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mike novogratz crypto industry

The Tale of Crypto Talking Head Mike Novogratz

mike novogratz galaxy digital

For those not aware, Michael Novogratz, the famed crypto industry ‘pioneer’ and crypto evangelist is a former Goldman Sachs ‘global macro wunderkind’ who then did a stint at asset management firm Fortress Investments, which cratered during his watch, turned into a bitcoin evangelist and became the “bitcoin billionaire” brains behind “crypto investment firm” Galaxy Digital. He has a long history of making big bets with other people’s money. Unfortunately, his gambles have often turned into snake-eyes when the dice stopped rolling.

But that’s OK, his personal investment accounts weren’t exposed to the slaughter that was wreaked on Fortess’s institutional investors when his misguided bets on Brazil currency back in 2014 turned into sour coffee grinds. The losses on bets he made or oversaw devastated Fortess, yet the firm managed to extricate its stakeholders through an IPO, enabling Fortress executives to cash out with tens of millions of dollars each.  

“At Fortress troubles first surfaced in the macro funds run by Novogratz, a man known for his glitzy lifestyle, complete with a Tribeca duplex once owned by Robert De Niro and a flamboyant wardrobe featuring diamond-studded belts and cowboy boots.”

He quit Fortress to start a firm to invest his own wealth. He kept investigating bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, becoming more serious about the investments.

Over time, Mr. Novogratz came to see them as a “really cool new technology” that was likely better capable of storing value amid rising inflation than alternatives, he said at a recent conference. Soon, he was a true convert, buying $10 million of bitcoin and another cryptocurrency called ether partly because he sensed a lack of trust in global currencies, he said.  See https://www.wsj.com/articles/mike-novogratzs-crypto-comeback-faces-a-trial-by-fire-11654315211

mike novogratz luna

During the past five years, Novogratz has become the poster child for crypto and bitcoin, “talking his book” at every opportunity, and helping to lead thousands of blind mice investors to pump up the price of bitcoin and to plow hundreds of millions of dollars into his firm Galaxy Digital (OTCMKTS: BRPHF) so that he could “invest for them”—while reaping fees that would make most people’s eyes pop out.

Throughout the unprecedented bubble building in crypto “currencies”, Novogratz and many other evangelists/promoters including Jack Dorsey, Elon Musk, Michael Saylor, Disney film star Brock Pierce, the Winklevoss twins, investing genius and former Donald Trump PR trumpeter Anthony Scaramucci, Internet Billionaire and Game Show Host Mark Cuban among so many others, have proclaimed that Bitcoin, Ether, Tether, and many others represent “a store of value”, “a hedge against inflation”, “a safe haven when traditional financial assets (stocks, bonds, sovereign currencies) suffer from global economic and geopolitical turmoil.” All the crypto evangelists, and in particular, famed hedge fund manager Ray Dalio, proclaim that Bitcoin and other so-called currencies represent the “digital version of gold“; which many global investors believe to be a useful hedging tool that should be part of every portfolio.

So let’s take a measure. Since January of 2022, the US equities markets (as measured by S&P 500 index, DJIA, as well as markets in many other advanced countries have suffered generational losses in share prices. The declines of 25% in value in equity prices are thanks to an inflationary spiral caused by supply-chain challenges brought on by Covid 19, monetary policies that created historic government hand-outs in an effort to stem the impact of Covid-19, along with a global geopolitical crisis thanks to Russia invading Ukraine, and a sober reaction to over-inflated enterprise valuations and hysterical stock market speculation. The combination of these events has almost no comparison when looking back five decades.

Yes, stock markets are cyclical and suffer bear markets and crashes; some short-lived, others longer-lasting. The global benchmark S&P 500 is off 24% from its Dec 2021 all-time high; the German Stock Market Index has shaved 20% from its high, and the Shanghai Stock Index is off 10%. Gold, the universal hedge against both geopolitical crisis and inflation, is up a scant 1% YTD. Bitcoin, the proclaimed “hedge against all of the above-noted crisis events” has plunged 69% from its stratospheric all-time high.

As of June 18 2022, Bitcoin has lost more than 60% of its “value” on a YTD basis.

