Thursday, March 4, 2010

"S.E.C. Charges Psychic With Securities Fraud"

Important Updates below
Original post:
From DealBook:

5:10 p.m. | Updated It may read like it’s ripped from the pages of The Onion, but yes, it’s real.

The Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday sued a well-known fortune-teller who called himself “America’s Prophet,” charging him with securities fraud for swindling investors out of $6 million with the promise that he could accurately predict market moves. (Read the lawsuit after the jump.)

Sean David Morton, 51, is accused of inducing more than 100 investors into pouring money into the Delphi Investment Group through his newsletter, Web site and guest spots on a nationally syndicated radio show.

Among his pitches: “I have called ALL the highs and lows of the market giving EXACT DATES for rises and crashes over the last 14 years.”

S.E.C. officials on Thursday were less impressed by his purported investment prowess.

“Morton’s self-proclaimed psychic powers were nothing more than a scam to attract investors and steal their money,” George S. Canellos, the director of the S.E.C.’s New York regional office, said in a statement.

His wife, Melissa Morton, and their nonprofit religious organization, Prophecy Research Institute, were listed as relief defendants, meaning that while they are not accused of a crime, the S.E.C. is seeking a disgorgement of their share of the ill-gotten gains.

Neither Mr. Morton or Ms. Morton, nor a representative for their organization, could be reached for comment.

DealBreaker has more details and I have a confession:
The SEC today charged Sean David Morton with scamming $6 million from 100 investors in his Delphi Investment Group (the individuals would put money in one of three companies- Vajra Productions, LLC, 27 Investments, LLC, and Magic Eight Ball Distributing, Inc.- all under the Delphi umbrella)....

...This is also good:

In one-on-one correspondence with potential investors, Morton was even more aggressive in his solicitation. For example, on October 7,2006, Morton wrote to a potential investor, Investor G, in two separate emails: “The more [money] you get me the MORE 1 can make for you” and “[g]ive ME enough money to help YOU! Give me enough so that the average profits will make a DIFFERENCE in your life.” >>>MORE
I too have dabbled in the black arts:

Psychic News Network: Trading Emissions PLC in Bid for Econergy (TRE.L; ECG.L)
Here at PNN we believe...

Still a few kinks in the system. We have to adjust the crystal ball to spot the potential target, not the bidder. We had our first post on Trading Emissions PLC just a couple days ago....
...We'll repeat our caveat from the earlier TRE post:
WARNING: This is a very opaque industry with a lot of assumptive accounting, not suitable for widowed orphans.
Now, back to work on the crystal ball.
Yes, you want to know the company being bought, not the buyer.
The psychic thing comes around every few years. In 2008 the country's number one market time, according to the Hulbert Financial Digest, was Arch Crawford, an astrologer.
In an October '08 post I gave some of the backround:

Is The Financial Crisis Making You Psychic?
Psychic or psycho?
...Lafsky also points out a study in this month’s Science demonstrating that when people feel they lack of control in life, they experience sudden increases in “invisible pattern-seeing." "People primed with a sense of powerlessness saw more images in static, found more conspiracies in written stories, and imagined more patterns in financial markets than those who were left alone," Lafsky writes....MORE
That effect is something you must always be on guard against and not just in the markets. I get crabby when folks think they can read my mind. My thinking isn't that transparent. (is it?)
Last week MarketBeat posted "Written in the Stars" wherein somebody I've never heard of says the market would bottom today:
...Panic lows have historically occurred on day 27/28 of the 7th lunar cycle, which are this Sunday and Monday. The panics of 1857/1907/1929/1987/1997 all marked their lows on these days in October!”...
There is a long history of this stuff, everybody wants to know the future.
One of my favorite examples comes from a "American Experience" episode, "The crash of 1929"
(we linked to it in reference to Joe Kennedy's pool manipulation of RCA)*
1929 February: Astrologer Evangeline Adams, who counts Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, and J. P. Morgan among her clients, predicts the market will rise in the coming months.
This is contradicted by her comment:
"In 1928 and 1929... it behooves everyone to be extremely cautious in investment and money matters, and be prepared for this threatening configuration of planets". The stock market crash occurred in October of 1929.
Or it may just be an earlier version of the Cramer technique.
Ms. Adams was reputed to call the crash later that year based on the horoscope of Mr. Morgan's son Henry Sturgis (founder of Morgan Stanley)....
See also:
Technical analysis
Fundamental analysis
Divination for Dummies
Pitfalls in Prognostication: Fortune Magazine's August, 2000 "Ten Stocks to Last the Decade"