Tag Archive | "fraud"

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The word on TheStreet.com


One of the central theses of The Story of Deep Capture, Mark Mitchell’s epic work of media criticism, is that the staff of TheStreet.com is overwhelmingly beholden to the interests of a few criminal, short-selling hedge funds.

Herb Greenberg, Dan Calorusso, Dave Kansas, Jesse Eisenger: all launched their careers at TheStreet.com.

Such an ignominious list of alumni is matched only by the institution’s co-founder: Jim Cramer, and early investor: David Rocker (founder of Rocker Partners hedge fund).

There’s little doubt that TheStreet.com has been home to more than its fair share of captured journalists. What’s less clear is the matter of cause and effect: does the organization excel at breeding, or merely attracting such people?

Based on the example of former TheStreet.com writer Peter Eavis — contrasting what can be learned about him in the many documents recently made public in the lawsuit pitting Fairfax Financial against SAC Capital and several other hedge funds, with what he’s accomplished since — I’m inclined to believe that the dysfunction at TheStreet.com is a product of the toxic culture of the place, and that well-intended writers with talent who leave early enough have the capacity to redeem themselves.

Peter Eavis features prominently in several documents acquired through discovery in the Fairfax case. The earliest mention of him appears in an email dated July 10, 2002, in which John Hempton told Rocker employee Monty Montgomery “I have Peter interested” in his belief that Fairfax Financial was a fraud.

Later, short selling hedge fund manager Jim Chanos refers to Eavis as John Hempton’s “guy”.

On January 15, 2003, Eavis published his first column on Fairfax: Unsure times for insurer Fairfax Financial, making a special effort to attack the integrity and business acumen of Fairfax CEO Prem Watsa.

While the tone of that piece implies plenty about Eavis’s state of mind when he wrote it, somewhat more telling is the comment he uses to preface the article when sending it, just 20 minutes after publication, to Rocker hedge fund employees:

“Watsa good old Canadian insurer to do?”

One month later, Eavis publishes Fairfax Tirade Can’t Obscure Sea of Red, comparing Prem Watsa to, among other things, a wounded animal.

Less than 20 minutes later, Eavis sends the column to Rocker, prefaced by:

“Prem gets nasty.”

Exactly one month later, it was Eavis again, with Fairfax’s Buffett Pose Falls Short, which he again promptly sent, this time commenting:

“Imitation gives way to evisceration.”

On April 3, 2003, Eavis is back on the attack, with Fairfax Walks the High Wire on Rates, which he also wastes no time in noting:

Prem in the bunker.”

One month and two days later, Eavis writes Fairfax Fog Only Thickens, calling the company “beleaguered” despite its having just announced first quarter earnings of $10.60 per share. Eavis claims he offered Fairfax an opportunity to respond, but that the company “didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.”

The lack of a prompt return call might have been a result of the fact that Eavis filed his column at 7:10am EDT.

While Fairfax employees likely were not in the office at that early hour, we know Eavis was, as he emailed the column within six minutes, prefaced by:

“More on the anti-Buffett.”

Finally, on May 15, 2003, we see the most telling email exchange of all, this time following Eavis’s column Fairfax Is Banking on the Luck of the Irish.

In stark contrast with the victorious tone of the emails on his four earlier columns, Eavis is sheepish when announcing this latest, saying:

“Two numerical errors in the first version, so I’m re-sending this. The mistakes made Fairfax look better than it should. A link to the corrections can be found at the bottom of the piece. Apologies.”

Apologies?

Apologies!

Hey, Peter…even the best reporters make mistakes. That’s why pencils have erasers, as they say, and why publications have “Corrections and Clarifications” sections. If you owe anybody an apology, it’s your readers, which was taken care of in the body of the correction itself.

And yet, Eavis apparently felt apologies were also due Rocker Partners hedge fund, where an anticipated payday depended upon Fairfax looking as bad as possible.

Why on earth would Eavis feel such a debt to Rocker?

