Posted by Al Lewison June 27, 2009 Fat Cats /
Bernie Madoff has to forfeit $170 billion, a federal judge ruled Friday.
Prison wages being what they are, it would take this mad Ponzi schemer several times longer than the age of the universe to make full restitution.
This is a cosmic amount of bad karma to work off. If there’s such a thing as reincarnation, Madoff is going to be busy for millions of lifetimes. And if instead there’s a Hell, Satan’s going to have to hand over his pitch fork for at least half of eternity.
This massive debt – though largely symbolic – is bigger than the market cap of almost every company in the world. Procter & Gamble’s market cap, for instance, is about $154 billion. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway’s market cap is at $141 billion. Google is $134 billion.
Meanwhile, Madoff’s poor wife – who Madoff argued deserved about $70 million of assets he claimed were not connected to his fraud - agreed to give up almost everything, including boats, cars, exquisite properties in Florida and New York. All she’ll be left with is about $2.5 million, practically destitute by Madoff standards.
I am flying to New York this weekend and hope to attend Madoff’s sentencing hearing on Monday. It promises to be quite a scene with hundreds of victims left far poorer than Mrs. Madoff.
Let me know if you have any ideas about what I should write about this spectacle. I keep wondering: What’s left to be said, that hasn’t already been said?
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday may let former Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio know whether it will hear his case.
Nacchio has been residing in the Schuylkill Federal Correctional Institution in Minersville, Pa., since mid-April for convictions on 19 counts of insider trading in 2007.
Nacchio’s case has been quite a volley. He won a reversal on appeal. But then in a rare “en banc” hearing, the appeals court reversed its reversal and demanded he start serving his six-year prison sentence.
His remaining hope is the Supreme Court where he’s made a slew of arguments.
His best arguments center around the term “materiality.” 1. The trial court improperly defined the term “materiality” for the jury, and 2. the court excluded the only expert witness Nacchio hired to help the jury understand the term.
The case hinged on the prosecution’s argument that Nacchio pulled the old pump and dump, hyping Qwest’s prospects while he unloaded his stock. They argued that the “material” information he held as he sold his stock was that the projections he gave the public could not possibly come true.
Nacchio argues that just about any CEO who sells stock while making a prediction that does not come true could be prosecuted under this precedent. Usually, insider trading cases are built upon more concrete material information, such as a merger being called off or a key regulatory approval not coming through, not shoddy forecasts.
We’ll see what the Supremes have to say about “materiality,” if anything.
Meantime, if the court does not reveal on Monday whether it will hear his case, Nacchio will likely have to wait until September for the answer. And it’s a long wait in the pokey.
Posted by Al Lewison June 25, 2009 Fat Cats /
Most Fortune 100 don’t have “followers” or “friends.”
They don’t blog, they don’t Twitter, they don’t LinkIn, they don’t Facebook, and they don’t always show up with accurate information on Wikipedia.
Web site UberCEO.com looked at the social media habits of Fortune’s 2009 top 100 CEOs. Want to know why it’s lonely at the top? Here are some of the results (and for full results, watch this slideshow):
* Of only 13 CEOs with LinkedIn profiles, only three had more than 10 connections.
* 75% of CEOs show up on Wikipedia, but about one third of those have limited or outdated information.
* Not one Fortune 100 CEO has a blog.
“They’re giving the impression that they’re disconnected, disengaged and disinterested,” said Sharon Barclay, editor at UberCEO.com.
Sounds like a typical CEO to me. But I don’t think it’s because they’re imperious. I suspect most of these guys don’t even use email. This way, when the whole company blows, there are no digital fingerprints left at the scene.
Besides, think how easy my job would be if all I had to do was troll the Fortune 100 CEO blogs to see what idiotic things they said today.
Daryl Hannah - one of the few gorgeous Hollywood starlets willing to be photographed with me - was arrested in West Virgina on Tuesday during a protest against a coal mining company.
Click here to read an account and see a video by The Charleston Gazette.
Massey Energy apparently wants to rip the top off of a mountain, which is understandable because that’s what coal mining companies do. And energy-craving American consumers will be happy to burn up the rocks they remove, global warming or not, so they can keep watching reruns of Hollywood movies on big-screen TVs.
Fill ‘er up at your neighborhood Citgo, and suddenly you’re funding Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Taliban, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and other terrorist organizations – that’s the allegation, anyway, in a federal lawsuit against the Venezuelan-owned oil company.
Click here to read the lawsuit, which claims Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez uses Citgo’s profits against us.
Citgo has yet to respond to the claims. And frankly, anti-Citgo sentiments haven’t caught on. It’s not like the gasoline we buy from other stations comes from friendly nations, either.