From the files of Larry Noodles, see here.
MADOFF WANTS TO JOIN POLLARD ON THE OUTSIDE
Ten years ago Bernie Madoff got locked up in medium security Federal prison in Butner, North Carolina. Madoff joined fellow Jewish criminal Jonathan Pollard in a facility with about 750 other inmates. Butner is less violent than most medium facilities. The Feds put a lot of child molesters and sexual deviants in Butner. Pedophiles are targets for attack in prison. If you put them all in one place they can protect each other. This results in less violence, and less work for correctional officers.
Pollard was released from Butner five years ago. Before Pollard was released he spent a few years with Madoff. A number of former inmates at Butner were interviewed and said that Pollard and Madoff didn’t get along very well and almost came to blows. Other former inmates have said that they got along great. You can’t always trust the truth and veracity of criminals.
Yesterday Madoff filed a motion to be released under the compassionate release law. Madoff is dying from renal failure. Madoff wants to get out of Butner and spend his last days on earth with his wife. Madoff’s two sons died, one of cancer and the other of suicide. Madoff needs a new kidney. Nobody is lining up to donate a kidney to Madoff. Madoff has refused to be put on dialysis at Butner. Medical care at Federal prisons is about as advanced as medical care provided in the North Pole. The CO’s, or the inmates, would probably figure out a way to kill Madoff with the dialysis machine, just for the fun of it. The Feds still haven’t figured out how Jeffrey Epstein died.
Madoff’s doctors have said that his life expectancy is about 18 months. Madoff wants to die on the outside with his wife by his side. Madoff argued in his motion that a “friend” has agreed to take him in if he is released. Madoff refused to disclose the name of the friend, out of concerns for this friend’s “privacy.” Did Jonathan Pollard agreed to take in Madoff? Why would Madoff not request that he be released to his wife? Or, is the “friend” referring to Madoff’s wife?
A former inmate at Butner told a reporter that Madoff bragged about robbing money from little old bubbes, causing Pollard to rebuke Madoff. According to this inmate Rabbi Pollard told Madoff he would have to answer to G-d for his sins. Madoff allegedly laughed at Pollard. Bubbe maisa or fact? When I report on inmate activities in Otisville I make sure to verify my information with at least two independent inmate sources who don’t know each other. You can’t trust the word of an inmate.
The Feds at the Bureau of Prisons have opposed Madoff’s early release motion. The Feds think that his crime is far too serious to allow Madoff to benefit from the compassionate release law. The compassionate release law should be reserved for more upstanding criminals, like Worldcom executive inmate Bernie Ebbers. Madoff argued in his motion that Bernard Ebbers was just released by New York Federal Judge Valerie Caproni under the compassionate release law, over the objection of Federal prosecutors. Ebbers argued to Judge Caproni that he is 78 years old, he just lost 50 pounds in six months, he suffers from incontinence and dementia and fell down four times which required multiple hospitalizations. The Feds argued that Ebbers was faking his medical conditions in order to get out of jail early. The Feds even got the prison psychologist to eavesdrop on Ebbers prison phone calls with his daughter. The prison shrink said that Ebbers did not sound demented when he spoke with his daughter. I would suggest that Bernie Madoff fake incontinence in order to get the Feds to kick him out of Butner.
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Note to readers:
One of the problems with having lost total anonymity (see here) is the second hat worn by the blogger, that of an attorney. Unfortunately of late, attorneys have been suspended for criticizing judges. Whistle blowers are now at risk for their lives from the ruler of what used to be the free world; and the moral compass of the judicial system in the US seems to have turned on its axis. Being a nameless and faceless spokesperson for truth or some form of justice is risky; but putting a face to that is like removing a Kevlar vest.
Anonymity provided protection, not by allowing us to type words we otherwise would not have typed, but by affording us with a voice without the weights and burdens of multiple degrees and professional demands and what could appear to be attorney advertising were it to have a face. Our voice spoke words of a faceless anybody who did the research and came to a set of conclusions. We no longer have that level of protection. So we tread lightly, a chilling of speech in full force and effect. And for the sake of attorney ethics, perhaps call this attorney advertising, perhaps not. View it as you will.