A little less than an hour later, Monty Montgomery replied, writing:

“…….boy, hard to believe, but i think it’s very true…..this ends up with Hempton summoned to toronto to tell the authorities/regulators how he figured it out when no one else could……toronto’s just across the lake from the farm, that will be a good excuse for us all to get together there and throw back a couple of cold beers…….”

To which Eavis responded:

“sounds very tempting — both the farm and the ringside seat for watsa’s comeuppance.”

I’d be hard pressed to list all the standards of ethical journalism Peter Eavis violated in just his first five months of covering Fairfax Financial.

But if I were to try, I’d start by pointing out the deep conflict of interest inherent to obviously using his column as a tool to make David Rocker, one of his employer’s largest investors, rich.

Interestingly, in the months to follow, Eavis seemed to lose interest in Fairfax, his frequency of coverage plummeting from over one column a month to less than one per quarter. About that time, he also seems to have quit seeking the approval of anybody at Rocker Partners.

Then, in 2006, Eavis left TheStreet.com for the Wall Street Journal, where he has evolved into a quite prolific and skilled contributor, whose broad body of work appears not to include anything relating to Fairfax.

Is Peter Eavis corrupt? I’d have to say that no, I don’t think so. At least not corrupt after the tradition of Bethany McLean.

Instead, I suspect the culture at TheStreet.com to be very corrupting, though the condition does not have to be a terminal one.

Finally, I wish to point out that in seeking his comment, I did establish contact with Peter Eavis, and at his request provided copies of the above-referenced emails. I was disappointed when he failed to offer a response two days ago, as promised. Should Peter change his mind at any time, I will gladly append his comments below.

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?

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The Final Word on Gary Weiss and Wikipedia


One of the strangest things I’ve ever seen is how Gary Weiss deals with getting caught in a lie.

A great example of this is his denial of so much as editing Wikipedia, in the face of evidence that not only has he been a very active Wikipedia editor, but that he’s also engaged in an concerted effort to inject misinformation into the Wikipedia articles on naked short selling, prominent opponent of naked short selling Patrick Byrne, and Overstock.com, which is the company Byrne heads as CEO.

To give a little background, here’s what Weiss originally wrote (and later deleted) in his blog in response to my repeated claims that he was the now-infamous Wikipedia editor “Mantanmoreland”.

Bagley didn’t even pretend to have contacted me, not that it would have prevented him from publishing his smears — just as Wikipedia’s denial, and mine, has never prevented him from repeating, again and again, his malicious lie that I have edited Wikipedia.

About that same time, Weiss added this comment to his blog:

I think that it is indicative of Judd’s (and his boss’s) malice — in every sense of the word — that he would publish an outright lie while knowing that it is a lie. Both I and the DTCC have denied the total rubbish that he posted on his website.

Similarly he continues to publish the lie that I am this “Mantanmoreland” long after it was, again, denied by both myself and Jimbo Wales of Wikipedia.

Since ASM is an extension of Overstock.com, operated with the blessing and open and enthusiastic support of its CEO, I think that what you have here goes clearly beyond ethical issues. Of course corporate ethics is clearly never a consideration for Patrick Byrne, in earning the merit badges required to gaint he sought-after title of “America’s worst CEO.”
Gary Weiss | Homepage | 02.09.07 – 11:07 am | #

Before proceeding, let’s make sure everybody agrees that Gary Weiss insists my claim that he has edited Wikipedia is a “malicious lie.”

Everybody clear on that?

Good. Now on to Gary’s email. (Read this to learn how I came to posses email between Gary Weiss and another individual).

On 1/28/2006 at 7:19 PM, Floyd Schneider became aware of the battle that was raging for control of the Wikipedia article on naked short selling, and sent a link to Gary Weiss.

The next morning, Weiss sent the following two replies:

From: garyrweiss@verizon.net
To: Floyd3491@aol.com
Subject: Re: (no subject)
Date: Sun, 29 Jan 2006 11:13:46 -0500
Received: from unknown (HELO maincomputer) (garyrweiss@verizon.net@70.23.85.112 with login) by smtp101.vzn.mail.dcn.yahoo.com with SMTP; 29 Jan 2006 16:13:43 -0000
—————
Note that they’re hijacking that page. However, anyone can unhijack. You just go into edit mode, select all and copy the page when it is in good shape, and save it as a text file. That makes it easier to replace the page when it has been baloneyfied. I may insert a reference to my book at some point…..

