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History of Greed: Financial Fraud from Tulip Mania to Bernie Madoff

ISBN: 978-0-470-60180-8
398 pages
September 2010
History of Greed: Financial Fraud from Tulip Mania to Bernie Madoff (0470601809) cover image
Praise for HISTORY OF GREED

"David Sarna is a visionary technologist. He is also a sophisticated investor and financier. He has written a readable, comprehensive, fascinating, and well-researched book that explores troublesome aspects of the financial system in a way only an experienced insider could."
Jay N. Goldberg, Senior Managing Director, Hudson Ventures

"A comprehensive review of what has happened to us in our financial markets over and over and over and over again. It's an important history, written with wit and delivered with wisdom. Undoubtedly, History of Greed will become required reading for anyone serious about understanding the capital markets."
Frederick L. Gorsetman, Founder and Managing Member, Oxbridge Financial Group, LLC

400 years of financial fraud in the making

From the earliest financial scams of the seventeenth century, through the headline-grabbing Wall Street scandals of our times, History of Greed provides a comprehensive history of financial fraud. In it, David E. Y. Sarna exposes the true and often riveting stories of how both naïve and sophisticated investors alike were fooled by unscrupulous entrepreneurs, lawyers, hedge fund managers, CPAs, Texas billionaires, political fundraisers, music managers, financial advisers, and even former Mossad agents. From the people behind the financial fraud and how they did it to why people continually fall prey to scam artists, Sarna outlines what actions you can take today to protect yourself from becoming the victim of tomorrow's "too good to be true" investment opportunity. History of Greed details how markets are manipulated, books are cooked, Ponzi schemes are hatched, and how the government only closes the barn door once the cows have all escaped.

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Foreword.

Acknowledgments.

Introduction.

Chapter 1 Selling Air.

Why Now?

Chapter 2 Crash Postmortem.

How Greed, Hubris, and Lack of Supervision Did Investors In.

Chapter 3 Why We Do It.

Bubbles and Fraud.

Chapter 4 Securities Fraud.

Its Long and Storied Past.

Chapter 5 The Perils of Greed.

It’s All for the Easy Money.

Chapter 6 The Elements of Financial Fraud.

A Case Study with "Crazy Eddie" Antar.

Chapter 7 "Other People's Money".

The O.P.M. Leasing Fraud.

Chapter 8 Smaller-Company Fraud.

The "ISC" Story.

Chapter 9 Selling Long and Short.

But Mostly Short.

Chapter 10 Market Manipulation.

Improper Short Selling and Other Abuses.

Chapter 11 PIPEs.

Investing Unfairly.

Chapter 12 Promotion Fraud.

Pump and Dump.

Chapter 13 Leaks, Front-Running, and Insider Trading.

Test Yourself.

Chapter 14 Fictitious Volume.

A Pump-and-Dump Scam with Intrigue.

Chapter 15 Parachute into Prison.

U.S. v. Schrenker.

Chapter 16 Affi nity Group Fraud.

Scamming Your Own Community.

Chapter 17 Twentieth-Century Ponzi Schemes.

Larger and Longer-Lasting Scams.

Chapter 18 Hit Charade.

Lou Pearlman.

Chapter 19 Hedge Fund Ponzi Fraud.

Hedge Funds Are for Big Boys.

Chapter 20 Madoff and the World’s Largest Ponzi Scheme.

The Mother of All Ponzi Schemes.

Chapter 21 How Madoff Got Away with It.

Who Helped Plot in the Mother of All Ponzi Schemes; Who Can Be Made to Pay?

Chapter 22 Madoff Plea and Its Aftermath.

Governments Go after Merkin, Kohn, and Maybe Others in the Mother of All Ponzi Schemes.

Chapter 23 Mopping up after Madoff.

Lawyers Feast on Madoff Feeders in the Mother of All Ponzi Schemes.

Chapter 24 Other Recent Ponzi Schemes.

Madoff was a Crook but He Had No Monopoly on Recent Ponzi Schemes.

Chapter 25 Stanford Group.

Massive $7 Billion, Multinational Fraud Comes to Light.

Chapter 26 Ultimate Chutzpah.

The Strange Tale of Marc Dreier, Esq.

Chapter 27 Detecting Fraudulent Financial Schemes.

How Much to Regulate? How Much to Verify?

Chapter 28 Fraudulent Offerings.

A Short Look.

Chapter 29 Auction-Rate Securities

A $330 Billion Fraud?

Chapter 30 $132 Million Tax-Free Exchange Fraud.

