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This is a photo of the National Register of Historic Places listing with reference number 7000063

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The following pargraphs were sent out via e-mail to subscribers of The Washington Post. It was sent out late Friday night April 23, 2010. It reads as follows:

"Goldman Sachs is preparing its most detailed defense yet to allegations that it misled clients in its mortgage securities business, arguing that it was unsure whether housing prices would rise or fall and did not take any action at odds with the interests of its clients.

An internal Goldman document, prepared for senior executives and obtained by The Washington Post, addresses the criticism that the bank invested its own money betting against the housing market while simultaneously urging clients to invest in securities that would increase in value only if the housing market did."

This article did not indicate whether or not Goldman is mounting a vigorous defence against allegations of misconduct in order to avoid prosecution, the paying of fines or, loss of reputation and hence, clints. I suspect all three motives might be behind Goldman's insistance that it has done nothing wrong.

CEO CHARGED WITH STEALING

It is sad that we have so many businessmen that are just pure thieves. This makes us all look bad and undermines our cherrished free enterprise system. These very successful fraudsters also set a bad example for the kids. Hard work does not pay off nearly as well as being a Wall Street Fraudster. The following is another exerpt from the SEC web site that shows how very bad many executives behave:

"Washington, D.C., March 15, 2010 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged three former senior executives and a former director of an Omaha-based database compilation company for their roles in a scheme in which the CEO funneled illegal compensation to himself in the form of perks worth millions of dollars.
The SEC alleges that Vinod Gupta, the former CEO and Chairman of infoUSA Inc. and infoGROUP Inc. (Info), fraudulently used corporate funds to pay almost $9.5 million in personal expenses to support his lavish lifestyle. He additionally caused the company to enter into $9.3 million of undisclosed business transactions between Info and other companies in which he had a personal stake.
The SEC also charged the former chairman of Info's audit committee, Vasant H. Raval, and two of the company's former chief financial officers, Rajnish K. Das and Stormy L. Dean, for enabling Gupta to carry out the scheme.

"Gupta stole millions of dollars from Info shareholders by treating the company like it was his personal ATM," said Robert Khuzami, Director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement. "Other corporate officers also abused their positions of trust by looking the other way instead of standing up for investors and bringing the scheme to a halt."
Donald M. Hoerl, Director of the SEC's Denver Regional Office, added, "Officers and directors must ensure that shareholders receive accurate and complete disclosure of all compensation paid to executives. Raval, as chairman of the audit committee, neglected these duties and allowed the money to flow to Gupta unbeknownst to investors."
The SEC's complaints, filed in federal district court in Nebraska, allege that from 2003 to 2007, Gupta improperly used corporate funds for more than $3 million worth of personal jet travel for himself, family, and friends to such destinations as South Africa, Italy, and Cancun. He also used investor money to pay $2.8 million in expenses related to his yacht; $1.3 million in personal credit card expenses; and other costs associated with 28 club memberships, 20 automobiles, homes around the country, and three personal life insurance policies. The SEC also alleges that Gupta failed to inform Info's other board members of the material fact that he had purchased shares of an Info acquisition target for his own ill-gotten financial benefit.
The SEC alleges that Raval failed to respond appropriately to various red flags concerning Gupta's expenses and Info's related party transactions with Gupta's other entities. Two Info internal auditors raised concerns to Raval that Gupta was submitting requests for reimbursement of personal expenses, yet Raval failed to take meaningful action to further investigate the matter and he omitted critical facts in a report to the board concerning Gupta's expenses.
The SEC further alleges that Das and Dean allowed Gupta to support his lavish lifestyle by rubber-stamping hundreds of his expense reimbursement requests. Das and Dean approved Gupta's expense reimbursement requests despite the fact that the requests lacked sufficient explanation of business purpose and supporting documentation, even in the face of concerns raised by several Info employees. Das and Dean also signed management representation letters to Info's outside auditor falsely representing that all related party transactions with Gupta's entities had been properly recorded and disclosed in Info's financial statements.
Gupta, Raval, and Info agreed to settle the SEC's charges without admitting or denying the allegations against them.
Gupta agreed to pay disgorgement of $4,045,000, prejudgment interest of $1,145,400, and a penalty of $2,240,700. He consented to an order barring him from serving as an officer or director of a public company, and placing restrictions on the voting of his Info common stock. Gupta consented to a final judgment enjoining him from violations of Sections 10(b), 13(b)(5), and 14(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rules 10b-5, 13a-14, 13b2-1, 13b2-2, 14a-3, and 14a-9 and from aiding and abetting Info's violations of Exchange Act Sections 13(a), 13(b)(2)(A), and 13(b)(2)(B) and Rules 13a-1, 13a-13, and 12b-20.
Raval agreed to pay a $50,000 penalty and consented to an order barring him from serving as an officer or director of a public company for five years. He also consented to a final judgment enjoining him from violations of Exchange Act Sections 10(b) and 14(a) and Rules 10b-5, 14a-3, and 14a-9, and from aiding and abetting Info's violations of Exchange Act Sections 13(a), 13(b)(2)(A), and 13(b)(2)(B) and Rules 12b-20 and 13a-1.
Info consented to the issuance of an Order Instituting Cease-and-Desist Proceedings Pursuant to Section 21C of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, Making Findings, and Imposing a Cease-and-Desist Order without admitting or denying any of the findings in the SEC's order. The Order orders Info to cease and desist from committing or causing any violations and any future violations of Sections 13(a), 13(b)(2)(A), 13(b)(2)(B), and 14(a) of the Exchange Act and Rules 12b-20, 13a-1, 13a-13, 14a-3, and 14a-9.
The SEC's case against Das and Dean is ongoing. They are charged with violating Exchange Act Sections 10(b), 13(b)(5), and 14(a), and Rules 10b-5, 13a-14, 13b2-1, 13b2-2, 14a-3, and 14a-9, and for aiding and abetting Info's violations of Exchange Act Sections 13(a), 13(b)(2)(A), and 13(b)(2)(B), and Rules 12b-20 and 13a-1. Additionally, Das is charged with violating Exchange Act Rule 13a-13. The Commission's complaint seeks permanent injunctions, financial penalties, prejudgment interest, and an officer and director bar against both defendants."