From: garyrweiss@verizon.net
To: Floyd3491@aol.com
Subject:
Date: Sun, 29 Jan 2006 11:21:46 -0500
Received: from unknown (HELO maincomputer) (garyrweiss@verizon.net@70.23.85.112 with login) by smtp101.vzn.mail.dcn.yahoo.com with SMTP; 29 Jan 2006 16:21:43 -0000
—————
right now, for example, it is in pretty good shape. In fact….. well, here
is what one simply has to plug in… attached.

You can see the document Weiss attached here.

So, those are the emails.

Here’s what they tell us.

First, we now know that as early as 1/28/2006, Gary Weiss clearly had edited Wikipedia, which is not itself a big deal. Yet, Weiss calls the claim a “malicious lie.”

Indeed, it is Weiss who is lying.

Second, we now know (as if there were any doubt) that Weiss was “Mantanmoreland”. Here’s how:
Note Weiss’s IP address on January 28 and 29, 2006 as reflected by these two emails: 70.23.85.112. Now, look at the Wikipedia edit history of IP address 70.23.85.112.

As you can see, someone using the IP address 70.23.85.112 was eagerly editing the Wikipedia article on naked short selling on January 27 and 28, 2006 and then stops abruptly.

The final act of the editor at IP address 70.23.85.112 was to edit the article to appear precisely how it did in the file Weiss sent Schneider.

Wikipedia editor “Mantanmoreland” is created shortly thereafter and his first act is then to restore the naked shorting article to how it appeared where 70.23.85.112 left off (again, precisely mirroring the content of the attachment Weiss had sent to Schneider).

Weiss sent his second reply to Schneider before any edits were made to that version, noting “right now, for example, it is in pretty good shape.”

From this, we know that Gary Weiss = 70.23.85.112 = Mantanmoreland, and that Weiss’s MANY ongoing denials are among the more deeply disturbing lies I’ve witnessed another human concoct.

While hardly germane, given the gravity of the above, I’d like to make out two additional points (a little running up of the score, if you will).

First, the act of recruiting others to mimic one’s position when editing an article on Wikipedia is known as “meatpuppeting”, and is regarded as a serious offense in that silly culture. This is precisely what Weiss has done here, although there is no evidence that Schneider acted upon Weiss’s request.

Second, for all the times he has lied, Weiss certainly told the truth when he said, “I may insert a reference to my book at some point.”

Beginning one week after the publication of his second book on April 6, 2006, Weiss added (and very jealously guarded) dozens of references to his book, many of which persist to this day.

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Roger and Me: insights into the dark world of stock manipulation


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…

story written by Gary Weiss

…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.

It reads:

…“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: Anthony@Pacific
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.

TIMELINE:

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.”

And later…

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.

Michelle McDonough.

Anthony Elgindy.

Sam E. Antar.

All convicted securities manipulators.

All past and present associates of paid stock message board basher Floyd Schneider.

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Daniel Loeb’s First Amendment Riot


In late 2005, I spent over four hours interviewing Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne as part of a podcast series on entrepreneurship I created.

After I published the audio of the interview, somebody posted a link to it on the Yahoo Finance message board dedicated to Overstock.com.

Seeking the origin of the resulting surge in downloads led to my first stock message board visit.

It was really strange.

What first struck me was the flurry of responses to the original posts in which users with foul mouths and bad attitudes warned that the linked mp3s contained computer viruses.

Of course, no mp3 has ever carried a virus, as I’m fairly certain the posters knew.

These were followed up by all manner of lies meant to discourage others from listening to any of the three Byrne interviews I would eventually publish.

Worse, they posted all manner of lies about Patrick Byrne personally – something I was in a unique position to recognize having just interviewed him at length.

Intrigued, I started examining the posting histories of the most prolific sources of this disinformation, trying to identify patterns that might in turn reveal their underlying motives and, often enough, their real identities.

