Tag Archives: Fairfield Greenwich Group

Did you get a letter from Irving? You’re in trouble

The Daily Beast reports that Madoff friends and family members withdrew $735 million from Madoff Investments in the 90 days before the Ponzi fellow confessed all, leading that trustee, Irving Picard, to suspect that Bernie wasn’t the only person who knew about the fraud. So he’s sent out claw back letters to those active customers.

The timing of those withdrawals prompted Irving Picard, the bankruptcy trustee, to send “clawback letters” in mid-April to 223 people among the more than 8,000 investors who had accounts with Madoff. What this shows is that the bankruptcy trustee is not randomly trying to recover money from every Madoff investor—he’s looking for people who may be culpable.

“If you were a close relative of Bernie or Ruth, you got a letter,” said David Sheehan, who is a leader of Picard’s legal team at Baker, Hostetler.

In an exclusive joint interview with The Daily Beast, Sheehan and Picard explained that the clawback letters asked for a return of the cash and an explanation of why the withdrawals occurred. “People who got the letter are in one way or another” related to people somehow linked to Madoff’s investment advisory service, said Sheehan.

The rapid pace of withdrawals in the three months prior to Madoff’s arrest Dec. 11, 2008, “raised our level of concern that the monies were paid purposefully,” said Sheehan.

Well yes, I guess it would. Then, for Walter fans, there’s this:

Picard and Sheehan also said they expect to file more lawsuits this week seeking recovery of hundreds of millions of dollars from some of the major money managers who had billions of dollars invested with Madoff. The bankruptcy trustee is clearly not buying the argument that the money managers are victims, too.

Among those in Picard’s sights, but not yet sued: the Fairfield Greenwich group, which lost $7.5 billion with Madoff; Tremont Group Holdings, which dropped more than $3 billion; and Maxam Capital, a $280 million loser.

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Thank goodness that the library offers free ineternet access

So we can continue to hear from Walter Noel after he and Monica remove themselves from the Round Hill cottage and move to a cardboard box in Baldwin Park. News today that thea Madoff trustee has sued a second feeder fund, former GMAC Chairman Ezra Merkin, for $558 million in fees he took out when he “knew or should have known” that Bernie was a fraud. At the rate of one feeder fund every other day, I’d expect Walter and the Fairfield Greenwich Group to be teed up Monday or Wednesday, depending on whether that Rye firm (Trenton? How quickly we forget) goes first.

As trustee, Mr. Picard can sue investors for any money withdrawn from Mr. Madoff’s firm “in bad faith,” including if they knew or should have known Mr. Madoff was engaged in fraud. Mr. Picard is relying on records he collected from the Madoff firm going back to 1995 and, for now, will be able to seek funds withdrawn only in that period.

Mr. Picard, an attorney with Baker & Hostetler LLP, is expected to sue more feeder funds, said lawyers involved in the Madoff bankruptcy case. But even if he wins in court, Mr. Picard may have trouble collecting much of what he is seeking. That’s because most of the money has already been distributed to the funds’ clients [unless, like Walt, you were pulling out $270 million a year for yourself - Ed].  If those clients had no inkling there was fraud, Mr. Picard won’t be able to touch funds they withdrew from their accounts, those lawyers said.

In his first suit alleging bad-faith withdrawals, Mr. Picard targeted the assets of another individual who ran a feeder fund, Stanley Chais. The suit seeks the return of $1 billion that Mr. Chais and his family withdrew from Mr. Madoff’s firm since 1995. Mr. Chais allegedly “knew or should have known” of the fraud because his family’s personal investment accounts with Mr. Madoff averaged annual returns of 40%, in some cases reaping 300% in one year, according to the complaint.

Mr. Merkin’s investments differ from those of Mr. Chais. The returns for Mr. Merkin’s funds averaged 11% to 16% annually. And, unlike Mr. Chais, Mr. Merkin didn’t have personal accounts with Mr. Madoff’s firm. Instead, Mr. Merkin collected a management fee.

In Thursday’s lawsuit against Mr. Merkin, Mr. Picard said that as a sophisticated fund manager, Mr. Merkin should have noticed the myriad warning signs that could have indicated Mr. Madoff was engaged in fraud. Among the clues: Purported trades made by Mr. Madoff, which were listed in account statements sent to Mr. Merkin, could never have taken place, a fact that Mr. Merkin could easily have detected, the suit alleges.