Among other investments, Mike Novogratz, via Galaxy, was a big backer of Terra Luna–a platform based on Tether, the digital asset platform that was co-founded by another crypto genius, former child-actor Brock Pierce. He’s a self-proclaimed billionaire too–and many refer to him as the “Prince of Puerto Rico” in view of the real estate he has acquired and the influence he has over the swarm of crypto ‘entrepreneurs’ who have taken over much of that island.

Like Novogratz, Pierce is an active investor in a broad swath of crypto initiatives and start-ups, one of which is a phony funny, yet apparently, a fraudulent firm calling itself Seaquake.io, for which Pierce is identified as an advisor. It is also a criminal enterprise that MarketsMuse has profiled for the past two years, and its founder Andrew Katz, is now purportedly a fugitive from justice.

brock pierce investments
https://www.marketsmuse.com/founder-ceo-of-crypto-trading-firm-seaquake-io-andrew-katz-convicted-in-new-york-now-a-fugitive/

Let’s not forget that investments made by Galaxy included Novogratz and his partners receiving ‘tokens’ issued by the companies they invested in that were priced at pennies. Those tokens were no different than penny-priced ‘warrants’ given to underwriters of traditional IPO offerings.

After pumping the news of those investments, those tokens turned into ‘real money’ for the promoters—who cashed out into the frenzy and bought mansions and boats; reminiscent of the antics made famous by the infamous  Jordan Belfort’s firm Stratton Oakmont—the underwriter for the 1993 IPO of shoe company started by Steve Madden.

[Belfort and Madden were then convicted of securities fraud and both went to jail. Flash forward to 2021, Jordan Belfort repurposed himself into a crypto evangelist and is minting millions by ‘advising’ people on how and what crypto deals to invest in.]

February 2021– Novogratz Sees Bitcoin at $100k 

Bloomberg Technology- Michael Novogratz, a long time proponent of cryptocurrencies through his firm Galaxy Digital Holdings Ltd., said Bitcoin and other digital coins have become “an institutional asset class” and banks are “frantically” trying to get in on the action.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2021-03-04/mike-novogratz-says-bitcoin-will-hit-100k-by-end-of-year-video

https://coinfomania.com/novogratz-says-crypto-is-closer-to-bottom/

Mar 31 2022 In Midst of Crypto Sell-Off, Novogratz Says “I’m More Constructive about the market than I was previously..” Michael Novogratz, the billionaire cryptocurrency investor who leads Galaxy Digital Holdings Ltd., said that while he still expects a volatile year, he has become more “constructive” about digital-asset markets than he was earlier. 

“It wouldn’t surprise me to see crypto significantly higher by the end of the year,” Novogratz said during Galaxy’s earnings conference call on Thursday. “Given the adoption cycle I’m seeing, given the way markets trade, and how I see new people wanting to get in, the innovation we’re seeing in web3 and the metaverse space, I’ve gotten more constructive than I was at the beginning of the year.” 

No surprise then that soon thereafter, while talking up bitcoin investing and predicting meteoric price rises, he was selling stakes that his firm Galaxy Digital held in various “cryptocurrencies”.  Nice.  

May 9 2022 CEO Michael Novogratz highlighted weakness across crypto and equity markets during Galaxy’s earnings call Monday, though said he isn’t “panicked by any stretch.” He added that his recent investor meetings point to growing adoption, and noted that “crypto as a tech play” is gaining momentum.

“Volatility will continue,” according to Mike Novogratz, although he said he expects bitcoin to hold around the $30,000 level and ether to stick around the $2,000 level.

Source: https://www.coindesk.com/business/2022/05/09/galaxy-digital-records-q1-loss-of-1117m-amid-crypto-losses/

June 5 2022 Novogratz Says “Bitcoin Won’t Break $20k” speaking at the Morgan Stanley Financials Conference, the billionaire investor, known for always sharing his opinions on events surrounding the asset class, showcased his bullish stance on cryptocurrencies. 

Novogratz said he is confident that bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) would not crash below $20,000 and $1,000, respectively.

The crypto proponent stated that the two leading cryptocurrencies would hold strongly at those levels while noting that the benchmark of S&P 500 (.SPX) has dropped more than 20% from its record high earlier in January, and the stock market might plummet further to 15% to 20%.