Sunday, April 18, 2010

JP MORGAN CAUGHT UP IN PAY-TO-PLAY MUNI BOND SCHEME

The following is an excerpt from the SEC web page in regards to a recent action taken by the SEC. It seems that a JP Morgan executive gave a campaign contribution to a politician responsible for the issuance of Municipal bonds. Such contributions are not legal under MSRB Rule G-37. The SEC explains the rule in the following:

"Washington, D.C., March 18, 2010 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today issued a report warning firms that municipal securities rules prohibiting pay-to-play apply to affiliated financial professionals, not just a firm's employees.

The pay-to-play rule, MSRB Rule G-37, generally prohibits firms from underwriting municipal bonds for an issuer for two years after a municipal finance professional (MFP) involved with that firm makes a campaign contribution to an elected official of that municipality.

In the Report of Investigation, the Commission makes clear that an executive who supervises the activities of a broker, dealer, or municipal securities dealer is not exempt from the MSRB's pay-to-play rule just because he or she may be outside the firm's corporate governance structure. As such, an executive may be deemed an MFP if he or she is not part of a broker-dealer, but oversees the broker-dealer from the vantage of the holding company.

“Firms and associated persons must adhere strictly to municipal securities pay-to-play rules,” said Robert Khuzami, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “Firms cannot rely solely upon titles or organizational charts in determining whether a person is subject to those rules.”

When the Commission approved the rule in 1994, it indicated that banks and bank holding companies affiliated with brokers, dealers and municipal securities dealers were excluded from the rule. Since then, the Commission has not directly addressed whether directors, officers or employees of such banks and bank holding companies are MFPs if they supervise the public finance activities of brokers, dealers and municipal securities dealers or serve on executive committees that engage in such supervision.

The Commission's Report of Investigation stems from an Enforcement Division inquiry into whether JP Morgan Securities Inc. (JPMSI) violated the MSRB Rule. According to the Report, JPMSI underwrote municipal bonds issued by the state of California within two years after a then-Vice Chairman of JPMSI's parent bank holding company (JP Morgan Chase) gave a $1,000 contribution to a California elected official.

Under Section 21(a) of the Securities Exchange Act, the Commission may investigate violations of the federal securities laws and at its discretion "publish information concerning any such violations." JPMSI consented to the issuance of the Report without admitting or denying any of the statements or conclusions."

It is apparent from the above that some corporations bribe public officials for government business. Many in this nation state that the government should keep it's nose out of the way businesses are run. Maybe big business should keep its checkbook closed instead of trying bribe the government to send the peoples money into the coffers of big firms.

Friday, April 16, 2010

GOLDMAN SACHS CHARGED WITH FRAUD BY THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Goldman Sachs has been charged with fraud by the SEC. The Dow 30 Industrial Index fell by up to 150 points when the fraud was disclosed today. The following is an excerpt from the press release given by the Securities and exchange commission:

"SEC Charges Goldman Sachs With Fraud in Structuring and Marketing of CDO Tied to Subprime Mortgages
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2010-59
Washington, D.C., April 16, 2010 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Goldman, Sachs & Co. and one of its vice presidents for defrauding investors by misstating and omitting key facts about a financial product tied to subprime mortgages as the U.S. housing market was beginning to falter.
Additional Materials
Litigation Release No. 21489
SEC Complaint

The SEC alleges that Goldman Sachs structured and marketed a synthetic collateralized debt obligation (CDO) that hinged on the performance of subprime residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS). Goldman Sachs failed to disclose to investors vital information about the CDO, in particular the role that a major hedge fund played in the portfolio selection process and the fact that the hedge fund had taken a short position against the CDO.