And we digress. The ruling below by Judge Brian Cogan feels nothing short of a betrayal of justice for the victims, for justice and for the entire financial system. The jury had it right despite the theatrics of truly gifted attorneys representing the defendants. The attorneys did their jobs and the jury ruled, even at the many legal and judicial disadvantages imposed by Judge Cogan. And then the judge overruled.
We don’t get it. It feels very wrong.
The jury was an unsophisticated jury with likely precious little by way of experience in the investment world. And yet they were convinced that there was enough evidence to convict Mark Nordlicht and David Levy. We were disappointed they missed the whole picture but they got a piece of it right.
Unfortunately the Prosecution team did a rather inadequate job of breaking up the entire fraud piece by precious piece; and missed so many crucial bits of evidence to put before the jury, not the least of which was a comparison to how the global markets were performing at the time the Platinum Partners were active. This comparison shed light on how lacking in transparency were the activities of Platinum Partners now Teflon Partners at the time.
It was all very complicated; but could have been broken down by someone with enough experience in investments to break it all down. Yet the jury got the significance of Black Elk, a feat of epic proportions.
We have years of research behind our stories on this subject, a lifetime in the hedge fund world and extensive knowledge of the subject matter. The lawyers representing the State were out-played by master craftsmen. Simple.
But the jury got it right.
To be undone by the judge came as a surprise, accompanied by a deep sense of sadness and a feeling of despair for everything just and true about our judicial system, if such truth exists, and our financial markets. The markets work because of the integrity of the investment vehicles, the rules the hedge fund managers MUST play by. Teflon/Platinum Partners did not play by those rules. It all only works in concert when the investors can count on the judicial system to ensure act as referees or alternatively dole out equitable and judicial remedies when all else has failed. In this case, the justice system was in discord, as we see it.
The world’s financial markets continue to function only when investors can trust the underlying materials about the risks, solely when investors understand the thickness of the ice they are going to be skating on, which is supposed to be transparently laid out. There can be no substrata of lies and deceit or the entire endeavor is accompanied by hidden risks. That was the Teflon/Platinum Partners strategy. They hid risks, the ice was thinner in places.
This case, if not for any other in our anonymous and not-so-anonymous viewpoint, is representative of an entirely broken system. If risks can be so well hidden that minutiae determine a Judge’s unilateral decision to overturn a verdict, no market is safe.
The jury understood the material and afforded us with a just result. The judge here we simply do not understand.
Hopefully the prosecution team will retry this case; and perhaps they will contact those with an abundance of knowledge on the materials for assistance. If they decide not to retry the case, the victims will have been re-victimized by the very system designed to protect them.
If the Prosecution does not retry this case it will only either serve to substantiate a belief in unequal justice for the wealthy or prove that the Securities Acts and the investor laws are meaningless or some combination of the two. The Jury got it right. One of those convicted has been acquitted by Judge Cogan. Game well played.
We implore upon the Prosecution to take up the case again and to do better.
In a rare move, U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan (Eastern District of New York) overturned a jury’s conviction. Cogan acquitted David Levy and granted a new trial for Mark Nordlicht. Levy and Nordlicht, both executives at now defunct hedge fund Platinum Partners, were convicted of securities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud in July of this year after a 9-week trial. A third defendant, former Chief Financial Officer Joseph SanFilippo, was cleared of all charges.
Back on December 14, 2016, seven individuals were indicted for their alleged participation in transactions at Platinum Partners, which was founded in 2003. Two of the primary targets of the investigation were Nordlicht, one of Platinum’s founder partners and its Chief Investment Officer, and David Levy, a senior executive at Platinum who also served as co-portfolio manager for Black Elk, an oil and gas company that Platinum controlled from August 2010 through September 2015.
As the trial approached, Nordlicht made a change in counsel from high powered attorneys at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP to Jose Baez who gained notoriety when he won “not-guilty’ decisions in two separate high profile murder cases defending Casey Anthony (Florida) and former New England Patriot tight end Aaron Hernandez. It was an interesting strategy and one that seems to have paid off for now.
There is no doubt that there was some great lawyering here, but the case is also interesting because it went from some slam dunk Ponzi scheme, to a real hedge, who had some exotic investments, that went out of business after the FBI raided the place. So was it the hedge fund that was a fraud or an FBI raid that caused the fund to shut down? One thing is clear, there was a raid.
