Blotter

Punk'd: The NYSE and the states of New Jersey and Connecticut fined Merrill Lynch a total of $13.5 million for failing to supervise a group of Fort Lee, N.J., brokers that market-timed mutual funds. During the first four months of 2002, the brokers made over 3,700 short-term trades in multiple accounts held for a Merrill Lynch hedge fund client, Millennium Partners. Promises, Promises: The SEC has

  • Punk'd: The NYSE and the states of New Jersey and Connecticut fined Merrill Lynch a total of $13.5 million for failing to supervise a group of Fort Lee, N.J., brokers that market-timed mutual funds.

    During the first four months of 2002, the brokers made over 3,700 short-term trades in multiple accounts held for a Merrill Lynch hedge fund client, Millennium Partners.

  • Promises, Promises: The SEC has filed “an emergency civil action,” including a temporary restraining order and a freeze on assets, to put an end to a fraudulent investment ring that the SEC says cost investors around $81 million. Based in Palm Beach, Fla., the group of hedge funds, unregistered investment advisors and one broker/dealer raised the money from roughly 250 investors by claiming annualized returns of 125 percent to 150 percent through aggressive trading in growth stocks and the promise of continued success.

  • Scam artists: Larry Schwartz and Ralph Levy, former heads of First Capital Services, a Boca Raton, Fla.-based investment firm, were sentenced to 17 1/2 years and 19 1/2 years, respectively, on March 15 for fleecing investors out of $33 million in a classic Ponzi scheme. For an investment of $25,000, the men promised a 9.25 percent return. Levy is already serving a 14-year sentence for swindling $130 million out of investors in fraudulent viaticals, the resale of death benefits.

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