Well over two years later, I remain engaged in the same pursuit. And, to be frank, I suspect that by now, I understand it better than anybody else, largely because of a few methods I’ve developed and the great amounts of information I’ve received from others.

What follows is a little bit about what I’ve learned.

First: just as there are dishonest people paid to post lies on stock message boards for the purpose of artificially boosting share prices, there are also bad people paid to post lies on stock message boards for the purpose of artificially lowering prices.

In the case of the latter, they are either paid outright as contract “stock researchers”, or paid in put options (which increase in value as a company’s stock drops in value).

Second: make no mistake, it’s short-biased hedge funds who are paying these stock “bashers” (as they’re often called).

Third: in some cases, it’s actually the managers of these short-biased hedge funds doing the bashing.

Consider the following notable example.

I’ve previously written about evidence received demonstrating that hedge fund Third Point, LLC contracted with convicted stock fraudster Michelle McDonough, whose duties included coordinating the efforts of message board bashers and inducing certain captured journalists to report negatively on targeted companies.

I’ve also written about Third Point founder Daniel Loeb’s well-known history of posting on the Yahoo and Silicon Investor stock message boards under the alias Mr. Pink.

Before getting to the rest of the story, here’s some background.

About the same time I first visited Yahoo Finance, a company called SFBC International (now PharmaNet Development Group) came under a blistering attack by Daniel Loeb, who very publicly announced Third Point’s sizeable short interest in the company.

SFBC got hit from all sides, and its share price withered.

In particular, there was a deluge of libelous (though tame compared to others I’ve seen) posts to Yahoo’s SBFC message board. Most notable were the attacks leveled against then-SFBC Chairwoman and President Lisa Krinsky.

Krinsky responded by filing a lawsuit against ten anonymous posters: Does 1 through 10.

In order to discover the identities of the ten Does, Yahoo was served with a subpoena.

In accordance with policy, Yahoo alerted the posters, giving them two weeks in which to contest the subpoena – an expensive proposition few bashers have the financial ability to pursue.

And indeed, none of the ten Does opted to put up a fight.

With one exception: Doe number 6, known on Yahoo Finance as Senor_Pinche_Wey (which is a slang Spanish term that is as obscene as you can imagine).

A typical post by Senor_Pinche_Wey reads:

“…I will reciprocate [fellatio] with Lisa [Krinsky] even though she has fat thighs, a fake medical degree, “queefs” and has poor feminine hygiene…”

Doe-6 fought the subpoena, was rejected, and appealed to California’s Sixth Appellate court.

Clearly, Doe-6 had some resources backing him up…to say nothing of a deep motivation not to be exposed.

And, fortunately for Doe-6, his appeal was successful and the subpoena was quashed.

This decision – handed down in February of this year – essentially affirms the First Amendment rights of message board bashers to say whatever they want about the officers of public companies. (An excellent analysis of the decision can be viewed here.)

In their decision, the Court noted:

We likewise conclude that the language of Doe 6’s posts, together with the surrounding circumstances — including the recent public attention to SFBC’s practices and the entire “SFCC” message-board discussion over a two-month period — compels the conclusion that the statements of which plaintiff complains are not actionable. Rather, they fall into the category of crude, satirical hyperbole which, while reflecting the immaturity of the speaker, constitute protected opinion under the First Amendment.

Interesting.

Daniel LoebReady for the other shoe to drop?

I’ve learned, through multiple sources, that the immature speaker in this case, Doe-6 (aka Senor_Pinche_Wey) was none other than Daniel Loeb himself.

As a matter of fact, Senor_Pinche_Wey is one of many abusive message board identities used by Loeb to harass officers of companies Third Point was shorting, often illegally.

On August 12, 2005, Patrick Byrne first publicly accused several hedge funds of working in coordination to illegally manipulate the share price of Overstock.com and many other small, public companies. Within 48 hours, armies of bashers arrived for the first time on the Overstock.com stock message boards across the web, all working off of a the same obvious set of talking points. Among the points these bashers took the greatest care to make, time and again: that Byrne was crazy for thinking that any two hedge funds would ever work together when shorting.