Platinum managed multiple funds, including Platinum Partners Value Arbitrage Fund, L.P. (“PPVA”), Platinum Partners Credit Opportunities Master Fund, L.P. (“PPCO”), and Platinum Partners Liquid Opportunity Master Fund L.P. (“PPLO”). One transaction involved the valuation of one of the funds’ investments, Black Elk – an oil and gas company that Platinum controlled from August 2010 through September 2015, and the subsequent sale.
Government prosecutors claimed that Nordlicht and Levy hatched a plan to get the money from Black Elk’s sale through misrepresentations to bondholders. The Government claimed that the evidence would show that the defendants rigged the Black Elk bond consent solicitation. At trial, the jury found Nordlicht and Levy guilty on counts six to eight (related to the Black Elk) but not guilty on counts one to five, which related to Platinum.
After a 9-week trial and the partial guilty verdict, Nordlicht and Levy moved for a judgment of acquittal under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 29 and for a new trial under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 33. Judge Cogan deferred ruling on these motions until Nordlicht, Levy, and the government prosecutors fully briefed their respective positions. So just when prosecutors thought the trial was over, it wasn’t. After hearing arguments from both sides, Judge Cogan acquitted Levy and stated that Nordlicht’s motion for acquittal was denied, but a new trial was approved as prosecutors did not provide enough evidence to sustain the conviction.
Judge Cogan wrote;
“In considering whether to grant a new trial, a district court may itself weigh the evidence and the credibility of witnesses, but in doing so, it must be careful not to usurp the role of the jury .. The ultimate test is whether letting a guilty verdict stand would be a manifest injustice. … There must be a real concern that an innocent person may have been convicted.”
Although the Government adduced sufficient evidence for a judgment of acquittal to be unwarranted, letting the verdict stand against Nordlicht would be a manifest injustice. Thus, Nordlicht’s motion for a new trial is granted.
It was a complex case but Platinum was a complex hedge fund, something any jury would struggle with. It all started with an FBI raid, allegations that Nordlicht was seeking to flee the country and that the hedge fund was a Ponzi scheme. It turns out that the FBI’s raid was successful in taking down the Platinum but there was no clear motivation as to the defendants when they began to experience a liquidity crisis at Platinum (a real issue but not necessarily criminal). It’s not against the law to make bad decisions or to lose money … something that seems to have been criminalized in this case.
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People Should Be Outraged, Rabbi Feiner Settles Suit with the SEC; but it is Hard to Imagine any Sense of Remorse Given Comments by his Attorney to Crains
Crain’s Chicago Business reported the below information about the SEC settlement with Rabbi Zvi Feiner and the associates who swindled fellow Jews out of millions. But just to throw salt in the wound, the attorney representing Feiner and FNR, Mr. Ariel Weissberg a respected Chicago attorney, in his comments stated that his client doesn’t have the financial means to pay the SEC fines (or presumably to repay his victims). We wonder how much his attorney is getting paid to have thrown that salt in wounds of Feiner’s victims. This is not intended to in any way malign an attorney who did well by his client.
Should there not be a sense of outrage?
There is something very, very wrong with the statements made by Feiner’s attorney throughout the entire article, but perhaps the last paragraph speaks volumes about the righteous indignant response of the defendant. The last paragraph in the article reads as follows:
Feiner settled two civil suits, even though one ended in a judgment in his favor, Weissberg said. “It was the right thing to do,” he explained. “In the Jewish Orthodox community, that’s what we aim for. . . .There’s a higher authority that needs to be answered.”
Really? In the Jewish world we should not be committing these crimes at all. There is nothing about this entire incident, lasting years, that reflects “the right thing to do.”
A Rabbi, someone who had the respectability of his community, should be held to an almost unachievable standard of decency. Rabbi Feiner used the respect of those around him to lure them in and then he financially harmed his investors.
A braggadocios statement saying that the SEC fines will not be met because the Rabbi doesn’t have the financial means (as he apparently spent or repatriated that money to another country) should be leaving everyone with a really sour taste.
