Blog by Bill Singer WEEK IN REVIEW

April 9, 2016

My Baby Sent Me A Letter But My Client Didn't

The Box Tops gave us the first rendition. Joe Cocker gave us a stirring cover. If you're old enough to know what I'm talking about, you may recall that rockin' tune "The Letter." An updated regulatory version of that classic was recently performed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Raymond James, and probably Wells Fargo. In the 2016 song, the lyrics are about Advisor of Record Change Letters. As is apparent in the recent version of this classic, my baby didn't sign her letters. In fact, my baby didn't actually send the letters. Moreover, in a further twist on the old theme, today's Respondent didn't care how much money he got to spend because it seems he was sort of broke. Oh my, how the Blog loves it when it all comes together in regulation and song! READ

Pennystock Sponsored Content Fraud Ends With SEC Bars

Direct-marketing material -- sponsored content -- however you wish to characterize the business of getting out the word for a fee is okay with me. For the record, I hate sponsored content. I hate it when it pops up on my online search list. I hate it when it barges in on my social media sites. I hate all those hyperventilating emails and frenzied messages that clog my online experience and waste my time. When it comes to sponsored content about the stock market, I immediately click "Delete," which is about all the attention that I believe such direct-marketing material deserves. So . . . we all clear as to how I feel about sponsored content?  Consider a recent Securities and Exchange Commission settlement involving a purveyor of Wall Street sponsored content. READ

Wall Street Banker's Travel Expenses Send Career Into Ditch

In confronting a temptation, the analysis doesn't always start with determining whether something is wrong and, if so, that's the end of it.  No, the thing about we humans is how we ponder the moral and ethical pros and cons and then weigh them against whether we may get caught and what the consequences might be. The old cost-benefits analysis. Take the whole deal with reimbursable employee expenses. Do you add in that extra meal for your friend who isn't a customer? Is there a way you can charge off some of that personal vacation to the firm? If it's holiday time and you could use a few extra bucks, what's the big deal if you add a zero or toss in some fictitious charges? Consider a recent Wall Street regulatory settlement in which a career was seemingly blown apart over travel expenses. READ

Hacking (Not Fracking) Gives Oil Industry Website Developer Gas Pains

Nary a day goes by when we don't read about someone hacking into something. Frankly, we've grown a bit blase' about such things. A recent criminal Complaint, however, provides us with a fascinating details about the detective work involved in uncovering clues and ferreting out the mastermind behind allegedly unauthorized online access. At issue is the creation of an oil and gas industry website and the sale of that site for $51 million. Then the same guy who created that first site, builds another website eerily similar to the one that he had sold, and . . . well, here's where it gets interesting: The online entrepreneur attempts to sell the second site to the same folks who bought the first one from him. What makes that fact pattern illegal, you might ask. What's wrong with staying with a formula that already worked? Okay, maybe that's going to be the defendant's defense. READ