In case there are any doubts left regarding Byrne’s claims, I invite you to look at this message board exchange, between Senor_Pinche_Wey, LaseriumQueen, bobbingbargains, disgustedinvestor, kidstockjoec, jidoo, and Polytechnic_Trader.

What makes it so interesting is that at least 72% of the participants are hedge fund managers shorting the company they’re smearing.

Specifically, Senor_Pinche_Wey belongs to Daniel Loeb, while LaseriumQueen, bobbingbargains, disgustedinvestor, and kidstockjoec all belong to Robert Chapman, founder of hedge fund Chapman Capital.

Polytechnic_Trader and jidoo may or may not belong to Loeb or Chapman…I don’t know either way.

I do know that Chapman also posts under the aliases tautologicaltrader, ghaulty_lodgick, notably_absent, and herniatedgorilla – all of which can be seen, time after time, posting things I’m quite certain Chapman would not dare say in person.

Do hedge funds coordinate their attacks?

Yes.

And as you’ll read in a soon-to-be-published-post, message board bashing is only the beginning.

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Daniel Loeb's First Amendment Riot


In late 2005, I spent over four hours interviewing Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne as part of a podcast series on entrepreneurship I created.

After I published the audio of the interview, somebody posted a link to it on the Yahoo Finance message board dedicated to Overstock.com.

Seeking the origin of the resulting surge in downloads led to my first stock message board visit.

It was really strange.

What first struck me was the flurry of responses to the original posts in which users with foul mouths and bad attitudes warned that the linked mp3s contained computer viruses.

Of course, no mp3 has ever carried a virus, as I’m fairly certain the posters knew.

These were followed up by all manner of lies meant to discourage others from listening to any of the three Byrne interviews I would eventually publish.

Worse, they posted all manner of lies about Patrick Byrne personally – something I was in a unique position to recognize having just interviewed him at length.

Intrigued, I started examining the posting histories of the most prolific sources of this disinformation, trying to identify patterns that might in turn reveal their underlying motives and, often enough, their real identities.

Well over two years later, I remain engaged in the same pursuit. And, to be frank, I suspect that by now, I understand it better than anybody else, largely because of a few methods I’ve developed and the great amounts of information I’ve received from others.

What follows is a little bit about what I’ve learned.

First: just as there are dishonest people paid to post lies on stock message boards for the purpose of artificially boosting share prices, there are also bad people paid to post lies on stock message boards for the purpose of artificially lowering prices.

In the case of the latter, they are either paid outright as contract “stock researchers”, or paid in put options (which increase in value as a company’s stock drops in value).

Second: make no mistake, it’s short-biased hedge funds who are paying these stock “bashers” (as they’re often called).

Third: in some cases, it’s actually the managers of these short-biased hedge funds doing the bashing.

Consider the following notable example.

I’ve previously written about evidence received demonstrating that hedge fund Third Point, LLC contracted with convicted stock fraudster Michelle McDonough, whose duties included coordinating the efforts of message board bashers and inducing certain captured journalists to report negatively on targeted companies.

I’ve also written about Third Point founder Daniel Loeb’s well-known history of posting on the Yahoo and Silicon Investor stock message boards under the alias Mr. Pink.

Before getting to the rest of the story, here’s some background.

About the same time I first visited Yahoo Finance, a company called SFBC International (now PharmaNet Development Group) came under a blistering attack by Daniel Loeb, who very publicly announced Third Point’s sizeable short interest in the company.

SFBC got hit from all sides, and its share price withered.

In particular, there was a deluge of libelous (though tame compared to others I’ve seen) posts to Yahoo’s SBFC message board. Most notable were the attacks leveled against then-SFBC Chairwoman and President Lisa Krinsky.

Krinsky responded by filing a lawsuit against ten anonymous posters: Does 1 through 10.

In order to discover the identities of the ten Does, Yahoo was served with a subpoena.

