The Chipster goes wrong

16 Doubling Road, as envisioned by Dr. Skowron

A reader sends along this link to a recent Bloomberg article on Chip Skowron, former Doubling Road resident who currently resides in federal prison. I’m not sure why Bloomberg chose to resurrect the story – Chip was bundled off to his new digs last January, but it’s an entertaining one, one that I, in my self-appointed and delusional role as wise counselor mention to all my young hedge funders whenever we pass by the house. I don’t actually say, “don’t f’ it up” but these are really smart people and they should be able to figure things out for themselves. On the other hand, Skowron was considered a sharp little monkey and he let greed and a desperate need for social status drag him down to ignominious ruin. So …

Today, Skowron, 43, is serving a five-year term for insider trading at the federal prison at Minersville, Pennsylvania. At FrontPoint, Skowron lied to his bosses and law enforcement authorities, cost more than 35 people their jobs and stooped to slipping envelopes of cash to an accomplice. FrontPoint is gone. Morgan Stanley, which once owned FrontPoint, is seeking more than $65 million from Skowron, whose net worth a year ago was $22 million. Until he’s a free man, his wife of 16 years will have to care for their four children and Rocky, their golden retriever, on her own. [Oh, the humanity! - Ed]

A friend of mine who lost his job at FrontPoint when it collapsed due to Skowron’s crimes tells me that the son of a bitch sat in partnership meetings for two years as rumors of his wrongdoing swirled around him, flat-out lying to their faces, promising them there was no truth behind those rumors whatsoever. FrontPoint was a small company, so lying to just a handful of partners was more personal, more direct, than a general denial issued to, say, the managing directors of a huge bank. That rankled.

My friend’s fine, quickly finding a new place of employment, and Skowron is not, so some justice prevailed, but really, how warped can a guy get just to accumulate a ten-car collection of speedsters and a big Greenwich house? He now has plenty of time to ponder that question. Chump. He should have watched Fargo.

48 Comments

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48 responses to “The Chipster goes wrong

  1. AJ

    What, all speedsters and not a single spyder?

  2. Anonymous

    I always question the “shock” expressed by the wives of these men. It’s all good until the checks stop rolling in. As a friend of mine aptly states, “they (the pretty young things these guys marry) want all of the upside and none of the downside.”

  3. Anonymous

    the reason they wrote it again is the recent inside trading scandal about SAC. SEC is chasing Steve Cohen….. haha

  4. Anonymous

    Plenty of sharp minds and good folks at FP, whose entirely uncorrelated businesses were ruined because of that guy.

  5. Mazama

    “Today, Skowron, 43, is serving a five-year term for insider trading at the federal prison at Minersville, Pennsylvania.”

    Makes it sound like he conducted the insider trading from inside the prison.

    “Until he’s a free man, his wife of 16 years will have to care for their four children and Rocky, their golden retriever, on her own.”

    Didn’t women just overwhelmingly vote for Obama because they want government to be their partner? Maybe she can move in with Julia: How Obama’s ‘Life of Julia’ Prevailed (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324469304578143344246556774.html?mod=rss_opinion_main )

  6. AJ

    Congress Damns Corzine but Lets Him Off the Hook:
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-11-25/congress-damns-corzine-but-lets-him-off-the-hook.html
    If only Skowron had been an Obama bundler and not just a bungler, what a wonderful world it would be.

  7. Anonymous

    I don’t know the Skowrons, but it seems somewhat unfair to belittle her in this situation. It is possible that she, like the partners at Front Point, believed the bs from this guy. Who in his/her right mind would want the downside? I don’t find that unreasonable. Perhaps she’s a harridan, but w/o knowing her I feel sorry for what she’s having to cope with now.

  8. Al Dente

    I could never give my money to someone named Chip. Or Skip. Or Biff. Or Scooter.

  9. Oh Well

    Not so bad for the wife Anonymous at 10:58. She will be taking care of the four kids who all attend private school and the dog who probably has his own dog walker. I am sure she does not clean all ten bathrooms herself either.

  10. My son also lost his job at FP. Correction, Chip brought down more than 100 jobs. And yes, some really good people were there.