It is time that the Orthodox community remove the Hasmachut (Rabbinical Ordination) of those who commit crimes against the Jewish community. If, indeed, we are all looking to the same “higher power.”
Feiner, Erez Baver and their Skokie firm, FNR Healthcare, were accused by the Securities & Exchange Commission of defrauding an elderly Holocaust survivor and other members of Chicago’s Orthodox Jewish community. They siphoned off at least $11.5 million raised from 62 or more investors to buy nursing homes and assisted-living facilities throughout the Midwest, according to a complaint filed Sept. 19 in federal court here.
Feiner, 49, is an ordained Orthodox rabbi and sole owner of FNR. Without telling investors in limited liability companies, according to the complaint, he sold facilities owned by other LLCs and used at least $9 million in proceeds to pay other investors and lenders. Baver, 39, is FNR’s executive vice president. He and his company, Cedarbrook Management, received more than $2.5 million for personal use, the filing said.
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There Is a Long List of People for Whom Jeffrey Epstein’s Death Represents What Might be a Narrow Escape, We do not Believe it was Suicide
We do not necessarily ascribe to Joe Scarborough’s conclusions that “The Russians” are responsible for Jeffrey Epstein’s death but we do believe he was murdered. In fact, in our opinion, he lacked the moral compass he would have needed to end his own life. He was a narcissist. He always lived in an illusion, a universe wherein he was the sun around which all others circulated – his planets – so-to-speak. Epstein was too much of an arrogant, cavalier, “holier than thou” type to take his own life. And suicide requires guts, something he lacked. Epstein believed, wholeheartedly it would seem, that he had done nothing wrong or that his friends in the highest echelons of our government, those who had provided him an extraction plan in escapades prior, would save him this time as well.
He would not have killed himself. For people like Epstein that would have been seen as a weakness, an admission. He pleaded innocent. He was prepared to brandish any weapon at his disposal to escape unscathed and it was that threat that we believe got him killed.
Whether or not an honest, transparent and complete inquiry into his death will be completed remains to be seen. The FBI and the Justice Department have threatened to do such an inquiry. But in our view those agencies are shadowed by Trump’s orbit, tainted by his influences; and perhaps those of Epstein himself even in death. We therefore have our doubts. We are certain, however, that the lack of oversight at the jail was too easy, almost worthy of a novel. If you start with the conclusion that he was murdered, you will find what you are looking for. It’s all there.
THE CLINTON THEORY? TRUMP?
Our President’s decision to use this episode as an opportunity to create a sordid conspiracy theory surrounding the Clintons we see as equally suspect, ill-advised or just plain childish. Donald Trump would have been better suited to remain silent about the Epstein death than to begin a campaign against the Clintons, who are not at this juncture politically relevant. In so doing, he who hath protest too much has shined a bright light in the wrong direction, upon himself.
President Trump lives in a world where the personification of Nietzsche’s “Ubermensch” is the essence of his being. Demoralizing others to make yourself all the grander is his modus operandi; and he had as much reason to want Epstein dead as many, many others. It is suspect, indeed; but speaks more to Trump’s opportunism and ability to manipulate the basest of human conditions than anything else.
By spending the weekend using Twitter to raise serious questions about Epstein’s death and at the same time draw blood from a former political rival, President Trump drew attention not away from himself as a possible conspirator in the death of Clinton’s (and Trump’s) once sexual predator buddy but by our estimation, towards his own potential involvement. That is not to say that we believe that our President murdered someone, quite the contrary.
But, would he have nixed the idea had one of his wealthy financier, sexually depraved friends suggested it to him? We think not. Would President Trump have directed anyone looking to take out Epstein toward those better suited to do the job right? Well… perhaps. Is President Trump likely relieved that Epstein is dead? Most definitely. The Clintons likely share in that relief and they too are not alone. There are so many others for whom Epstein’s death is a possible gift, we could go on for pages through the annuls of decades of Epstein’s history.
Suffice it to say, the more Trump points to Clinton, the more we think people should be directing their attention at Trump’s history, his financial encounters with Epstein. We don’t think it is an implication of guilt; but rather a red flag to tempt the bulls to run. We would guess that President Trump and his associates past and present have substantial records of the Mar-a-Lago connection to Epstein’s sexual enslavement of young girls. We suspect even more, that the man in Trump’s administration upon whose watch Epstein died, Attorney General Barr, may well be someone who deserves scrutiny. It was all too easy.