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Hop on that pony and get the hell out of Dodge, Walt

Madoff Trustee sues the west coast equivalent of Greenwich Fairfield Group, Chais, claiming he knew or should have known earnings were bogus. More suits against feeder funds coming, he promises. Wonder if he’ll sue the feeder fund that made the most money of them all?

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Walter, we hardly knew you

guestofaguest.com

guestofaguest.com

Reader Sambone sends this link to Bloomberg – the suit against Walter Noel and Fairfield Greenwich Group has been amended to include fraud as a cause of action. Judgments awarded for fraud can’t be discharged in bankruptcy, among other bad things.

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I blew it!

So much for relying on the on-line docket for the Superior Court which showed no scheduled hearing yesterday for the Madoff/Noel asset lien. I forgot that these matters appear on the “write-on” calender and don’t necessarily show up on the other docket – hey, it’s been 15 years or so since I stopped litigating in court and switched to arbitrating cases down at the NYSE – so sue me.

In any event, the intrepid reporters at The New York Post weren’t fooled, or else they have a better line in with David Golub, and they knew enough to be in Bridgeport yesterday, damn them. Here’s the story

Yesterday, a state judge ordered the defendants, including Madoff’s brother Peter and the owners of some of the hedge funds that steered clients to Madoff, to put up the collateral in exchange for lifting an asset freeze that prevented the accused from selling their property.

It was the first asset freeze for the Madoff “feeder funds,” which have long maintained that they, too, were scammed by the Ponzi schemer. The concessions don’t acknowledge any role in the scam.

Bridgeport, Conn., Superior Court Judge Arthur Hiller ordered Walter Noel, co-founder of hedge fund Fairfield Greenwich, to put up $10 million secured by his family’s home in Greenwich, Conn., according to David Golub, the town’s lawyer.

Peter Madoff was ordered to put up $2.5 million secured by his mansion in Old Westbury, LI, while Sandra Manzke, founder of hedge fund Maxam Capital, is putting up the same amount, using a Vermont property. Noel partner Jeffrey Tucker is offering $2 million in cash or property.

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co.’s Tremont Group unit is putting up $2.5 million cash in escrow, Golub said.

“What the town did today is get a priority on specified assets” in case it wins its pending lawsuit, Golub said yesterday. “The issue in these cases is . . . are you going to be able to collect at the end of the day because everyone’s going after the same people?

“Half the world” is going after firms like Fairfield Greenwich, which suffered $7 billion in losses to Madoff, Golub said.

I don’t want to disturb Mr. Golub’s coffee dreams but Walt’s house on Round hill, while nice enough, won’t come close to selling for $10 million. $3.5 in a forced sale, maybe $4.5 if the market improves. But there’s always Mustique.

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Back to Mustique, Walt – hurry!

The Noels prepare to travel (Photo GuestofaGuest.com)

The Noels prepare to travel (Photo GuestofaGuest.com)

Massachusetts regulators charge Fairfield Greenwich Group with fraud. This is a civil complaint by the Securities Division and not the sort of thing that will directly cause certain principals to join Bernie in Ossining, but the hell just continues, and where civil authorities smell fraud, can criminal charges be far behind? I’d ask where our own stalwart Greenwich AG Blumenthal is but, as always, he’s lurking on the sidelines, ready to dash out and snatch the baton once his work is done for him. Besides, he’s a friend and neighbor of Walt’s and probably doesn’t want to return his campaign contributions.

April 1 (Bloomberg) — Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin accused Fairfield Greenwich Group of fraud in misrepresenting to Massachusetts investors its lack of knowledge of the operation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities.

The administrative complaint filed by Galvin in Boston seeks restitution to Massachusetts investors for losses and reimbursement for performance fees paid to Fairfield by those investors. It also seeks an administrative fine.

“Investment advisers have a fiduciary responsibility to their clients under law,” Galvin said in the statement. “The allegations against Fairfield in this complaint outline a total disregard for such responsibility, which helped the Madoff scheme stay afloat for so long.”

Fairfield founder Walter Noel admitted in testimony to the securities division that Fairfield was not involved in anything “but turning money over to” Madoff, according to Galvin’s statement.