Section 1031.

Chapter 31 Not Smart.

The Smart Online Trading Scam.

Chapter 32 Boiler Rooms.

Where the Heat Rises.

Chapter 33 Accounting Frauds.

With Examples.

Chapter 34 Stock Option Frauds.

Alchemy That Benefi ts Insiders.

Chapter 35 Odd and Unusual Financial Frauds.

Not Your Everyday Fraud.

Afterword: What Does the Future Hold?

Notes.

About the Author.

Further Reading.

Index.

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David E. Y. Sarna is a serial entrepreneur who founded three companies, sold one, and successfully took two public. He is also a technologist and a writer. Mr. Sarna is also the creator of several popular blogs, including GreedWatcher.comSM, GoogleGazer.comSM, and EyeOnTheCloud.comSM. He has authored four books, written over 120 articles, was a founding regional director of the Microsoft Developers Network, and is a popular and award-winning speaker with multiple national television appearances on Fox, CNN, and MSNBC.
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September 16, 2010
History of Greed

At least $11 trillion was lost from the U.S. economy in 2008. The world was turned upside down and plunged into a deep recession, if not a depression. What happened? According to David E.Y. Sarna, author of HISTORY OF GREED (Wiley; September 2010; $29.95; 978-0-470-60180-8; Hardcover), fraud and greed had a lot to do with it. “The meltdown of 2008 has affected us all, and we are justifiably angry. But was the worst economic crisis in decades caused by blatant illegal acts or by some terrible combination of greed, naïveté, blunders, and just plain stupidity?  While stupidity and even greed are not a crime, the problems go well beyond simple greed, for there is no shortage of manifest criminality.”

From the earliest financial scams of the 17th century through the headline-grabbing Wall Street scandals of our times, HISTORY OF GREED exposes the true and riveting stories of how both naïve and sophisticated investors were fooled by unscrupulous entrepreneurs, lawyers, hedge fund managers, CPAs, Texas billionaires, political fundraisers, music managers, financial advisers, and even former Mossad agents. Addressing the people behind the financial fraud, how they did it, and why people continually fall prey to scam artists, Sarna outlines what actions to take today to avoid becoming the victim of tomorrow's "too good to be true" investment opportunity.

The book presents a brief history of securities fraud, including frauds surrounding the first stock exchange—The Amsterdam Stock Exchange, the first naked short seller Isaac Le Maire, and the Tulip Bulb Scandal in the 1600s; the Mississippi Company Scandal and the South Sea Bubble in the 1700s; Nathan Rothschild’s market manipulation and John Sadlier’s bank fraud in 1800s, and of course the infamous Charles Ponzi in the 1910s before looking at financial fraud committed in past 30 years.

Sarna covers the wide breath of types of financial fraud, from securities fraud, naked short selling, public entity abuse, stock manipulation by company founders and executives, stock option fraud, Ponzi schemes, and accounting fraud.

Sarna presents a diverse cast of characters who committed these crimes, among them:

  • “Crazy Eddie” Antar: Electronics discount chain Crazy Eddie (“Our prices are insane”) is a great model of modern financial fraud because of its lengthy time span (18 years) and its use of multiple methods, including skimming, underreporting of income prior to going public, overstatement of income after going public, laundering money, recording fictitious revenue, and illegally short selling.
  • Anil Anand: This former CFO of Allied Deals orchestrated a $680 million fake commodities Ponzi Scheme that targeted 20 Banks worldwide.
  • Lou Perlman: In 2006, it was discovered that the 1990s entertainment business manager for the famous American boy bands the Backstreet Boys and ‘NSync had perpetrated a major, long-running, and intricate Ponzi scheme, leaving more than $300 million in debt.
  • Marcus J. Schrenker: An Indiana financial advisor who tried to fake his own death in January 2009 to escape financial fraud charges.
  • R. Allen Stanford: The billionaire, fifth-generation Texan was accused of engaging in $92 billion fraudulent financial schemes that cheated 50,000 customers in 2009.
  • Bernie Madoff: Madoff perpetrated the longest-running and most extensive Ponzi scheme run by individual in history, with an estimated $36 billion in losses and more than 8,000 victims. Sarna examines how Madoff got away with it, who helped him, who can be made to pay, and how the mother of all Ponzi schemes may turn out to be the mother of all legal squabbles.

HISTORY OF GREED details how markets are manipulated, books are cooked, Ponzi schemes are hatched, and how the government only closes the barn door once the cows have all escaped.

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