just when the SEC decided to temporarily enforce existing laws prohibiting illegal naked short selling of a handful of such firms.

Loeb blamed the SEC investigation on a perception that his communications with other hedge funds violate securities laws.

While nobody outside the SEC can know with certainty just what it is about Loeb’s communications with other hedge funds that might be problematic, based on my observations of Loeb’s stock message board postings, I do have a theory.

In this installment, we’ll examine apparent coordination between Daniel Loeb and David Einhorn, manager of mega-hedge fund Greenlight Capital.

According to his book, Fooling Some of the People All of the Time, Einhorn established his much-storied short position in Allied Capital (NYSE:ALD) in early May of 2002. Einhorn first publicly outlined his short thesis on the late afternoon of May 15, 2002. The next morning, Allied held a conference call to address Einhorn’s claims. Interestingly, Einhorn himself did not participate in that call, however the first several questions – which achieved a much greater level of specificity and detail than Einhorn offered the night before – were asked by Daniel Loeb.

Either Loeb is an unusually quick study, or he and Einhorn had communicated substantially on the subject of shorting Allied Capital in advance.

Interestingly, on Allied’s Yahoo Finance message board, one of the biggest proponents of the Einhorn thesis also turns out to be Daniel Loeb.

In this message, for example, Loeb’s alter-ego, senor_pinche_wey (as proven here), confronts a poster who questions the veracity of Einhorn’s claims regarding Allied.

A few weeks later, Loeb’s alter-alter ego, mr_pink_esq (also proven here), says of Einhorn’s analysis:

“Looks like Einhorn has this one nailed. Einhorn has one of the best reputations in the business. He would hate to be on the wrong side of this trade.”

And lest you think Loeb was just offering his buddy Einhorn moral support, consider this post, in which Loeb wonders aloud (in the third person) how he might spend the “millions He will make on his ALD short. He was considering purchasing Himself a new car. However He is torn between the Aston Martin DB9, the Bentley GT and the Ferrari 360 Spyder…Maybe if this thing goes bust He can buy Himself a Mercedes Maybach.”

In all, Loeb, with the direct support of known paid message board basher Yolanda Holtzee (using such account names as ms_mint_green_esq and regulators_have_been_notified) personally posted scores of such messages over three years.

This appears to be an example of Loeb and Einhorn coordinating their efforts on the short side.

Coming soon: a clear-cut example of Loeb coordinating efforts with another hedge fund manager in his role as a so-called “activist investor” (and in so doing, skirting key securities laws while holding a metaphorical gun to a target company’s head).

Posted in AntiSocialMedia with Judd BagleyComments (1)

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Message from DeepCapture.com

At the time much of the content on DeepCapture.com was written, the Great Financial Crisis of 2008 was either on the verge of happening or had just occurred. In those days, emotions among this publication’s contributors were raw and, in an effort to get their warnings noticed and appropriate blame placed, occasionally hyperbolic language and shocking imagery were employed.

Were we to write these entries today, a different tone would most certainly prevail.

Yet, being a record of a pivotal time in our global economic history, we’ve decided to leave the rawness unedited, with the proviso that readers take the context of the creation of certain posts into account, and that those easily offended re-consider the decision to read them.