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Financial Serial Killers: Inside the World of Wall Street Money Hustlers, Swindlers, and Con Men Hardcover – July 28, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ajamie, a top securities lawyer, and Kelly, news editor for Investment News, team up to recount true tales of financial frauds throughout history, which make for addictive if depressing reading. Ajamie's expertise in commercial litigation gives the reader an inside look at the complex strategies financial advisers, insurance agents, and even family members employ to fleece hapless individuals, focusing on the false emotional bonds con artists create with their victims in order to take advantage of them. For those who can wade through occasionally disjointed prose with some very jarring changes in tone, there are valuable lessons for readers who want to protect themselves from being swindled. In the wake of the Madoff scandal and the financial excesses that led to the recession of the past two years, this book will appeal to many readers angered by the financial services industry, the failures of the regulatory authorities, and rogue advisers.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Tom Ajamie is one of the top trial lawyers in the United States and has a long track record of successfully suing financial criminals both domestically and internationally. He has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars—including the largest stock arbitration award in U.S. history, $429 million—from fraudulent individuals, corporations and organized criminal organizations. Ajamie has provided insight and analysis on corporate and financial crimes for leading media outlets, including ABC, CNN, CNBC, NPR, the BBC, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Forbes, Financial Times, BusinessWeek, and Newsweek. He lives is Houston, Texas.  

Bruce Kelly is the news editor for InvestmentNews, the leading trade publication for the investment advice business. An award winning journalist, Kelly writes about Wall Street, securities regulation, brokerage firms, and fraud, and was covering the collapse of Ponzi schemes and damage to investors more than a year before Bernie Madoff admitted his $65 billion fraud in December 2008. He lives in New York City, New York.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing (July 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616080310
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616080310
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 6.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,441,939 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Named one of the top lawyers in the United States, Tom Ajamie has successfully represented clients in complex commercial litigation and arbitration matters for more than 20 years. His work includes groundbreaking securities and financial cases, international cross-border litigation, business contract disputes and employment issues. He has traveled the world extensively working on legal matters in countries as diverse as China, Thailand, Indonesia, Switzerland, France, England, Mexico, Bolivia, Argentina and Venezuela. Mr. Ajamie has handled a number of high-profile cases, including representing companies, pension funds and shareholders seeking to recover losses in stock fraud cases, and corporations and officers and directors being sued in securities matters.

Mr. Ajamie has been recognized by numerous legal publications and directories, and was recently honored as one of the nation's 500 leading lawyers by Lawdragon, as well as that publication's "100 Lawyers You Need to Know in Securities Litigation." Mr. Ajamie has been named one of Houston's Top Lawyers (H Texas magazine), and has been selected by Texas Super Lawyers as one of the top attorneys in Texas for four years running. The Martindale-Hubbell law directory, which ranks the legal ability of lawyers, gave Mr. Ajamie an AV rating. He is also a life member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, whose membership is limited to attorneys who have won multi-million dollar verdicts, awards and settlements - less than 1% of U.S. attorneys.

In August 2010, Mr. Ajamie and his co-author, InvestmentNews editor Bruce Kelly, released Financial Serial Killers: Inside the World of Wall Street Money Hustlers, Swindlers, and Con Men, a fascinating look at financial fraudsters, their schemes, and their victims. He has appeared on major television and radio news outlets, including ABC, CNN, CNBC, NPR and BBC, and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, American Lawyer, InvestmentNews, Bloomberg, Forbes, Financial Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek and Texas Lawyer, among others. His work on behalf of investors in the Bre-X gold scandal is featured in the book Fools' Gold: the Making of a Global Market Fraud, by Brian Hutchinson.

The Ajamie Foundation was created by Mr. Ajamie as a way of promoting tolerance and equality among our youth. The foundation offers scholarships to students who display respect and support diversity initiatives in our society, without regard to race, religion, creed, skin color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, disability or sexual orientation. The foundation currently finances student scholarships at Arizona State University.

In addition to his charitable work, Mr. Ajamie is a Patron Council Premier Benefactor of the Sundance Institute, a non-profit organization that supports independent films and theater programs.

Mr. Ajamie is the founder and managing partner of Ajamie LLP in Houston, Texas.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Art on August 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is entertaining and on target. I especially liked the part about Belfort (whose book has been on my "to read" shelf for several years) and the penny stock houses. They are SO bad! I had a neighbor once, an intelligent guy who was a teacher and who spent two hours every morning practicing classical piano, who called me in a panic over what he was being pushed to do by a broker at First Jersey Securities. I calmed him down and convinced him not to borrow money to add to his account but he lost what he had already deposited in the account.

In any case, this book is especially helpful to civilian investors. I liked the chapter that began on p 199 that advised keeping assets separate from one's advisor. Too bad the Madoff investors didn't get that message. Too bad the NASD examiners didn't understand that concept.

This is "must" reading for every athlete, lottery winner and entertainer who makes a lot of money and doesn't know what to do with it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By james l. rothenberg on August 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Finaancial Serial Killers is particularly valuable to investors.This book is unique because it not only describes the various scams but also how to avoid them. Literally millions of dollars of losses can be avoided easily if certain basic precautions are taken. Messrs. Ajamie and Kelly have done a major public service in attempting to protect life savings particularly for seniors who cannot replace with earnings their hard earned monies.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dianna Sabo on October 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Tom Ajamie and Bruce Kelly have done the world a great service by writing a book about the white collar thieves they call "financial serial killers." I just finished this book, and could not put it down because the stories are amazing about how white collar criminals work their 'prey' and even when they are caught, the penalties are nothing compared to the crime. The book mixes the stories of real life criminals, the clients, and the senseless lack of oversight on the part of our federal and state agencies. Toward the end of the book, there are resources for checking out your financial investment advisers, brokers, and others. There is also a section on the types of investments that pose the least risk for this type of crime.

I came away with the knowledge that white collar criminals are brilliant, I can easily fall for a scam just like Madoff's clients, and I'd better arm myself with as much data on anyone who might be handling my money and investments.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By jack on September 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent and practial advice for protecting your money. Interesting, real-life cases bring the lessons and advice to life. Financial Serial Killers is functional not only for personal investment protection, but also to guide adults with aging parents' investments.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bayview on October 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The book mostly tell the fraud cases from the experience of the author (a trial lawyer). So most examples of con art covered in the book are outright criminal cases of fraud and theft, commited mostly by financial advisers and brokers. The cases about insurance agents pushing unnecessary products and a Prudencial financial adviser making reckless trades in client's account are exceptions, they are legal but harmful and devastating.

However, the book does not have much coverage of the "legal" and more sophisticated con art performed on Wall Street, mostly from a financial product perspective. Types like manipulation of earnings and deceit by company management, questionable or aggressive accounting, hype of stocks, sectors and productions from Wall Street houses, financial gurus and media (think .com), manias, false advertisement of financial products (include severe tracking errors of many ETFs invented in recent years). Blatant money printing (QE), debasing the U.S. currency, keep interest rate at 0 by the Federal Reserve, thus fanning inflation, forcing all investors to take reckless risks to reach for any "yield" would fall into the financial engineering con art category as well.

The book covered "pump and dump". But those cases are committed by small time criminals on penny stocks or non existent companies. There is also "pump and dump" committed by major Wall Street houses on big companies, whole sectors, even the whole market, exemplified by the media and aided by the government policies and the Federal Reserve.

Investors are more likely to fall victims of these large scale and "in the open" tactics on Wall Street than the outright criminal activities covered in the book.
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