The Blog Of The Securities Industry Professional Association

“SNOOKIE” Proves our Financial Regulatory System is Broke

The Reality star gets same punishment as a CITI broker

Today on Wall Street the last semblance of hope that our economy and our financial system would indeed change went flying out the window with a deafening thud. Bloomberg reported the following:

Former Citigroup Inc. stockbroker Ralph Casbarro, who cooperated with prosecutors, was fined $500 and received no prison sentence or probation for his involvement in a scheme to let day traders eavesdrop on internal conversations over brokers’ “squawk boxes.”

Casbarro, 48, was fined today by U.S. District Judge I. Leo Glasser in Brooklyn, New York. Casbarro pleaded guilty in 2005 to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud. He was fired by Citigroup before being indicted. “I know what I did was wrong without a shadow of a doubt and I’m sorry for it,” Casbarro told the judge. Click here for full story

To put this bluntly, Ralphie boy was taking inside information that one of the largest firms on the street had not yet made public and was giving to others so they could trade one side of the market against the information before it hit the wires. On Wall Street a simple downgrade by a firm like Citi is enough to make a stock drop 25% in a matter of minutes, that is why the information can be crucial and that is why there are laws, and rules and things like “ Chinese Walls” that every registered person in the country knows about. The damage to investors who did not have this information and lost share value is in incalculable. To make matters worse he was sharing the information for a cash bribe which clearly shows he knew the value of the inside information. His punishment for defrauding the American investor and pleading guilty to Securities fraud was a measly $500.00 That’s not a misprint folks, $500 bucks.

The reason for this lenient sentence according to the government was that he cooperated with the authorities. What other options did he have at his disposal then to cooperate? Sure he was also bared from the industry but at this point and time brokers and advisors are leaving the industry in droves. One prominent analyst on Wall Street predicts that 80,000 jobs on the street will be eliminated by years end so this clown may have been on his way out anyway. The message this sends to the wire house brokers is that if you pull a scam, the worst thing you will have to face is finding a new job but if you can pocket a couple hundred thousand dollars before then its worth all the risk.

Let’s put this $500 penalty and no jail time into perspective. “Snooki” of some MTV reality show is best known for her foul mouth, over the top hairdo and an IQ that most likely had her taking the “short bus” to school each day as she learned some trade involving hairdressing or cosmetics. Snooki was sentenced just across the river in a New Jersey courtroom for ‘disturbing the peace:

Calling her a “Lindsay Lohan wannabe,” a judge sentenced “Jersey Shore” star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi to two days of community and slapped her with a $500 fine stemming from her July 30 arrest. Snooki — who had been the first to be charged this year with violating a 13-year-old local law regulating obnoxious beach bums — was in a Seaside Heights, NJ, courtroom when Judge Damien Murray imposed the sentence after prosecutors and defense lawyers worked out a plea deal behind closed doors

The full story courtesy of the NY Post is here.Click Here In fact, the judge in this case made her pay $33.00 in court costs making the total $533.00!! Has the world gone mad or is this a sure sign the apocalypse is upon us? She pleads guilty of creating a public nuisance and gets the same fine as a Big Firm broker who was taking cash bribes for inside information on his company’s research reports. Once again the disparity between the large firm broker and the small firm broker is front and center. Had this been a small firm broker he would be in jail and fined 250k.

The message sent to Wall Streets elite firms is that if you commit securities fraud you may have to use your debit card to pay the fine and do not worry about jail time as long as you sing like a canary after your caught. Poor ‘Snooki” apparently takes her Italian heritage seriously and decided not to betray her family on Jersey Shore. Too bad she didn’t have info on Joey taking steroids to get better abs. The best part is the judge in the case lambasting Snookie. Read the quote and you will be wondering if this should apply to her or to the guy who was taking bribes for inside information:

Murray then laced into Snooki and called her actions “rude and self-indulgent” — after calling her “a Lindsay Lohan wannabe in this matter.”

“It’s not the way you want to lead your life,” he added.

Right you are Judge. Its also not the way we should run our Financial System.

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September 8th, 2010



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