June 15 2022 “Crypto Crisis Evokes 1998 Hedge Fund Crash that Crippled Market”

That’s what Mike Novogratz, CEO of top crypto investment firm Galaxy Digital, told CNBC Wednesday (June 15), referring to the 1998 collapse of a large and highly leveraged hedge fund that sent shockwaves so large through the economy that the U.S. government was forced to intervene and broker a $3.6 billion bailout.

June 18 2022  BTC sold down to $18,500.00

Our Editorial Team begs to ask the question, “Aside from making mediocre investment managers become multi-millionaires and billionaires, along with similar exponential gains in net worth for tens of hundreds (and upwards of many thousands of “innovators” and “disruptors”), what product or service, or what actual efficiency has been created for any industry that would justify the outsized gains in net worth afforded to a relatively few?” Contact Us to provide a rebuttal.

andrew-katz-crypto-firm-seaquake-

Founder / CEO of “Crypto Trading Firm Seaquake.io” Andrew Katz Convicted in New York; Now a Fugitive

FEBRUARY 15 2022: ANDREW ROSS KATZ AKA ROSS KATZ WAS CONVICTED OF ASSAULT CHARGE IN NYC on Feb 7; FLEES AND FOREGOES $200K BAIL BOND; FUGITIVE WARRANT FOR ARREST ISSUED IN NEW YORK; KATZ NOW BELIEVED TO BE SENDING DEATH THREATS TO WITNESSES; CONSIDERED TO BE ARMED AND DANGEROUS

In a continuation of a bizarre story that MarketsMuse has been monitoring for more than two years, Andrew Ross Katz, the founder, and CEO of so-called digital asset/crypto trading firm Seaquake.io is now a fugitive after failing to appear for a series of court dates in New York Criminal Court and since being convicted on Feb 7 2020 of assault charges that were first brought in November 2020.

Court: New York Criminal Court
Case # CR-020482-20NY
(PUBLIC RECORDS EXPUNGED)

Arrest Date & Time: November 5 2020 09:30 Arrest #:M20629660 
andrew-katz-seaquake-felony-assault-charge-new-yhork
New York Criminal Court File CR-020482-20NY

According to confidential sources, the ADA prosecuting the case had been warned at the early stages of the criminal proceedings of Katz’s extensive criminal background in multiple states, and that the ADA had been lobbied to request the court to deny bail, as the defendant should have been considered a flight risk. Katz’s criminal arrest record extends over many years in cities that include his hometown of Arvada, CO, Los Angeles, New York, and Miami. Katz’s most recent arrest apparently took place in late 2021 in Miami, during the same time a cryptocurrency convention was being held in that town.

As to the charge of Aggravated Harassment, according to multiple sources, this particular charge is consistent with a behavior pattern that Katz has perpetrated repeatedly over the past years against various people (unrelated to the current charges). No less than four individuals who have had ‘run-ins’ with Katz, including former landlords, relatives, and aggrieved investors have each independently contacted MarketMuse to share respective incidences in which Katz has tormented them with physical threats via voice message and text messages sent by ‘burner phones’, as well as defamatory messages that Katz has posted on social media platforms, all in effort to intimidate these individuals in retribution for legitimate complaints they had made against him in various jurisdictions.

Editors note: Fugitive Katz’s ‘aberrant behavior’ seems to extend back to his adolescence, according to public court filings. While in his teens, he was dispatched by his parents to a Utah-based ‘educational facility operated by “World Wide Association of Specialty Programs” that, according to public records, “is in the business of serving desperate parents of troubled youths and specializes in improving the students’ aberrant social behavior..” Per link above, fugitive Katz and Alyson Katz (Andrew Katz’s mother) were members of a class-action lawsuit brought against “WWSPS”. (That suit was dismissed in 2011).

andrew-katz-seaquake-felony
Crypo Firm Co-Founder Andrew Ross Katz aka Ross Katz aka Stark Katz

