Wednesday, June 25, 2008

For Sale: Ten Tons of Baloney

The court-appointed receiver for Universal Express, the fraud-infested company that is a poster child for the naked short-selling conspiracy nuts, has come up with a novel way of dealing with the issue: she has put the baloney for sale.

That's right. In her most recent progress report, thoughtfully posted here, Miami attorney Jane Moscowitz -- picked to head the company in lieu of the now-jailed ex-CEO Richard Altomare -- announced that she is putting up for sale the cause of action that the company is a victim of naked short selling. She has done the same with a default judgment the company won against some brokerages it accused of naked shorting.

I think that this is an excellent idea. I am sure that Overstock.com's delusional CEO Patrick Byrne, who freely spends his trust fund inheritance to promote market conspiracy theories and other nutty causes, will be delighted to buy this litigation for what it is worth to the shareholders of Universal Express.

Byrne has spoken out in the past in defense of Universal Express, saying "mine is just one battle in a larger war, and that others are fighting their own equally worthy ones." So this is an opportunity for him to put that belief into action.

Indeed, since the naked shorting conspiracy types claim that damages run into the billions if not trillions, it is logical to assume that Byrne could spend every penny that his daddy has given him on this worthy cause, and still make a neat profit.

If Byrne shies away from this challenge, I am sure that many others can step up to the plate. It will be interesting to see if the naked shorting nutcases are as crazy as they appear to be, and will plunk down some hard cash on their delusions.

True, Moscowitz cautions that "the Receiver has no ability to judge the value of this potential cause of action or whether it exists at all, but will assign it to the highest bidder if the Court so allows."

Let the bidding commence! Or, to put it another way, "put up or shut up."

UPDATE: Floyd Norris adds:

Before anyone sends in a bid, they might ponder the evidence regarding how Mr. Altomare ran the company, and the fact that despite his pleas of relative poverty, he seems to have told people he had taken over a shell company in Europe and was hoping to make acquisitions. . . .

The Altomares brought money into Universal Express by illegally issuing billions of shares, and then spent it on themselves while stiffing company creditors and even employees, who were persuaded to put company expenses on their personal credit cards. It amazes me that people who lost money in the stock still defend the Altomares.

It is amazing, isn't it? People act strangely after they've been ripped off. I was told by an FBI man once that doors would slam in his face when he approached victims of charlatans.

© 2008 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.

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