And this time last week, we could have seen this coming. If Barr moves forward with a deep and unabashed scrutiny of the Epstein death, then his former legal involvement with Epstein, however far removed, diminishes in relevance. If he pays it only lip service than we should all be very skeptical of his involvement.
We have our doubts either way.
THE PONZI SCHEME, EPSTEIN’S EARLY YEARS AND INFLUENTIAL CONNECTIONS
Epstein has a long history of escaping conviction, each with a similar pattern and conclusion. He defrauds or debases, winds up on the long list of possible suspects but somehow doesn’t find himself on the short list. In the 90’s he defrauded elderly, disabled and trusting people out of millions in an elaborate Ponzi Scheme. It may have been the first major Ponzi scheme in US history. Yet, in the end, his partner Stephen Hoffenberg went to jail for 18 years while Epstein’s name disappeared from any judicial or investigative inquiries linked to the case. Those with the power to explain why have either died or remain forever silent.
Hoffenberg has said that he will tell his story. We would be curious to hear it. We wonder now if he is short for this world like his former partner. There were a lot of people involved in those early years; and it would seem that Epstein kept his associates close and his enemies closer. How he was unnamed in multiple judicial inquiries into fraud, Ponzi schemes, illicit sexual activity, tax evasion and the list goes on is where the US justice system should start looking. But this could be a collision course with an outcome far too explosive, much like Jack Nicolson’s tirade in “A Few Good Men”. Can we actually handle the truth?
We will continue to update this story. For now, we are subdividing areas of relevance, as we view it, with collections of articles related to the subject matter.
We would like to provide a little history as the architectural underpinning of our theory.
CONTINUE READING AND VIEWING
The Platinum Partners have beaten (most of) the rap.
Way back in the early days of the Platinum Partners scandal, a truly operatic adventure featuring alleged bribes paid via designer handbags, an FBI raid, $1.17 billion in missing money, an alleged Ponzi scheme, and a succession of judges alternately bewildered and enraged, the latter due to some alleged witness and prosecutor intimidation, we mused: Wouldn’t it be funny if the thing that got Mark Nordlicht & co. in the end was the scuzzy if allegedly legitimate energy investments by which it made its name? Well, wouldn’t you know….
Mark Nordlicht, the founder of defunct hedge fund firm Platinum Partners, was found guilty on Tuesday of defrauding bondholders of an oil exploration company Platinum controlled, but cleared of charges he defrauded investors in Platinum’s hedge funds….
The three men were accused of lying to investors about the health and liquidity of the flagship Platinum Partners Value Arbitrage fund. Prosecutors said Platinum operated “like a Ponzi scheme” by using new money to fund redemptions by earlier investors, a practice referred to internally as “Hail Mary time.”
The jury, however, rejected those charges, finding all three men not guilty.
This is a truly shocking outcome, given the alleged bribe and all of that missing money and all of the things the Platinum execs did to avoid facing the music, from the aforementioned alleged witness intimidation to the alleged plan to spend the rest of their days safe from extradition in Israel, and also how relatively easy it is to win convictions on these sorts of things. And it could get yet more shocking still.
After the jury left, lawyers for Nordlicht and Levy moved to overturn the guilty verdicts. U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan ordered them to file papers in support of their motions and said he might hold a hearing to consider them.
“It’s not over yet,” the judge said.
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“Rav Safra was approached to sell something he had and was offered a price which suited him, but he was unable at the time to signify his consent because he was reciting his prayers and was unable to interrupt them. The prospective buyer, under the impression that the rabbi had rejected his bid, kept on increasing the price but the rabbi insisted on selling for the original price to which he had consented “in his heart.” Naturally, this kind of exemplary conduct was not intended for all, otherwise it would not have been recorded for a saintly man like Rav Safra.
But the stern injunctions throughout Jewish literature against cheating and dishonesty in business affairs and in other areas of life are directed toward every Jew, as when the prophet says of his people: “They have taught their tongue to speak lies, they weary themselves to commit iniquity” (Jeremiah 9:4).”