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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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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.
Top customer reviews
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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.
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. I am somewhat disappointed the book has very limited coverage of the "hustlers and swindlers" of the former kind. Hence the 3 stars.
Nonetheless, the book offers many real life lessons. If you learn just one from the book, the book is well worth the time and money.
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.