Blog by Bill Singer WEEK IN REVIEW

December 24, 2016

What follows is a full-text, verbatim, word-for-word, precise, exact, unredacted copy of an email that was sent to renowned and legendary Wall Street guru, pundit, gadfly, and raconteur Bill Singer, Esq. As indicated in the "From" portion of the communication, the "Sender" was Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James B. Comey, Jr. 

There can be no credible doubt as to the authenticity of either the sender or the communication because it is clearly set forth in the opening portions of the electronic message and the ability to fabricate such information would require an array of electronic equipment and programming capability far beyond those of any human beings. I telephoned Mr. Bernard Lowe, Head of the Division of Programming at Westworld / Delos, Inc. in order to confirm the authenticity of FBI Director Comey's email to me. My conversation with Mr. Lowe wasn't particularly helpful and although he was a nice enough fellow, he seemed a bit stiff, almost mechanical, if you know what I mean. While we were chatting, I figured out that B-E-R-N-A-R-D-L-OW-E is an anagram for Arnold Weber, who is supposedly dead. 

Speaking of folks who are supposedly dead, I never heard back from Dr. Robert Ford, Creative Director at Westworld / Delos, Inc. After I got the impression that Mr. Lowe was politely stonewalling me about my concerns with Director Comey's email, I telephone Dr. Ford, who did not return my calls. From what I'm hearing, I think he's dead but, then again, he could actually have been a host, so who knows. Maybe Westworld / Delos, Inc. is overwhelmed with holiday business? In any event, for those of you who even remotely know what I'm talking about, you have to visit this site and sign up for a vacation to Westworld.

Alas, I digress. Getting back to where I was before I engaged in that diversion, here is the reprint of what I received from FBI Director Comey in my email inbox. READ

In today's Blog, we present an angry former employee seeking millions of dollars in damages and an expungement of his industry record. This cage match involves an employment contract dating back to 1996, so, we got a two-decade employment relationship that has unraveled.  Starting with the July 2015 filing of the arbitration, it takes some 17 months for a resolution. Someone's gonna be happy. Someone's not. READ

SEC Shuts Down RIA Cherry Picking

In a recent Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") settlement, we are presented with TPG Advisors, LLC, a California limited liability company registered with the SEC as an investment adviser ("RIA"). TPG was founded in 2009 by Larry M. Phillips, 66, who was the firm's sole owner, principal, and Chief Compliance Officer. Phillips, who held securities industry registrations since 1971, was also dually registered with a registered broker-dealer. Going by TPG's May 2015 Form ADV, this RIA had about 280 clients, 852 accounts, and a total of $220 million in assets under management. Almost all of TPG's clients were individuals rather than entities. On August 9, 2016, TPG shuttered its business and withdrew its SEC registration.

Let's imagine that you were approached by Phillips and that he pitched you on allowing his RIA to handle your business. Let's pretend that you did some minimal due diligence to ascertain Phillips' bona fides. What do you think you may have discovered? READ

UPDATE: 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 and Superseding Information; however, provide 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

Pro Se Inmate Stuns SEC Division of Enforcement
The Blog has exhausted itself and its readers with its ongoing coverage of  the Securities and Exchange Commission's ("SEC's") In the Matter of Gary L. McDuff. Readers unfamiliar with SEC v. McDuff should reference these recent installments:

The Most Terrible Crime A Human Being Can Commit ( BlogNovember 18, 2016)
Homer Simpson, Killer Tomatoes, And SEC V. McDuff" ( Blog, June 27, 2016)
"Stop The Federal Bureau Of Prisons Anti-Investor Tactics" ( Blog, June 10, 2016)
"Fraudster Got 300 Months In Prison But Still Frustrates The SEC" ( Blog, June 8, 2016)

By way of a brief, and I mean really, really brief, synopsis, in 2013, a federal criminal jury took only six minutes to convict McDuff of conspiring to defraud investors out of over $11 million in connection with an investment fraud scheme and, further, of laundering the proceeds. In 2014, Defendant McDuff was sentenced to 300 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $6.5 million in restitution. Inmate McDuff is presently incarcerated at a low-security, federal correctional institution in Beaumont, Texas ("FCI Beaumont").

Sometime around February 2014, the SEC began its effort to conduct a fairly perfunctory hearing to determine if it were in the public interest to bar McDuff from the securities industry. In trying to conduct the public-interest hearing, SEC Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") Cameron Elliott encountered all sorts of Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") rules, regulations, policies, and practices. As detailed more fully in previous Blog installments, ALJ Elliott wasn't getting even a modicum of cooperation from BOP -- what he was getting was a runaround by small-minded and petty BOP bureaucrats who were more concerned about marking their turf and protecting their territory than seeing that the interests of justice were furthered. ALJ Elliott has been forced to deal with all sorts of dubious BOP objections about the proper transmission of and labeling of mail, arranging for telephone calls, and securing a room at FCI Beaumont for the conduct of the hearing.

On December 16, 2016, ALJ Elliott stunned the regulatory community and investing public when he issued an Initial Decision dismissing the SEC's case. READ

Confusing Customer Conversion Case Confounds FINRA

Gimme a "C" for Confusing. Gimme a "C" for Customer. Gimme a "C" for Conversion. Gimme a "C" for Case. Gimme a "C" for Confounds. Gimme a "C" for FINRA . . .  umm, oops, gimme an "F" for FINRA. Put it all together you got CCCCCF -- okay, I gotta work on that. In any event, today's Blog presents an interesting FINRA AWC in which the regulator boots from the biz a wayward registered rep who seems to have had a penchant for writing unauthorized checks against a customer account. Unfortunately, FINRA seems a bit confused about who is and who isn't the customer. READ