According to informed sources, soon after his disappearance last week, Katz has purportedly commenced a series of death threats against a separate individual (and immediate family members), who is a victim of financial fraud that Katz and partner, Matthew J. Krueger of San Francisco are alleged to have committed back in 2019. It is believed the [purported] death threats that came from Katz (“purportedly, yet with high probability”, according to law enforcement officers familiar with the matter), are part and parcel to a lengthy history of intimidation tactics that Katz has exacted in retribution on those have filed charges against him.

andrew-katz-matthew-krueger-seaquake-investor-fraud
Seaquake’s Matthew Krueger (l), Fugitive Andrew R. Katz (r)

To the amazement of those interviewed and familiar with the apparent criminal activities of Katz, Krueger, and associated entities, the individuals’ profiles, and respective current Seaquake.io executive roles remain displayed and promoted on LinkedIn (e.g. Andrew Katz, Founder & CEOMatthew Krueger, “Partner & CFO” and the company’s website, which continues to publish “updates” that suggest the firm offers a range of “crypto trading and fintech applications and services to the cryptocurrency industry”. That website also displays a number of crypto industry investment firms that have purportedly made investments in Seaquake.

Most recent updates to that website suggest that funds managed by Crypto Industry Pioneer Brock Pierce‘s Percival Ventures, along with those from Blockchain Founders Fund, whose senior principal is Aly Madhavji, are investors in Seaquake. Both Pierce (a 2020 presidential candidate) and Madhavji are displayed as Advisors to the company on the Seaquake website. Sources have told MarketsMuse that Madhavji has denied having any connections to Seaquake, yet neither of these individuals or members of their firms has responded to outreaches by MarketsMuse for them to confirm or deny the information displayed on the Seaquake.io website.

$DWAC-SPAC-Trump

$DWAC, The SPAC on Crack

Digital World Acquisition Corp (NASDAQ:DWAC) Blank Check Company aka SPAC Proposes to Merge With Trump Blank-Deck Company. Will SEC Investigate?

When “E.F. Hutton Talks”, Will SEC Chairman Gensler Read the SEC and FINRA Rules Prohibiting SPAC Sponsors from engaging with acquisition targets prior to listing??

Just when we thought that MarketsMuse coverage of Donald Trump’s financial shenanigans had taken a breather, this past week’s announcement by SPAC sponsor Digital World Acquisition Corp (NASDAQ:DWAC) rocked the stock market and created a rocket-fueled run-up in its share price after the ‘blank check’ company created in December 2020 by Florida-based Patrick Orlando, a former Deutsche Bank derivatives trader turned SPAC promoter would be merging with Florida-based Trump Media & Technology Group (aka TMTG), a blank slate “social media enterprise” with no operating history and established by the former President two months after the formation of “DWAC” (in February 2021).

The Meme of the Week. When the announcement made by the DWAC sponsors and the Trump entity TMTG hit the tapes after the close of trading Wednesday, Oct 20, the following morning, the share price of the Digital World Acquisition Corp, which became publicly listed on NASDAQ six weeks prior, soared from $10 to $75 within a matter of a few hours, and was the second most actively traded stock in America. On Friday, the shares, which cannot be borrowed for shorting other than by broker-dealers, traded as high as $175 before closing at $90 (with the last sale of $80 in Friday’s after-hour trading session).

scaramucci-dwac-spac-trump

If the DWAC SPAC shareholders approve of the merger, and if the SEC does not raise a red flag, Trump Media & Technology Group will receive $293 million in cash that Digital World Acquisition Corp has in trust. 

So, we now have the next classic example of a “meme stock” (aka “Me-Me”) driven by so-called Reddit Bandits and tens of thousands of retail traders entering buy orders to drive up the price, believing they would force ‘hedge funds’ who might have been shorting the stock to pay even higher prices to cover their positions.  It’s a new take on the old-style “short-squeeze pump and dump.” 

Read about our coverage of Crypto-Kid Con Artists Andrew Katz and Matthew Krueger. The Saga continues. After being charged with felony assault in New York last year, Seaquake CEO Katz is said to be a “no-show” after failing to appear for Jan 20 2022 sentencing hearing at Manhattan Criminal Court. NOW A Fugitive/CLICK HERE/ for the story.

