Judd Bagley is the Vice President of Marketing at Everise. Prior to his position at Everise, Judd worked as Senior Director of Communications at Netki, Evernym, InsideSales.com and also served as the former Director of Communications at Overstock.com. Prior to that, as Director of Public Relations for Summit Group Communications, one of the largest PR firms in the state of Utah. Bagley studied biology at the University of Utah.
It’s been a long time since the financial press has cast a skeptical eye on Overstock.com and its CEO, Patrick Byrne, Yet there are multiple reasons to do so. Five thousand to be exact. So I’ve dusted off my blog for an update on my favorite fraudulent stock.
As in all soap operas, its continuing story line is not new: Byrne wants the stock to go up. The stock has a history of manipulation, mainly through cooking the books, resulting in multiple restatements. But it takes an expert to sniff out accounting irregularities. All you need to detect the latest Overstock scam is a working pair of eyes and an Internet connection.
In a scathing decision released on May 6, a Vancouver court found Byrne and his “Deep Capture” fake news venture had fabricated lurid accusations of criminal conduct against a Vancouver businessman named Aly Nazerali. The damage award consists mainly of punitive and aggravated damages, and the judge found that the conduct of Byrne and his minions was so egregious that he slapped a permanent injunction on the defendants.
I’ve written about Byrne quite a bit in the past because he was the very worst of Corporate America, from his bizarre stock-market conspiracy theories to his well-documented accounting games, which he countered by vicious personal attacks on critics and the media. He is a kind of small-bore Donald Trump, a “born on third base who thinks he hit a triple” kind of guy. Byrne lies so frequently and with such gusto that it’s hard to say if he can distinguish fact from fiction. He is on indefinite leave from Overstock because of a Hepatitis C infection, a disease ordinarily caused by intravenous drug use—or, if you believe him, a wound sewn up by “barefoot doctor in China.”
Patrick Byrne has a new conspiracy theory to explain why his corporate crime petri dish Overstock.com is under investigation by the SEC. Seems that short sellers, in addition to having a fax machine at CNBC, also have a hotline to the SEC, in which they bark out orders to start investigations against innocent CEOs like Byrne.
Byrne made that comment on Fox Business News, where he is trotted out as an “internet retailing expert,” no doubt because of the skill at which he has eased Overstock into negative shareholder equity. He was brought out this time for a ritual denunciation of new bank compensation rules.
In other words, Dendreon is not like the third-rate Internet retailer Overstock.com (NASDAQ:OSTK), whose wack-a-doo CEO Patrick Byrne has been weaving wild conspiracy theories over naked short selling for years, ever since it dawned on him that he simply does not know how to run a company. His talents, to the extent he has any, lie elsewhere (standup comedy?), but he has never eked out a profit for his company. His recent announcement of tiny fourth quarter profits was achieved by accounting gimmickry.
Judd Bagley: There is some evidence suggesting the federal government is spending tens of billions of dollars to deal with the accumulation of failed trades caused by illegal naked short selling. If that’s true, we’re probably screwed.
Apparently hedge funds like Kynikos, and SAC, have a secret for their outsize performance.
Racketeering, and illegal frontrunning, if my read is correct.
That’s the only conclusion one can draw from the stunningly simple and obvious analysis of email records that Judd Bagley, over at the Deepcapture site, has compiled.
You have Jim Chanos, who is all over the airwaves as the advocate and public face of the hedge fund world, who argues against any and all regulation or oversight for hedge funds or short sellers, apparently actively frontrunning information illegally obtained from stock analysts, who eagerly shared their analysis and spreadsheets with him in advance of publishing negative smear pieces subsequently shown by time to have been nothing more than hatchet jobs.
Portfolio Magazine cited by DeepCapture, 31 December 2008
For over 10 years Gary Weiss (once a reporter with BusinessWeek, and recently, a columnist with Forbes) has been posting under fake names to confuse, distort, and hijack Usenet groups, stock message boards, and Wikipedia, using social media to prevent the public from understanding criminal activity.
I now turn to Gary Weiss. Last year one of the most prominent journalists on Wall Street warned me, “I’ve known Weiss for years. Be careful. He’s a psychopath.” As you will see, he was neither joking nor exaggerating. I think, however, that Gary is better described as a “Scaramouch.”
A couple of months ago I described how Overstock.com’s terminally wacky CEO Patrick Byrne has thrown caution (and any lingering sanity) to the winds and was openly sponsoring attacks on journalists and other critics, on a smear site that he owned and was operated on Overstock servers, “Deep Capture.”
This was a change from Byrne’s previous tactic of claiming that smears and attacks were by people who just coincidentally happened to be his employees. The word for this is “astroturfing,” and it is a particularly sleazy method of concealing corporate (and sometimes government) involvement in dirty tricks campaigns.