March 7, 2005
What Charles Ponzi Did
For the historical-minded readers, here is a link to a short article on what Charles Ponzi, whose name is routinely invoked to describe a wide variety of scheme's to fleece investors out of money, actually did to gain such lasting fame. His fraud involved promises of a 40% return in 90 days for investors, a common thread in investment scams in which what looks too good to be true usually is. (ph)
March 6, 2005
Chuck Colson on Martha Stewart
Chuck Colson, who spent seven months in prison as part of the Watergate prosecutions, writes a thoughtful op ed piece in the New York Times here. He describes his experiences in prison, and what he has done to improve our prison system since being released. He speaks about Martha Stewart. But one passage in his op ed may not ring true for the Martha Stewart case. That is, "[t]here was the shame of walking down the street knowing that the people who saw me knew I was an ex-con." Will Martha Stewart feel shame? Or does Martha Stewart emerge from prison as the hero?
The ChoicePoint website states:
"ChoicePoint (NYSE: CPS) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Derek V. Smith on Friday announced that the company will discontinue the sale of information products that contain sensitive consumer data, including Social Security and driver’s license numbers, except where there is a specific consumer-driven transaction or benefit, or where the products support federal, state or local government and criminal justice purposes."
It seems that the SEC and the FTC are investigating ChoicePoint (informal investigation by SEC) and ChoicePoint has stated that they will cooperate. According to the Atl. Jrl. Const. it is alleged that some fraudulent activity may have comprised data from ChoicePoint (See here for more). The investigation also appears to include a review of stock sales by two executives shortly after disclosure of the identity theft. (See Wall Street Jrl for for here).
ChoicePoint has also added a new compliance measure as the company reports that it "has created an independent office of Credentialing, Compliance and Privacy that will report to the Board of Directors’ Privacy Committee. "
Jury Deliberations in the Ebbers Case Resumes on Monday
The jury deliberated on Friday in the case of Bernard Ebbers, former Worldcom chief, and will resume their deliberations on Monday. So far the jury has asked to re-examine some of the evidence. Their request to re-examine some of he testimony of Scott Sullivan, a key witness in the trial is particularly noteworthy. See more here (Atlanta Jrl. Const.) and here (Wall St. Jrl).