"The product was new and complex but the deception and conflicts are old and simple," said Robert Khuzami, Director of the Division of Enforcement. "Goldman wrongly permitted a client that was betting against the mortgage market to heavily influence which mortgage securities to include in an investment portfolio, while telling other investors that the securities were selected by an independent, objective third party."

Kenneth Lench, Chief of the SEC's Structured and New Products Unit, added, "The SEC continues to investigate the practices of investment banks and others involved in the securitization of complex financial products tied to the U.S. housing market as it was beginning to show signs of distress."

The SEC alleges that one of the world's largest hedge funds, Paulson & Co., paid Goldman Sachs to structure a transaction in which Paulson & Co. could take short positions against mortgage securities chosen by Paulson & Co. based on a belief that the securities would experience credit events.

According to the SEC's complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the marketing materials for the CDO known as ABACUS 2007-AC1 (ABACUS) all represented that the RMBS portfolio underlying the CDO was selected by ACA Management LLC (ACA), a third party with expertise in analyzing credit risk in RMBS. The SEC alleges that undisclosed in the marketing materials and unbeknownst to investors, the Paulson & Co. hedge fund, which was poised to benefit if the RMBS defaulted, played a significant role in selecting which RMBS should make up the portfolio.

The SEC's complaint alleges that after participating in the portfolio selection, Paulson & Co. effectively shorted the RMBS portfolio it helped select by entering into credit default swaps (CDS) with Goldman Sachs to buy protection on specific layers of the ABACUS capital structure. Given that financial short interest, Paulson & Co. had an economic incentive to select RMBS that it expected to experience credit events in the near future. Goldman Sachs did not disclose Paulson & Co.'s short position or its role in the collateral selection process in the term sheet, flip book, offering memorandum, or other marketing materials provided to investors.

The SEC alleges that Goldman Sachs Vice President Fabrice Tourre was principally responsible for ABACUS 2007-AC1. Tourre structured the transaction, prepared the marketing materials, and communicated directly with investors. Tourre allegedly knew of Paulson & Co.'s undisclosed short interest and role in the collateral selection process. In addition, he misled ACA into believing that Paulson & Co. invested approximately $200 million in the equity of ABACUS, indicating that Paulson & Co.'s interests in the collateral selection process were closely aligned with ACA's interests. In reality, however, their interests were sharply conflicting.

According to the SEC's complaint, the deal closed on April 26, 2007, and Paulson & Co. paid Goldman Sachs approximately $15 million for structuring and marketing ABACUS. By Oct. 24, 2007, 83 percent of the RMBS in the ABACUS portfolio had been downgraded and 17 percent were on negative watch. By Jan. 29, 2008, 99 percent of the portfolio had been downgraded.

Investors in the liabilities of ABACUS are alleged to have lost more than $1 billion.

The SEC's complaint charges Goldman Sachs and Tourre with violations of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Exchange Act Rule 10b-5. The Commission seeks injunctive relief, disgorgement of profits, prejudgment interest, and financial penalties."

The SEC can only assess civil liabilities however, it is unclear as to whether or not the Department of Justice or the Attorney General of the State of New York will pursue criminal charges.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

FLASH ORDERS: THE WAY INVESTORS WERE BEAT

The Securities and Exchange Commission voted unanimously to ban flash orders. According to the SEC filing "A flash allows a person who has not publicly displayed a quote to see orders less than a second before the public is given an opportunity to trade with those orders. Investors who have access only to information displayed as public quotes may be harmed if market participants are able to flash orders and avoid the need to make the order publicly available."

"Flash orders may create a two-tiered market by allowing only selected participants to access information about the best available prices for listed securities," said SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro. "These flash orders provide a momentary head-start in the trading arena that can produce inequities in the markets and create disincentives to display quotes."

Flash orders are one of the many ways that wealthy investors have been taking individual investors and traders to the cleaners for years. Up until now, politicians and agencies created to oversea criminal activities on WallStreet, have turned a blind eye to practices such as these. This is a sad time in America when a few wealthy bankers on Wallstreet can manipulate markets with the blessing of the government. Even casino's are better regulated. The very existence of the SEC has for decades gave people the confidence to invest their hard earned savings. The SEC has just been operating as a co-conspirator in the Wallstreet confidence game.

At least finally, the SEC is doing it's job but, will people trust them in the future? Obviously, it would be shear ignorance to trust the Wallstreet banking elite.

The following is more detail regarding their decision on flash orders, released on the SEC web site:

"The Commission today voted unanimously to propose the elimination of the flash order exception from Rule 602. If adopted, the proposed amendment would effectively prohibit all markets - including equity exchanges, options exchanges, and alternative trading systems - from displaying marketable flash orders.

In its proposal, the Commission is seeking public comment and data on a broad range of issues relating to flash orders, including the costs and benefits associated with the proposal. It also seeks comment on whether the use of flash orders in the options markets should be evaluated differently than their use in the equity markets.

* * *
Public comments on today's proposal must be received by the Commission within 60 days after its publication in the Federal Register."

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