Saturday, May 03, 2008

Baloney Brigade Commander Reports for Duty

Mr. Altomare's new residence

Richard A. Altomare, ex-CEO of Universal Express and sergeant-at-arms of the Baloney Brigade stock market conspiracy nutcases, has found a new and very appropriate home.

A U.S. Bureau of Prisons database confirms various message board posts indicating that Altomare, who was found in civil contempt by a federal court judge some time ago, has been incarcerated at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York.

Altomare, whose exploits I chronicled in Wall Street vs. America, blithely looted his company while screaming about a non-existent naked short-selling conspiracy. He was since booted from his position by the SEC and replaced at the helm of the naked shorting conspiracy juggernaut by Patrick Byrne, the equally delusional CEO of

Altomare's last-ditch effort to avoid incarceration failed on Thursday, and now he must enjoy the federal facilities until he coughs up $1.7 million in ill-gotten gains. His incarceration commenced yesterday and will continue until he purges himself of contempt.

I get a sense from reading the judge's order that he has lost patience with Altomare's antics, so he had better cough up the dough. Meanwhile I trust he is getting accustomed to his new prison cell. In the photo at left he is shown describing its general dimensions, which are slightly larger than a honeydew melon.

Like Byrne, Altomare liked to swath the fraudulent naked shorting campaign in a patina of respectability, in Altomare's case by conning the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to appoint him to head three committees. Floyd Norris later reported that the Chamber was stiffed by Altomare, along with a bunch of other people and companies that were dumb enough to do business with him.

To borrow an expression from David Einhorn's recent book, Altomare and Byrne have found that you can con some of the people (the Chamber, certain congressmen, and the dumber shareholders of their companies) all of the time. Amazingly, some Universal Express shareholders still believe Altomare's swill.

Altomare is not going to enjoy the spartan conditions at the MCC, I assure you. Security is ultra-tight, the routine rigid. But I must admit that the accommodations are very much what he deserves.

© 2008 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.

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