Executives Coached

Galvin said Madoff coached Fairfield executives on how to respond to questions from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission who were looking into concerns of fraud by Harry Markopolos, a former money manager, who has told Congress he tried to persuade the agency for nine years that Madoff was a fraud.

Fairfield executives “were blinded by the fees they were earning, did not engage in meaningful due diligence and turned a blind eye to any fact that would have burst their lucrative bubble,” according to Galvin’s complaint.

Earlier this week a Connecticut judge froze the assets of Fairfield Greenwich Group and other so-called feeder funds that steered investors to Madoff, along with those of Madoff’s family members, a lawyer said.

 

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Oh dear, someone doesn’t like you, Walt!

Bloget has in interesting bit of email correspondence from an anonymous source who has mean things to say about Walter Noeland everyone else at Fairfield Greenwich Group. Sigh – can’t we all just get along?

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Judge freezes Noel assets

Attorney David Golub, representing the town of Fairfield as it seeks to recover the millions it lost with Madoff feeder fund Maxam of Darien (yes, the fund that was run by a women to “empower women and minorities” turned out to have sunk every penny entrusted to it with Bernie – it closed the day Bernie was arrested), has persuaded a judge to grant a temporary restraining order freezing all the Madoff players’ assets until a full hearing on April 13th.

The restraining order granted by the judge is a “who’s who” of players in the Madoff scandal: Madoff, his wife Ruth, brother Peter, and son-in-law Andres Piedrahita; sons Andrew and Mark Madoff and Walter M. Noel Jr., a partner in the Fairfield Greenwich Group, all of whom live in Greenwich; Sandra L. Manzke, the founder of Maxam Capital; Robert I. Schulman, the former chairman of Tremont Group Holdings; and Jeffrey H. Tucker, the co-founder of the Fairfield Greenwich Group.


 

The restraining order prevents not only the sale of any real estate owned by any of the defendants, but also extends to all accounts at any financial institution and all personal property. That includes, but is not limited to, stock certificates or certificated securities and “any other assets in any of the defendants’ possession, custody or control,” according to court documents. 

The motion, filed by David Golub, a lawyer hired by the town for the Madoff case, states there is probable cause the town’s pension programs could receive a $75 million judgment and seeks to secure that sum by attaching Andrew Madoff’s home at 57 Tomac Ave., Mark Madoff’s home at 21 Cherry Valley Road, and Noel’s at 175 Round Hill Road home, all in Greenwich, as well as garnish all of the defendants’ accounts at financial institutions.”There is a reasonable likelihood that the defendants Andrew H. Madoff, Mark D. Madoff and Walter M. Noel Jr. are about to remove themselves or their property from this state, or are about to fraudulently dispose of or have fraudulently disposed of their property, with intent to hinder, delay or defraud their creditors,” the motion states.

I think highly of David Golub and I wish him luck in chasing down everyone who profited from Bernie Madoff’s fraud but in this instance, I don’t see how he reaches the Noel’s property. The town didn’t have any direct dealings with FGG, at least none are reported in the article, so it’s stuck with the rather weak argument that FGG and its partners were an integral part of the fraud and made it all possible. Maybe so, but freezing assets on so tenuous a claim seems a bit dubious. Still Connecticut’s judges, perhaps harkening back to the days when they passed out these ex parte orders like candy bars, still grant them with far more alacrity than judges in other states, and God bless them: it makes suing people so much more fun. And notice,by the way, that the judge granted the full $75 million invested. Fairfield invested $22 million, watched it “grow” to a phony $41 million and still got a $75 million attachment, no doubt to cover Goleb’s fees. I do like judges who protect litigators!
Bernie Madoff is unlikely to contest this order on April 13th – why should he care? – but Walt’s lawyers, Andres’ and Mark and Andy Madoff’s should all be in Bridgeport Superior Court that day. I may go up myself just to watch the fun.

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The WSJ chats with Walt’s son in law

Andres Piedrahita sits down with a Journal reporter and denies knowing anything. He sold, got rich, and never questioned a thing. Smart guy, just like Corina’s dad.

