Don’t let ghosts destroy the value of your home when it comes time to sell.
Prudential real estate broker Cindi Hagley can help.
Click here to read my column on Marketwatch.
Yee-aaa! A hurricane is coming to New York City!
There’s always a storm brewing somewhere.
Click here to ready my column in The Sunday Wall Street Journal.
Attorneys for Rajat Gupta compiled an amazing list of good deeds the former Goldman Sachs board director committed before he was convicted for securities fraud.
It played into the relatively light prison sentence Mr. Gupta received this week, with Mr. Gupta receiving only two years in federal prison while prosecutors had asked for more than 10.
U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff offered this theory as to why Mr. Gupta strayed from his otherwise noble path:
“After so many years of assuming the role of father to all, Gupta may have longed to escape the straightjacket of overwhelming responsibility, and had begun to loosen his self-restraint in ways that clouded his judgment.”
I have watched many criminal defendants present their good works at sentencing. It helps a judge decide whether they are dealing with a heartless psychopath or an ordinarly flawed human being who made a mistake. But after making that call, what difference does a list of good deeds make?
Good people do bad things. Bad people do good things.
We all have a dark side, and with a little discipline, we don’t have to give in to it.
Imagine handing out a lighter sentence to a murder defendant just because he volunteered at the homeless shelter. You do the crime. You get the time.
Click here to read my column on MarketWatch.
Paul Ceglia, who claimed Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg owned him half of the value of the social network, was arrested today for allegedly doctoring documents he filed in a federal lawsuit.
Facebook alleged Mr. Ceglia was a fraud, now the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan agrees. Mr. Ceglia marched “into federal court for a quick payday based on a blatant forgery,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.
Click here to read more about his arrest from the Associated Press.
Click here to read more from the U.S. Attorney.
Click here to read the column I wrote about Mr. Ceglia last year in The Sunday Wall Street Journal.
Wouldn’t it be great to run up a tab at a strip club and put it on your company expense report?
Lots of people do, says Eric Sikola, CEO of ExpenseCloud. He sees data from thousands of expense reports and talked to me about some of the craziest things he’s seen employees expense.
Click here to read my column on Marketwatch.com
Another day, another lawsuit against a bank allegeding mortgage fraud.
Federal prosecutors are suing Bank of America for allegedly sticking Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with $1 billion in lousying mortgage loans.
Click here to read more from Reuters.
The lawsuit is similar to the case I wrote about on Sunday in The Sunday Wall Street Journal. Click here to read that.
It offers up more proof that Bank of America should have never acquired Countrywide Financial, where some of the greatest alleged frauds in the mortgage industry appear to have occured.
It alleges that Countrywide Financial, now Bank of America, ran a progam called “operation hustle” to shove bad loans through the pipe, ultimately to government sponsport mortgage companies. The defect rate, the suit claims, rose as high as 40%.
”The fraudulent conduct alleged in today’s complaint was spectacularly brazen in scope,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan said. “Countrywide and Bank of America made disastrously bad loans and stuck taxpayers with the bill.”
The nation’s top bankers sent an urgent letter to Washington last week asking lawmakers and the president to avoid the dreaded fiscal cliff.
They are worried that if this automatic cuts takes over, the nation will instantly be thrust into a recession.
Imagine that. The people who helped cause the economic downturn we’re still suffering through today, are suddenly worried about the next one. The bankers, from Bank of America to Wells Fargo, didn’t say as much, but they must also be worried about their bonuses. Click here to read their letter.
The U.S. government has been spending more than a $1 trillion than it takes in every year for the past four years, and next year’s forecast doesn’t look much better. While bankers sometimes talk about reducing deficit spending, they also like to talk about continued deficit spending.
Click here to read my column in The Sunday Wall Street Journal.
It seems like the goal of Washington regulators is to one day work for the companies they regulate.
Let’s face it. The pay is better.
Last week, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed fraud charges against a $1 billion hedge fund called Yorkville Advisors. Former SEC Commission Richard Y. Roberts sits on its board.
You’d think a former regulator would be careful about the company he chooses, or keep that company on the straight and narrow, or at least step down when it looks like the company is in trouble. But this isn’t how the revolving door in Washington always spins.
Click here to read my column on Marketwatch.com.
Would you buy a haunted home?
Most people probably would, according a survey released today by Campbell, Calif.-based Realtor.com.
“Things that go bump in the night won’t be a problem for most sellers as long as the price is right,” the real estate website says.
I always thought haunted houses would command a premium given the popularity of ghosts on reality TV shows, but most people surveyed actually expect a discount. In any case, most people don’t seem to have a problem with the idea of a ghost.
According to Realtor.com’s survey, 32% of people say they would buy a house perceived to be haunted and another 33% said maybe. Only 35% said no way.
The survey’s findings are below:
HAUNTED REAL ESTATE SURVEY – CONSUMER SURVEY
Conducted from October 1, 2012 to October 3, 2012
1,910 survey respondents
Would you ever consider purchasing a home if you found out someone had passed away in it (assuming the home is otherwise a good fit)?
Would you ever consider purchasing a home that was perceived to be “haunted?”
What rumored spooky happenings would NOT stop you from purchasing a home (assuming the home is otherwise a good fit) (Select all that apply)?
How much would a “haunted” home have to be discounted (from its market value) for you to decide to purchase it?
If you decided to purchase a “haunted” home, would you seek professional help to eliminate the spooky happenings associated with the home?
Today, Newsweek anounced its last print edition will be Dec. 31.
(Click here to read more about its shift to digital.)
This is highly optimistic considering the Maya predict the world will end on Dec. 21.
But then Newsweek has been prone to fits of unbridled optimism, as evidenced by this cover it published in April 2010, declaring a roaring rebound for the U.S. economy.
No, it wasn’t and April Fools edition.
Remember the Newsweek cover of April 2010, boasting “The Remarkable Tale Of Our Economic Turnaround”? Probably not.
Amid high unemployment, raging foreclosures, people protesting in the streets against Wall Street, and a European debt crisis, Newsweeks declared the economy was back.
Happy news sells in an environment like this. But not enough to keep a print edition alive.