OK, a slug of buyers who swamped Fidelity, Robinhood, TD Ameritrade, and other brokers are also MAGA cap wearers and anti-vaxxers who will give Trump every last penny of their unemployment checks or social security checks to keep Trump’s hate-filled and anarchy-riddled beliefs front of stage, and to the point of breaking down the doors of the nation’s capitol building.

Here’s the joke: 8 out of 9 of the largest holders of DWAC include the industry’s biggest hedge funds, whose plain-vanilla strategy is to buy SPACs at the initial offering as a means to deploy cash that is not being used by the fund, and with the upside chance the investment will make a profit. Alternatively, stakeholders can redeem or ‘put back’ their holdings to the company at their original cost and get their full investment back after a merger announcement is made. Think of it is as a money market fund that has a “knock-in provision”.

The other largest holder is Arc Global Investments and owns the right to acquire approximately 20% of the authorized shares, which is controlled by none other than Patrick Orlando. Albeit, unlike the nearly 80% of shares acquired by the hedge funds, Arc’s shares have a restriction that prohibits selling those shares for an extended period of time. At least 2 of the 8 hedge funds (SABA Capital and Lighthouse Investors) were owners of several million shares each, and they made tens of millions of dollars inside of two days by unloading their shares to the retail investors, many of whom paid between 500%-1700% more for the shares from the prior day’s price. 

The punchline to the joke: The two funds that acknowledged selling to witless retail investors as the stock was skyrocketing did so because they wanted nothing to do owning a company that might eventually enable a Trump-fueled media enterprise initiative.

Fool Me Once, Shame on You. Fool Me Twice Shame on Me. In addition to the Reddit bandits and followers of Wall Street Bets who bought into the shares of the black-check company that proposes to merge with a still non-existent operating business (other than in name only), hordes of die-hard Donald Trump fans and followers with accounts at Fidelity, Robinhood and TD Ameritrade were believed to have purchased “millions of shares” in the past two days and, according to nearly every professional trader and investment manager in the world, “they paid prices that defied any scintilla of logic; proving that the extent of their education must have been a diploma they received from Trump University.”

Click Here for another MarketsMuse most-read feature stories

EF Hutton is the underwriter for Digital World Acquisition Corp? Adding yet another comedic twist to the story, aside from rumors that Hollywood producer and former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has purportedly secured the film rights to, so that he can do a remake of the 1949 film classic and Academy Award-winning “All the Kings Men” (which ended with the assassination of corrupt politician Willy Stark by one of his cronies (to put the feature photo of this post into context), the underwriter for Digital World Acquisition Corp, was formerly known as Kingsmark Capital*, and is now going by the name EF Hutton, the once legendary stock brokerage that was best known for its tag line, “When EF Hutton talks, people listen!”

$DWAC-SPAC-Trump

*Kingsmark’s brief history includes underwriting “micro-cap” stocks and SPACs, and acquired the EF Hutton name from the estate of the heirs to the original EF Hutton.

A PIPE Offering is Next? Because Trump spokesperson Liz Harrington stated that “TMGT is worth $1.8 billion” (@realLizUSA­), this would infer that Digital Media Acquisition Corp would need to do a follow-on sale of shares, presumably via a PIPE offering, to raise an additional $1.5 billion in cash that would meet the valuation that Trump believes his non-operating company is worth. Per link above, a PIPE is a private investment in a public equity.

Based on Friday’s closing price, the SPAC company would need, at very least, to nearly double the amount of shares outstanding from 28 million shares to 40 million shares, and to sell those newly-created shares during the “de-SPACing process (which is unlikely to occur for at least another 2-3 months) at Friday’s closing price of $90 via the PIPE offering.

Yes, the total volume on Friday exceeded 130 million shares, and Wall Street syndicate desks managers suggested any secondary sale (2-3 months from now) could be done with no market impact if trade volumes remain the same and the price remains elevated, yet it would also dilute the existing shareholders by nearly 50%.

To the above, one trader suggested “the odds of the DWAC share price remaining at the current exorbitant price level are about equal to the chances the SPAC will be de-listed after an SEC investigation is started; a50-50 probability for either outcome.”

Why should the SEC Investigate? Will Coincidence Kill the Golden Goose and Lead to a De-listing of DWAC?