After graduating from B.U., Mr. Piedrahita knocked around New York working variously as a commodities broker, selling penny stocks and as an investment adviser. His budding financial career was almost clipped in the early 1980s. At the time, Mr. Piedrahita, who was working for a small commodities dealer then called Balfour Maclaine, got a number of his father’s Bogota friends interested in investments that quickly went south. Many of his investors “stayed quiet and lost their money with dignity,” says one of the investors. “They valued their friendship with the father over their investment.” 

But one investor didn’t. He says he asked Mr. Piedrahita frequently for information on how his investment was doing. Mr. Piedrahita avoided the issue, even claiming on one visit to Bogota from New York that he had forgotten to bring along the client’s accounts. Growing suspicious, the client says he hopped a plane to Manhattan, went to Mr. Piedrahita’s office and confronted his boss, asking for the information Mr. Piedrahita had avoided providing. “It was catastrophic,” the client says, remembering the state of his account.

Bottom line: Mr. Piedrahita lost his job, says the client, who recovered all his money. Mr. Piedrahita says eight clients lost a total of about $600,000. “Everybody has some bounces,” he says. “I sold something that turned out to be bad. I sold it with the best intentions, and it didn’t work. That’s the nature of commodities.” He disputes the client’s claim that he was fired from Balfour. “Not true,” he says. “I moved to Prudential Bache.”

Here’s an intriguing bit of history:

Friends say Mr. Piedrahita settled down after his marriage to Ms. Noel. He merged Littlestone with Fairfield Greenwich in 1997. Shortly after, he moved to London to a mansion on Chester Square. In Madrid, where he moved in 2003, Mr. Piedrahita’s lifestyle became even grander. He commuted between Madrid and London on a private Gulfstream jet which was parked at a military base close to Madrid. He was invited to a costume party at a Russian estate where everyone dressed up as czarist-era aristocrats. He went hunting for pheasants with the cream of Spanish society.

Relatives of Piedrahita have told me that he “had to leave Greenwich” and then “had to” flee London. Why? So far, no one’s talking.

But here’s the bottom line. The man was dirt poor, living above a delicatessen in New York, and sold penny stocks. No one sells penny stocks who isn’t a crook because, by their very nature, those securities are solely vehicles for fraud and price manipulation. So a poor, penniless crook meets up with Walter Noel, starts peddling Madoff “investments” and within a few years is flying around in Gulfstream II jets and hunting with the aristocracy. When crooks get rich, I suspect the worst, but Piedrahita denies everything:

“I look at myself in the morning, and I’m very proud of what I have done, and so are my partners,” says Mr. Piedrahita. Then he adds, referring to the Madoff scam: “Nobody knew anything about anything.”

Somehow, I think litigation and criminal investigations will eventually prove otherwise.

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Feds target Andy and Mark’s homes

No mention of their Greenwich homes but the feds are looking for at least $31 million from the boys, an amount loaned to them by papa to buy houses in NYC and Nantucket. Cherry Valley and Tomac Avenue next?

 

And, bye the bye, spoke with someone today who knows the Noel family quite well. Walter does not have Alzheimer’s, according to this source. Of interest is that the son in law, Andres Piedrahita, was long rumored within the family to be laundering money for his Colombian friends. He “was forced to leave Greenwich” in 1997, fled to England where something else happened to cause him to pull up stakes and flee again, this time to Spain. Anyone have details on these sudden departures?

Walter, this person says, is a harmless straight arrow, known to say such harsh things as “golly gee, Monica” when perturbed. You can believe it or not, but this story is that the guy was on the straight and narrow until son-in-law Andres insisted, based on the money he was pulling into the fund, on being made a partner at Fairfield Greenwich Group. It was downhill from there. Andres, not from wealth originally, suddenly had Bentleys, jets and mansions. Of course, Walter didn’t seem to be doing so badly either, until December 12th.

Update: as I was writing this, Guest of a Guest was sending me a link to its own article on Andres’ father. Not a nice guy, apparently.

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At 78, Walter won’t live to see the end of this

Reader Horse Hockey sends a Citifile link: yet another class action suit against Walter, his son in law Andres, partner Jeff Tucker and, of course, Fairfield Greenwich Group. No mention of Monica or the Fabulous Five though, and that must be a relief.

