Ruthless: How Enraged Investors Reclaimed Their Investments and Beat Wall Street
The path to destruction, financial or otherwise, often begins with a simple proposition. For author Phil Trupp it came from one of his stock brokers: "Take it, Phil. It’s free money." This free money came from auction-rate securities (ARS). Auction-Rate Securities are corporate or municipal bonds with a long-term maturity for which the interest rate is reset at frequent auctions. ARS interest rates were higher than money markets and were sold as completely safe, liquid, Triple-A rated "cash equivalents," a deceptive sales pitch that lured hundreds of thousands of investors to buy the securities. Since 2008, most auctions have failed leaving the market largely frozen. The victims ranged from individual investors to the Joffee Foundation, a nonprofit that can no longer fund programs that help prevent AIDS in Africa, to the Port Authority of New York.
While this is a classic 21st century tale of Wall Street greed and betrayal, it is also a story of redemption and the life-altering struggle of American investors and others around the world who, in the end, beat the Wall Street fraud-masters. Ruthless is a story of how individual investors became mad as hell and joined together to reclaim their cash investments. So far they’ve reclaimed more than $200 billion and continue fighting for the rest. A lively, page-turning guide for any investor with a stunning lesson on how to fight back and win.
Chapter 1: "Deal With It!"
Chapter 2: The "Back Nine."
Chapter 3: A Sweet Deal—Until It's Not.
Chapter 4: "I Have No Dreams."
Chapter 5: Bill Meets Mohela.
Chapter 6: Power to the Blogosphere.
Chapter 7: Radioactive Man.
Chapter 8: Armies of the Unseen.
Chapter 9: Day of Deliverance.
Chapter 10: The Newton Factor.
Chapter 11: Harry the Hit Man.
Chapter 12: The Raymond James Caper.
Chapter 13: What's It All About, Barney?
Chapter 14: Stretching to Meet the Man.
Chapter 15: State of Play 2009.
Chapter 16: Kathy's War.
Chapter 17: Hopeful Signs from the Hill.
Chapter 18: Going to Meet the Man.
Chapter 19: The View from Here.
About the Author.
Imagine waking up one morning, calling your broker, and being told that your life savings are “illiquid,” frozen. You can’t get your hands on a nickel of your own money that was sold, deceptively, as being “safe as Treasury bonds.” This is exactly what happened to author Phil Trupp and hundreds of thousands of other investors caught in the biggest and most daring scam in modern Wall Street history—the so-called auction-rate securities scandal. It was a scam so big it amounted to nearly 20% of what it takes to run the entire federal government: $336 billion. Trupp was mad as hell and vowed to get his money back. With the help of other victims the battle was joined. And those victims were as ruthless in their own defense as Wall Street was in picking their pockets.
The lively, hard-hitting story of that battle is detailed in Trupp’s first-hand account, RUTHLESS. It is one of the first books to speak for the victims of the financial meltdown. It is a true story and a candid exploration of the criminal subculture of Wall Street.
RUTHLESS is also a story of redemption and the life-altering struggle of American investors and others around the world who, in the end, beat the Street’s cagey “best and brightest.” In RUTHLESS: How Enraged Investors Reclaimed Their Investments...and Beat Wall Street (Wiley, October 2010, $27.95, Hardcover), Trupp describes his story and gives names and contact information of how others can fight back and win as well against Wall Street’s greed.
The path to destruction, financial or otherwise, often begins with a simple proposition. For Phil Trupp it came from one of his brokers: “Take it Phil. It’s free money.” This free money came in the form of auction-rate securities (ARS): corporate or municipal bonds with long-term maturities for which the interest rate is reset at frequent auctions. ARS interest rates were higher than money markets and were sold as completely safe, liquid, Triple-A rated “cash equivalents.” They were anything but! It was a deceptive sales pitch that lured hundreds of thousands of individual investors, municipalities and corporations to buy the securities. Since 2008, most auctions have failed leaving the market largely frozen.
RUTHLESS vividly describes how individual investors became mad as hell and joined together on the internet to reclaim their cash. This angry group knows how to reach state attorneys general and other regulators who are charged with taking on the financial markets. With pressure from angry investors they’ve reclaimed more than $200 billion and continue to fight for the rest.
The mantra is “Got taken? Get RUTHLESS”. Trupp’s book also is an insider’s look at life in Washington DC. Encounter characters such as “Radioactive Man,” ex-presidential candidate Fred Thompson, and many others.
“This is a book for anyone invested in Wall Street,” says Trupp. “It’s a personal story, the story of a shameless scam and Wall Street’s ‘let’s take the money and run’ mentality. The carnage was painful and destructive, ruthlessly so. Our group fought back with equal intensity—and we’re still at it. If you’re willing to fight, you can beat the Street at its own game.”
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