Some things for Gary Gensler to Consider Before More Retail Investors Get Completely Burned Buying this “SPAC”.

SPACs cannot identify acquisition targets prior to the closing of the IPO. If the SPAC had a specific target under consideration at the time of the IPO, detailed information regarding the target IPO registration statement, potentially including the target’s, would be required to be included in the financial statements

Under the SEC’s rules, a SPAC may not identify a specific target company prior to the closing of its IPO, and the SEC requires the SPAC to disclose in its prospectus that the SPAC does not have any specific target company under consideration, and that neither the SPAC, nor anyone acting on behalf of the SPAC, has engaged in any substantive discussions with a potential target company. In fact, if a non-binding LOI is entered into before the SPAC’s IPO, the SEC may even suggest that it is the target company that should conduct an IPO, not the SPAC, which would defeat the entire purpose of using a SPAC as an investment vehicle and an alternative to a traditional IPO for the target company.

DWAC’s Prospectus states:  “We have not selected any specific business combination target and we have not, nor has anyone on our behalf, initiated any substantive discussions, directly or indirectly, with any business combination target.”

Suspicious Behavior? DWAC listed on NASDAQ on September 3; the merger announcement came less than six weeks later. Typically, it takes many months for a SPAC sponsor to research and perform due diligence on many companies before they bring a proposal to SPAC holders.

SPAC Sponsor and CEO of DWAC Patrick Orlando is a “good friend of Donald Trump”.  Orlando resides within a stone’s throw of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago country club and has since acknowledged to the New York Times that he is a “long-time friend of Donald Trump and speaks with him often.”

Collusion or Coincidence? So, is it just a coincidence that Orlando started and completed his due diligence inside of five weeks after the SPAC listed? Or, has there been a major violation of securities regulations, and is the offering prospectus nothing more than toilet paper?

Rule #1: Deny. Deny. Deny. To the above, a Trump spokesperson, speaking off the record (of course!) has since told at least two sources that “Mr. Trump never heard of Patrick Orlando and never communicated with him until weeks after the Digital Acquisition was listed on NASDAQ.”

Really?! At very least, Orlando has already publicly stated that he has been friends with Trump for a number of years and communicates with him ‘frequently’.?

Roma Daravi, a former Trump administration communications executive and the ‘media relations’ representative for TMTG was not available for comment, even if Liz Harrington did comment via Twitter.

Let’s play this back again; DWAC listed on NASDAQ on September 3. Five weeks later they announced proposed merger with Trump’s shell company, TMGT. In the history of SPAC offerings, DWAC has broken the land speed record for listing and then announcing a merger. Their ability to canvass opportunities, perform due diligence on various merger candidates, reach a conclusion, and then execute a merger agreement, all within 5 weeks from the date of listing the SPAC would seem implausible at best, and statistically impossible at worst when considering the average time for this process is 4-6 months.

Let’s try a different angle: The CFO for DWAC is 83 year old Brazilian national Luis Orleans-Braganza. Mr. Orleans-Braganza is a businessman and currently a self-acclaimed “right wing” member of Brazil’s National Congress. Sources say that he has been “a guest at Mar-a-Lago on several occasions” during the past two years.

How About this part of the DWAC Offering Prospectus?

Patrick Orlando’s DWAC Prospectus States “We will identify and complete business combinations with “market-leading companies”. This is identical to the boilerplate verbiage in every SPAC offering document, yet counter-intuitive to the merger announcement if Digital World’s strategy is to identify and complete business combinations with technology-focused, market-leading companies.  For more information, please visit www.dwacspac.com

BUT, TMTG has NO operating business, which would be a cause of concern for the institutional and individual investors who put money into this SPAC based on Patrick Orlando’s representations. TMTG has NO employees of record (other than Trump) and their pitch deck, which appeared on the entity’s website at the same time as the merger news hit the tape, reads as if it was written on a blank whiteboard:

Among other things, the Trump pitch deck, which, unlike any other startup pitch deck, fails to identify any management or key employees that will be executing the business strategy, yet it states: “The group plans to offer alternative media to challenge the traditional social networks like FacebookYouTube and Twitter via a social network called “Truth Social.” One of the slides states “…..envisions to eventually compete against Amazon.com’s AWS cloud service and Google Cloud.”