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Bernie’s off to the big sleep, feds turn their attention to Ruth, Walt and the gang

Ruth Madoff is probably in line for a criminal indictment, according to The Daily Beast, while Walter Noel may get off with just a civil suit brought by the SEC.

But watch out for money laundering charges in Britain, Walt.

A source close to the Madoff defense team agreed that Madoff’s main concern was to preserve as much assets as possible for his wife and children and to keep them from legal entanglements. “The US attorney’s office is still trying to resolve what is tainted or clean money, what real property in the US is appropriate for the Madofffs to keep,” the source said.

That may prove difficult. Sources say new information has surfaced that suggests several members of Madoff’s inner circle transferred assets to their wives, transactions thought to be laundered through an English bank.

Ruth Madoff, who was considered “innocent at first,” according to this source, is believed to have received at least $70 million from her husband and is now therefore an object of the investigation. That is one reason why she recently decided to retain her own lawyer, leaving Ira Sorkin, who has represented both of the Madoffs since December, when the Ponzi scheme was revealed.

Investigators are focusing their attention on three groups of possible co-conspirators. “There should be at least 20 indictments, between the three groups, if the feds are doing their jobs,” said one highly placed lawyer involved in the case. “Some will be conspiracy, the ones who were deep into it with Madoff, and others will be civil cases sent to the SEC for prosecution.”

(Lawyers and prosecutors who spoke to The Daily Beast for this article declined to go on the record, citing their legal involvement in the case.)

In the first group are employees of Madoff’s firm who concocted false trades and sent out phony statements to thousands of unsuspecting clients.

The second group is comprised of principals in feeder funds such as Cohmad Securities Corp. and Fairfield Greenwich Group, which funneled investor dollars to Madoff and received large fees for steering this business. If they were aware of Madoff’s fraud, they could face criminal charges; if they were not, they could be hit with civil charges for a lack of due diligence.

“It’s a question of state of mind,” said a lawyer for a Madoff employee. “If the feeder fund principals like Walter Noel of Fairfield Greenwich or Robert Jaffee of Cohmad didn’t ask Madoff any questions, if they simply turned the money over to a Madoff account without doing the work they were supposed to do to make sure their clients were well-protected, they would be guilty of fiduciary violations, which is a civil matter. But if they knew about the Ponzi scheme, if they had the intention to deceive, that is a felony.”

One attorney close to the defense team of Walter Noel, who is reported to have offshore bank accounts, says the belief is that Noel could be indicted in England on money laundering charges.

UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal reports on the status of investigations of Madoff’s in-house conspirators, including Ruth and brother Peter. Nothing earth shattering there, yet.

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If I were you, Walt, I’d stay in Mustique

Turns out that Bernie Madoff didn’t trade a single security in thirteen years.

  • Madoff’s operation was enormous, taking in 2,350 clients.
  • For at least 13 years, no securities at all were purchased on behalf of those clients. That means that every single transaction recorded, every cent of gain was simply made up out of thin air.

This may be bad news for Ol’ Bernie but it has to be even worse news for Walter and his Fairfield Greenwich Group. It’s arguable, I suppose, that their due diligence couldn’t be expected to uncover the fact that Madoff’s “auditor” was a retired old coot who split his time between a Florida trailer home and a strip mall in upstate New York – hey, how much expertise do you need to track a measly $50 billion? – but no trades in 13 years? You never tried to match a single one of them, did you Walt? Back when I hunted wicked stock brokers I used a very creative guy named Tom Benson to reconstruct trading activity in my clients’ accounts. Tom was wizard (he’s since moved from Naples but in his time he probably ran into Walt and Bernie at Palm Beach) who could usually generate a report, accurate to within a penny, in 3-5 days, max. Now, he was expensive – maybe as much as $5,000, but we were talking big money in those days, as much  as $1 million. Walter only had to worry about $7.5 billion and why would he spend a dime investigating how that was doing when (a) he was dealing with the Bernard Madoff and (b) he was skimming $270 million a year off the top, a tidy little profit that would screech to a halt if trouble were found at Madoff headquarters. No, there was no need to ever look at the accounts.

And you know, Walt’s friends in Greenwich still today insist that he’s just a wonderful, warm-hearted guy. I’m sure he is.

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I’m trying to give you a break, Walt, really I am.

