Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Takes one to know one (A Fraud on Fraud)

From Fortune:

Sam Antar, the felonious former CFO of Crazy Eddie, is now teaching students and prosecutors how to spot fraud in public companies.

Sam E. Antar is a convicted felon, and he will not let anyone forget it for a minute. Whenever you find yourself starting to think of him as merely a fast-talking yet charming New York character, he'll come out with something like: "I had no remorse whatsoever as a criminal. I had no concern about any other human being. I enjoyed being a criminal."

Antar is a cousin of "Crazy Eddie" Antar, the eponymous founder of the notorious New York City-area consumer electronics chain of the '70s and '80s. The business was a forerunner of Best Buy and famous for TV spots featuring a manic, turtleneck-wearing pitchman promising that Crazy Eddie's "prices are insaaaane!"

...As a result, Sam E.'s disdain for financial pros runs deep. Most Wall Street analysts are in his estimation wimps: "They don't ask the right questions." Accountants: "Most of these people don't even get any training in fraud." Corporate audit committees: "They're less qualified than the inadequately trained auditors." And the financial press: "You guys are easily intimidated." As for antifraud laws, Antar says that Sarbanes-Oxley is good as far as it goes, but he doubts that it does much to intimidate dedicated fraudsters....MORE
And from Division of Labor:

Christmas scams c. 1907

From the Dec. 23, 1907 NYT:

Residents of Newark, N.J. have been made the victims of a Christmas swindle in the last few days. The trick consists of collecting charges on worthless packages. Men appear at houses with bundles addressed to persons living at the addresses, and state that there is a special delivery charge of 50 cents of $1. The amount is nearly always paid without question, in the belief that the package contains a Christmas gift. When opened the box or pacel contains only old papers....