In accordance with policy, Yahoo alerted the posters, giving them two weeks in which to contest the subpoena – an expensive proposition few bashers have the financial ability to pursue.

And indeed, none of the ten Does opted to put up a fight.

With one exception: Doe number 6, known on Yahoo Finance as Senor_Pinche_Wey (which is a slang Spanish term that is as obscene as you can imagine).

A typical post by Senor_Pinche_Wey reads:

“…I will reciprocate [fellatio] with Lisa [Krinsky] even though she has fat thighs, a fake medical degree, “queefs” and has poor feminine hygiene…”

Doe-6 fought the subpoena, was rejected, and appealed to California’s Sixth Appellate court.

Clearly, Doe-6 had some resources backing him up…to say nothing of a deep motivation not to be exposed.

And, fortunately for Doe-6, his appeal was successful and the subpoena was quashed.

This decision – handed down in February of this year – essentially affirms the First Amendment rights of message board bashers to say whatever they want about the officers of public companies. (An excellent analysis of the decision can be viewed here.)

In their decision, the Court noted:

We likewise conclude that the language of Doe 6’s posts, together with the surrounding circumstances — including the recent public attention to SFBC’s practices and the entire “SFCC” message-board discussion over a two-month period — compels the conclusion that the statements of which plaintiff complains are not actionable. Rather, they fall into the category of crude, satirical hyperbole which, while reflecting the immaturity of the speaker, constitute protected opinion under the First Amendment.

Interesting.

Daniel LoebReady for the other shoe to drop?

I’ve learned, through multiple sources, that the immature speaker in this case, Doe-6 (aka Senor_Pinche_Wey) was none other than Daniel Loeb himself.

As a matter of fact, Senor_Pinche_Wey is one of many abusive message board identities used by Loeb to harass officers of companies Third Point was shorting, often illegally.

On August 12, 2005, Patrick Byrne first publicly accused several hedge funds of working in coordination to illegally manipulate the share price of Overstock.com and many other small, public companies. Within 48 hours, armies of bashers arrived for the first time on the Overstock.com stock message boards across the web, all working off of a the same obvious set of talking points. Among the points these bashers took the greatest care to make, time and again: that Byrne was crazy for thinking that any two hedge funds would ever work together when shorting.

In case there are any doubts left regarding Byrne’s claims, I invite you to look at this message board exchange, between Senor_Pinche_Wey, LaseriumQueen, bobbingbargains, disgustedinvestor, kidstockjoec, jidoo, and Polytechnic_Trader.

What makes it so interesting is that at least 72% of the participants are hedge fund managers shorting the company they’re smearing.

Specifically, Senor_Pinche_Wey belongs to Daniel Loeb, while LaseriumQueen, bobbingbargains, disgustedinvestor, and kidstockjoec all belong to Robert Chapman, founder of hedge fund Chapman Capital.

Polytechnic_Trader and jidoo may or may not belong to Loeb or Chapman…I don’t know either way.

I do know that Chapman also posts under the aliases tautologicaltrader, ghaulty_lodgick, notably_absent, and herniatedgorilla – all of which can be seen, time after time, posting things I’m quite certain Chapman would not dare say in person.

Do hedge funds coordinate their attacks?

Yes.

And as you’ll read in a soon-to-be-published-post, message board bashing is only the beginning.

Posted in AntiSocialMedia with Judd BagleyComments Off on Daniel Loeb's First Amendment Riot

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Deep Capture Podcast: Episode 2


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This episode includes clips of Patrick Byrne’s recent interview on the Terry Gilberg radio talk show, in addition to a brief look at the role of stock message board “bashers” in the manipulation process. This, in turn, leads to an interesting look at shocking irony surrounding the recent destruction of Bear Stearns at the hands of illegal naked short selling hedge funds.

You can learn more about contract stock message board basher Yolanda Holtzee here.

Finally, rock star attorney Wes Christian comments on this week’s filing of a lawsuit by shareholders of Taser International against several broker-dealers thought to be complicit in the long-running manipulation of Taser’s stock.

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Theme music for the Deep Capture Podcast composed by Derek K. Miller.

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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.