But the news just keeps coming. Today Caroline Waxler, lamentedly late of Blodget’s electronic rag and now with Fortune, reports on Fairfield Greenwich Group’s use of low-scrutiny auditors to keep investors fat, dumb and happy.

When Madoff whistleblower Harry Markopolos testified before Congress today, he blasted the Securities and Exchange Commission, gave gripping testimony about his nine-year quest to reveal Bernard Madoff’s alleged $50 billion scheme, and predicted that more of Madoff’s web would be uncovered soon. But one of his most damaging accusations was about the auditing practices of Madoff’s biggest feeder fund, Fairfield Greenwich Group.

Markopolos is the Cassandra-like investigator who tried in vain to get the SEC to pay attention to what he was saying about Bernard Madoff. Few people paid attention, even though he laid the whole thing out with uncanny accuracy over the years. Now people are listening. And buried in his prepared remarks to the House Financial Services subcommittee are telling and potentially damaging accusations – page 20 on the original document – about Fairfield Greenwich and its accounting of its accounting, specifically its choice of auditors and the frequency with which it switched them, which has the appearances of “auditor shopping.”

[In] 2004, Fairfield Greenwich appeared to embark on a three-year auditing shopping spree, according to Markopolos, in which it first entrusted its auditing needs to Berkow, Schecter & Co. of Stamford, Conn. According to its site today, the firm is remarkably small to be handling multibillion-dollar accounting jobs: two partners, four accountants, two paraprofessionals, and two secretarial and support staff. In size, the firm is reminiscent of Madoff’s accounting firm, situated in a strip mall.

Next up for 2005 was PricewaterhouseCoopers in the Netherlands. Then in 2006 it was still PricewaterhouseCoopers, but in Canada. This apparent auditor shopping is not an encouraging sign.

What could possibly be the purpose for this kind of hop-scotching? What customer service was performed?

“To change your auditor like that is highly unusual,” says Pornsit Jiraporn, assistant professor of finance at Pennsylvania State University, who co-wrote the 2004 study, “Causes and Consequences of Audit Shopping.” “Sometimes there is a legitimate reason for switching once, but this is very suspicious.”

Read the whole thing – fascinating. Walt, yesterday I tried diverting attention from you to Bruce McMahan and his daughter/wife, but that can only hold the crowd’s attention for so long. But I was thinking, maybe your Fabulous Girls, Andy and Mark Madoff and McMahan’s daughter could all start a tee shirt company picturing a picture of all three of you financial wizards and the slogan, “I got screwed by my Dad!”. Sure to be a best seller – in fact, put me down for a dozen.

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Can Fairfield Greenwich last as long?

Rye’s Tremont Group is closing up and will have dumped all workers by June. Both Tremont and FGG gave half their assets to Bernie Madoff to steal – the difference is that Tremont only had $6 billion total, so lost only $3 billion, while Walter Noel blew $7.5 billion. Same thing, but I’d think the larger size of Walter’s loss will bring him down way before June. Watch for those yard sale signs on Round Hill Road!

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We’re going with Chuck Murphy on Round Hill Road

Questions have arisen over the identity of Charles Murphy of 202 Round Hill Road. Is he the same failed investment banker who tied his cart to the dung-spewing horse that was Fairfield Greenwich Group? The same fellow the New York Times called “Richard Murphy” , who is attempting to unload his $35 million Manhattan townhouse? Yes, yes and yes. A reader who knows identifies “Chuckie” as that madcap adventurer from St. Anthony Hall at Columbia, a guy who went on to run “with a very fast crowd in Europe. FGG would have been a perfect fit for Chuckie.” Asked if this was the same Chuck on Round Hill Road our correspondent replied, ” I hit the FGG website early on and that is indeed our dear arrogant ‘friend’. And yes, he resides at 202 RHR – at least when he is not avoiding servers.”

So all that works for me. Wouldn’t it be fun to see both 202 and 175 Round Hill Road come on the market at fire sale prices simultaneously? It would drive the neighbors crazy. Talk about an instant evaporation of wealth.

St. Anthony, by the way, was blessed many years ago by a resident alcoholic genius named Peyton M. He’d long since dropped out of Columbia but stayed on in a windowless room in the fraternity’s basement where, I was told, one need only come up with a bottle of vodka to gain in return a guaranteed “A” term paper, any subject, any length, in 24 hours. This brilliant man must have saved 1,000 careers. I do hope he somehow found a way to save his own life.