  11. Anonymous

    She had money before skip was folding hundi’s into evelopes.
    I sware I saw skip driving his cayenne turbo s about a month ago.
    And yes he does own a spyder, a ferrari f430 spyder
    What a dick.
    He used to brag about flying private to st. Barths in the locker room at sportsplex.
    Him and his Lamborghini gallardo driving boyfriend too
    I used to wonder how a surgeon could fly private and rock a new Italian 2-seater every 6 months.

  12. Anonymous

    when you drive a gallardo, you’re given a leather-embossed douchebag certificate of authenticity by the dealer. it’s true.

  13. Pot Calling Kettle

    Losing count of the number of green-eyed, self-righteous, holier-than-thou, primadonnas posting comments on this site.

    • I rather doubt anyone on this site is jealous of Mr. Skowron, either of his previous wealth, for which he was willing to sacrifice his family, his integrity and his honor to preserve, or his present circumstances. And to criticize someone for betraying his friends and colleagues while breaking the law is “holier-than-thou” only to the extent that those criticizing are just as likely as he to do the same thing. In fact, most people don’t do what Skowron did.

  14. AJ

    Odd, certificates of authenticity usually come with Obama Commerative or Elvis Tribute plates and other Fill-in-the-blank Mint, limited edition, mail order crap or other multi-level marketing treasures from around the world.

  15. Anonymous

    Pot Calling Kettle:

    I would bet many are quietly saying, “There but for the grace went Chip…not me….”

    • Insider trading’s a queer sort of duck – it was standard, quite legal procedure for much of the past century, then suddenly expanded as the result of a Supreme Court decision and its definition has expanded in scope ever since. But trading is, it seems to me as someone who isn’t a trader, based on an inequality of information and so people will always be digging for something they can know and their counterpart won’t. A thin line, perhaps, between legitimate fact-seeking and illegal disclosure of privileged information.
      But all that said, passing $30,000 in cash to a doctor in a Paris airport should have struck even the most obtuse Harvard grad as a violation of the law.

  16. Libertarian Advocate

    Wow, that Lamborghini can do 405 K/ph.

  17. Anonymous

    russian mafia car go fast, da.

  18. Anonymous

    Pot Calling Kettle = former SAC employee

  19. Anonymous

    as for the “consultants,” all those ex-spooks gotta go somewhere and make a living.

    i say that only half-jokingly, because it’s true.

  20. Anonymous

    Chris,
    Whats your record for replies on a single subject?
    A mention of Chip, and suddenly we all knew that guy!
    Remember his Greenwich Mag cover story…
    Healing the world in Africa or something?
    His flight probably made a quick stop in Paris! hahahahaha

  21. Pot Calling Kettle

    “lead us not into temptation…” Isn’t that what all of you sanctimonious bloggers pray for? The hypocrasy of these comments is hilarious, particularly when many are from supposed Wall Streeters, who without doubt have doubt bent the rules on a frequent basis, escaping scrutiny only because such practises are so rife. And as for the rest of the non-finance based blogging jury, stand in another man’s shoes and see what the temptations and pressures may have been before juding so quickly Mr Scoren’s actions. Such condemnation can only come from those that have never resisted temptation of any kind (whether financial or otherwise); and I’d love to know which of you fall into that category……..

  22. Anonymous

    PCK
    How many cats do you own?

  23. oh well

    Pot Calling Kettle – really? Do you live in Greenwich? The number of insider trading/fraudsters in this town who have walked around like they are an asset to us all is ridiculous. Add to that, this guy knew he was violating the law at every turn. While we are not all perfect, I think a good number of us know when not to cross a line. Yes, feel bad for his kids – they are the losers here and no amount of money will help them it was his choice to act unethically, his choice to lie to the government and his choice to deceive.

  24. xyzzy

    PCK:

    Oh please. Temptations and pressures? The guy wasn’t stealing to feed his starving family. He wasn’t making a deal with the devil to save his dying child.

    Reminds me of the comment Blankfein made during the financial crisis when someone complained about how tough the job they were doing was, and he said something along the lines of “You are getting out of Mercedes, not a Higgins boat.”

  25. Catholic School

    PCK it drives me crazy to read spelling errors, pick up a dictionary or spell check, will ya?

  26. AJ

    Pot Calling Kettle’s very sanctimoniousistic rant on sanctimoniousnessism, en direct:

  27. AJ

    Some after the fact advice for Chip, as sung by Sammy Davis Jr. He was Jewish wasn’t he?

