Monday, April 21, 2008

Don't Worry, They Serve Baloney in Prison

This blog is fascinated with delusional, fraud-committing CEOs, so it is always satisfying to see one of them put where he can't rip off more gullible investors. This morning I learned that Richard A. Altomare, ex-CEO of the fraud factory Universal Express, was ordered to jail on Friday by a federal judge in New York for civil contempt. He reports to the pokey on May 2.

Altomare had turned Universal Express into his own personal piggybank, and Judge Gerald E. Lynch had ordered him to cough up $1.7 million in ill-gotten gains in February 2007.

He didn't, and should have been tossed in jail a long time ago. But now he must avail himself of federal facilities. Here is the relevant portion of the judge's order:

As I described in Wall Street Versus America, Altomare was the shrill mouthpiece of the stock market conspiracy kooks. His constant blathering on the subject of naked shorting was rejected by the SEC, which found in its painstakingly slow investigation that Altomare had been systematically looting the company. The SEC obtained an order ousting him as CEO and appointing a receiver for the company.

After Altomare became too hot and openly crooked, the Baloney Brigade anti-shorting nuts came under the leadership of CEO Patrick Byrne, who is now working hard to out-do Altomare in the stock-manipulation department. (Ever notice how CEOs who scream against short sellers tend to have something to hide?) In a broader sense, Byrne, with his campaign of menace against analysts and the media, is a far more dangerous figure than his brother-in-baloney, Altomare.

I assume Altomare will be using some of the investor cash he has stashed away to appeal this order. But eventually I reckon he will have to avail himself of the cuisine at Metropolitan Correctional Center, which I understand provides copious amounts of a certain smoked meat.

UPDATE: Floyd Norris in the New York Times provides a detailed description of what is sending this clown to the hoosegow (don't you love those jailhouse euphemisms?), essentially making "millions from illegally selling billions of shares in Universal Express — and then blam[ing] naked short-sellers for all the volume."

Floyd says he welcomes comments but insists on civility, saying "I have tired of the personal abuse that has filled the comments on earlier posts." Fat chance. Naked shorting crackpots have been discredited on the facts so frequently, and over such a long period of time, that they have nothing else in their arsenal except paranoid conspiracy theories. Patrick Byrne can attest to that.

© 2008 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.

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