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New York Times fires fact checker, Pinch to handle all such petty details from now on.

Yesterday’s NYT article about the Fairfield Greenwich Group hot shot who was being forced to consider selling his $35 million Manhattan townhouse called him “Richard Murphy”. An alert reader of this blog corrected them – it’s Charles Murphy, of 202 Round Hill Road, a neighbor of Walter Noel himself. I checked the FGG propaganda sheet and sure enough, there’s Charlie. Another Harvard Law graduate. I’m astonished. [update: a reader says there are two Charles Murphys and the one on Round Hill didn't work for FGG - hmm]

As an aside, I see from the bird’s eye view linked to above that Charles lives next door to Casey Jones, head of William Pitt Stamford. The Jones house was up for sale years ago and I remember finding it ironic that the head of a real estate firm could so over-price his house. I don’t think it ever did sell; perhaps we have discovered Mad Monkey’s true identity!

Update: I stand corrected. Like the NYT, I can get facts wrong, but at least I do check them. Charles Murphy doesn’t live next to Casey Jones, he bought Casey’s house (in 2006 – how long before our tax records reflect that?). But my memory about its price was accurate. Jones listed it for $7.250 million in April, 2004 and 616 days later sold it for 69% of that sum, an even $5 million. It’s still probably worth $4.25 today so FGG creditors, take notice. Here’s its picture, in case the process server can’t find the place:

202 Round Hill Road

202 Round Hill Road

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Shark sighting – swim, Monica, swim!

A class action bucket shop has issued a press release (treated as a real news article by the Stamford Advocate but that’s what you’re reduced to when you fire all your reporters) announcing an “investigation” into the affairs of Walter Noel and other feeder funds. Walt’s got plenty on his plate to worry about despite winning in court today, and this press release is really nothing but an attempt to dig up clients so that they really can sue him and start ruining his life, but these kind of parasites will eventually bleed him out. I can’t, but his friends may want to start feeling sorry for him.

Keller Rohrback L.L.P. (www.krclassaction.com) today announced that it is investigating the actions of MassMutual’s Tremont Group Holdings, Inc. (“Tremont”); Rye Investment Management; Oppenheimer Funds; Fairfield Greenwich Advisors (“Fairfield”); Access International Advisors; and Maxam Capital Management, on behalf of investors who lost millions in the long-running Ponzi scheme at Bernard Madoff Investment Securities (“Madoff”).

Keller Rohrback’s investigation concerns the legal rights of investors who suffered a loss by entrusting their money to various holding companies and investment funds, such as Tremont’s Rye Select Broad Market Fund (the “Rye Fund”), Fairfield’s Sentry Fund;

Dig that website address – Class with a capital K. And how about the “news” that “the investigation concerns the legal rights of investors who suffered a loss….” that means they’ve assigned a couple of first year associates to blow the dust off their securities law textbooks and start writing memoranda of law suitable for the intelligence and understanding of a doddering senior partner who will have, I promise you, a set of gleaming false white teeth and a very, very expensive suit. I don’t know why, they just do. Always.

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Walter keeps his house!

A judge refused today to freeze Noel assets, buying their argument that they’re Madoff victims too. Wow. In the good old days, we lawyers in Connecticut could initiate a suit by freezing a defendant’s assets. Such fun, and so effective in coercing an early settlement but sadly, a tad unconstitutional (lawyers from out of state were astonished by the process) and eventually, our Supreme Court knocked it out. Took all the fun out of suing, darn it.

So what will Noel’s creditors do next? I don’t know, but David Boise Boies will probably figure out something.

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Madoff Trustee to take years for refunds

Between locating assets and fighting intra-investor lawsuits, Madoff’s court-appointed trustee estimates it will be at least five years before Bernie’s remaining assets are distributed to his victims. I doubrt the process will be any quicker for recovering money from all the other potential targets, but if I’d lost money with, say, Fairfield Greenwich Group, I’d start suing Walter and his family now, before they fritter away the funds. And don’t forget to try to attach that jet the Madoff boys are using. Those things depreciate, you know.

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