  28. Inagua

    “…passing $30,000 in cash to a doctor in a Paris airport should have struck even the most obtuse Harvard grad as a violation of the law.”

    This is a welcome change for you, Chris, as you previously took the position that insider trading was a victimless activity that should not be criminalized. Or did you not previously understand that the vast majority of sources are paid?

  29. The Governor

    Give the guy a break. He’s paying for his crime. Why does it make you all feel better to kick a man (and worse- his family) when he (and they) are already down.

  30. The Governor

    Everyone in Finance plays the game. You get caught, you know the consequences. Interesting to see how the little people of Greenwich have no understanding of the game or the consequences. Sitting in their little houses blogging all day, they can be judge and jury, yet never played the game and never made a mistake. Must be nice to live in a little world like that. When you’ve never played with real cards and lived with real numbers, it must feel great to condemn others who have slipped up. I guess if you cut the head off the man next to you, who’s already on his knees, you’ll feel a lot taller. Seems like we’ve got some small men in Greenwich (and as for the housewife posters on this site, it’s lovely to hear your informed insights into the world of high finance; did you get this perspective from your tennis coach?)

  31. hmmm

    I think sammy davis renounced is judaism on his death bed…so i have heard but never bothered or cared to confirm it…please verify…

  32. Inagua

    Sorry, Chris. I thought you had finally come to realize that cheating is wrong. My bad.

  33. Greenwich Gal

    Well, I did know Ol’ Chip and he fell prey to that old classic – ego, vanity and hubris. He liked to preen and pretend that he was better than everybody else when in fact he was just a common cheat. I too know several families who went down with Frontpoint partners and suffered great financial hardship. I have no sympathy for him at all. His family, yes. His wife just was not bright enough to question the whole charade. I certainly hope he has to return all the ill gotten loot. He should be sued to the ends of the earth by his former partners.
    And furthermore, there are a few honest people still in finance. So, Governor, you are truly wrong, not everybody plays that cheating game. That is like saying everybody cheats on their spouse. Actually not – I guess it just makes the cheater feel better about their actions. Mr. GG is beyond reproach and has a sterling reputation. He creates wealth for his partners, his investors and creates jobs. I suggest you take a course in ethics and revisit the rules of the license under which you work. We may never be in the SAC league but we can sleep at night.
    CF – as for you – I am disappointed in you.

  34. Anonymous

    I like that head chopping comment! Probably read in some fancy book at Choate.
    Anyone with the ability to chop another man’s head off from their knees is flat out talented. Give me some hattori hanzo steel and I will get right on it!
    Govenour sounds like a trust funder
    “I am the greatest bc mommy and daddy told me so when they dropped me off for months at a time at my little school in the woods”
    Hey G-MAN,
    It’s bc in all truth, they couldn’t stand you.

  35. The Governor

    Well Anon, you’re right – I did go to school and get an education. I’m sorry you’re so envious of that. You probably spent much of your childhood learning the art of snow-ploughing [FWIW doesn't translate English spelling to American for misogynist snobs - Ed] in your postage stamp back yard in cos cob; while Greenwich Gal was being groomed to marry a goodie-two shoes little choir boy who would keep her financially secure but sexually unsatisfied (but not to worry, as she kept up her tennis lessons…)

  36. Greenwich Gal

    By the way, Governor, I bet this housewife can beat you in a test of wits any day! (or tennis for that matter)
    Anybody want to take bets?? GG vs The Governor!

  37. Anonymous

    The Gov must’ve been UK-schooled, because no self-respecting ‘Merican would spell snow plowing as “ploughing.”

    “Ploughing” sounds like something one does whilst behind closed doors.

  38. Greenwich Gal

    Hey Gov.!
    My husband is quite the stud muffin – hardly a choir boy – but he takes his fiduciary responsibilities seriously. You take umbrage because he does not cheat like YOU do? Because he makes money the old fashioned way – with his intelligence, gut instincts, hard work and due diligence?
    You are exactly the type of person that gives our once respected business a bad name.
    Can’t wait until you write us from jail! Maybe you and Ol’ Chip can be cell mates and you can ruminate about how everybody does it, right?
    You are truly a fool.

  39. AJ

    And the survey sez: misogynist is the big word used most often by those with small minds.

  40. AJ

    What I think might be apt in this thread is one of my all time favorite lines from Little Ceaser as delivered by Edward G: “You can dish it out, but you just can’t take it”.