Good Old-Fashioned Thievery:
A former Wachovia Securities broker admitted to stealing the entire life savings of a retiree client. Charles Clark, 47, of St. Louis, plead guilty on Jan. 23 to 20 counts of felony theft for stealing $69,000 from a 73-year-old Anheuser-Busch retiree from Richmond Heights, Mo. Prosecutor Keith Larner alleged that Clark took checks from the victim on 24 occasions from 2000 through 2002, depositing them in his own account. Clark's sentencing (which is scheduled for May 5) will depend on how much of the money he returns to the victim. He gave $10,000 back as part of his plea.
Daytrading in Congress?
According to a story published by the Raw Story, a liberal online news site, in late January, House Democrats are pushing for the ethics committee to investigate allegations of congressional offices giving advance notice to Wall Street investors on relevant legislation. Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.) wrote a letter in November 2005 to the House Ethics Committee, according to the published story. Baird's press secretary confirmed that Baird is still aggressively pursuing the allegations.
Meanwhile, on the liberal radio station, Air America, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) alleged that “daytraders” in the offices of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) had been part of this pipeline. Specifically, Slaughter alleged that these individuals gave advance notice that a particular asbestos bill wasn't going to survive the Senate. The article also states “individuals on Capitol Hill have pointed to others already ensnared in the Abramoff probe as possibly having engaged in daytrading.”
Morningstar Gets Some Stars Back:
The SEC announced that it has ended its investigation into Morningstar, the mutual fund and stock research firm, for alleged bogus data published in 2004. The investigation began in May 2004 after the firm published incorrect data for the Rock Canyon Top Flight Fund. Separately, the firm is still under investigation by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who is focusing on its investment consulting work for retirement-plan sponsors.
One Sheet, Two Sheet…
NYSE Regulation censured and fined 18 member firms and two former member firms $5.85 million for failing to submit accurate trading-history information, or blue sheets. The firms also failed to establish and maintain supervisory capabilities for this reporting requirement, according to the NYSE release. The fines ranged from $150,000 to $500,000 for the 20 firms. Blue sheets are created by firms at the request of regulators looking into questionable trading practices. They provide the identity of the account for which a trade was made and whether it was a buy or sell and long or short. “Blue sheets are an essential component of NYSE investigations into insider trading, market manipulation and other potential violations,” said Susan Merrill, chief of enforcement, NYSE Regulation.