Friday, June 12, 2009

Naked Short Selling Crusader Targeted in Criminal Probe

A few months ago I described the legal entanglements of a Canadian stock promoter named Brent Pierce, who was Patrick Byrne's predecessor as leader of the "naked short selling" stock market conspiracy fraudsters. Pierce at the time was targeted in an SEC action.

Word emerged today in an article by David Baines, a Vancouver Sun reporter, that Pierce is even more hot water than we had thought. Apart from being ordered to disgorge $2 million in trading profits, he also faces a criminal investigation.

Baines reported:
[An SEC administrative law] judge noted that Pierce didn't attend [an SEC] hearing in February because, according to his lawyer, he "is the target of a federal criminal investigation involving CellCyte Genetics and was concerned that he might be arrested if his whereabouts became known in the U.S. courthouse in Seattle, where the hearing was held and where the U.S. Attorney's office is located."
The irony is that Pierce is practically Little Lord Faunteroy compared to the slimy Byrne and the sticky-fingered Richard Altomare, another naked shorting crusader who has magically avoided criminal prosecution for his larcenous stewardship of Universal Express. Evidently he lacks the ancestral wealth that has kept Byrne from being nailed by the SEC, and the good fortune that has (except for a short stretch in the pen for contempt) kept Altomare out of prison.

Pierce's firm was the underwriter of an astroturf group called the National Assn. Against Naked Short-Selling. Byrne funded its successor, the National Coaltiion Against Naked Shorting. That has since fizzled out, and there are a few other groups with access to Byrne's wallet that are pushing this phony cause.

© 2009 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.

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