Other slides suggest “a social network (“Truth Social”) is set for a beta launch next month, and full rollout in the first quarter of 2022, is the first of three stages in the company’s plans, followed by a subscription video-on-demand service called TMTG+ that will feature entertainment, news and podcasts.”

So, we have a blank check company merging with a blank-deck company that is parsing jargon from an array of presentation decks that anyone can download on the internet.  

CAVEAT (EMPTOR): Mr. Orlando’s FINRA record is clean (so far) of any misdeeds. The fact that he worked at Deutsche Bank, the only bank that would extend credit to Trump, is likely a mere coincidence.

As of press time, MarketsMuse has not determined whether any DWAC officers, including CEO Patrick Orlando, spoke with or visited with Mr. Trump at Mar-a-Lago or any place else during the two months in which both Trump Media and DWAC were incorporated. We have yet to obtain evidence as to whether members of Orlando’s team communicated with Trump prior to the SPAC listing.

To the above, given Trump’s penchant for “hiding the potato” and withholding evidence, unless the SEC engages the FBI to trace any and all phone, email and/or burner phone txt communications between the interested parties, Gensler’s enforcement agents who are already overwhelmed with tens of dozens of cases, could face a challenge in their attempt to prove that Orlando and Trump discussed and negotiated a business transaction with DWAC prior to the SPAC listing.

Rudy Guiliani to Defend Trump in any securities litigation? Maybe. Then again, if Trump enlists his favorite lawyer to defend him, despite the fact the former prosecutor and former New York mayor was disbarred from practicing law in in New York (and the District of Columbia), he can still appear in a federal court, which is where any SEC prosecution, as well as any securities class action lawsuits brought by investors, would likely be filed. Sounds like a scene from HBO’s “Succession”.

Boondoggle for Class Action Securities Lawyers: This will create a boondoggle for plaintiff lawyers who specialize in class action litigation on behalf of investors that have lost money buying (and or selling) securities of companies that have blatantly run afoul of securities regulations, including disclosure requirements. Investors residing in New York, Florida, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, and other states should click here for a listing of class action securities attorneys in your state.

securities litigation attorneys DWAC SPAC

Lighthouse Investment Partners shed its holdings in Digital World Acquisition after learning of the deal with Trump’s venture, the fund told CNBC. Lighthouse had owned 3.2 million shares, or 11.2% of the special purpose acquisition company, which trades on NASDAQ, according to a Sept. 30 regulatory filing. 

Saba had owned a 9.3% stake in the SPAC, or 2.4 million shares, according to a Sept. 3 filing.

Other institutional owners that represent the remaining 80% of shares owned in DWAC include Highbridge Capital Management (2 million shares); D.E. Shaw & Co (2,425,000 shares); K2 Principal Fund (1,175,000 shares); ATW SPAC Management LLC (2,425,000 shares); Boothbay Fund Management (2,425,000 shares); Radcliffe Capital Management LP (2,425,000 shares). As of press time, these funds have not yet published updates as to whether they continue to maintain or have liquidated holdings in Digital World Acquisitions Corp.

If you’ve got a hot insider tip, a bright idea, or if you’d like to get visibility for your brand through MarketsMuse via subliminal content marketing, advertorial, blatant shout-out, spotlight article, news release etc., please reach out to our Senior Editor via cmo@marketsmuse.com

andrew-katz-seaquake-ny-criminal-court-felony-assault

Founder of Crypto Trading Firm “Seaquake” Andrew Katz Returns to NY Criminal Court to face Felony Assault Charge; UPDATE: CONVICTED AND FLEES: NOW WANTED BY NYPD

andrew-katz-seaquake-felony
Crypto Firm Co-Founder Andrew Ross Katz aka Ross Katz aka Stark Katz

Andrew Katz aka Ross Katz aka Stark Katz, the co-founder of so-called digital asset infrastructure and crypto-currency trading firm Seaquake.io, who along with his partner Matthew J. Krueger of San Francisco are facing investor fraud charges, is now slated to return to New York Criminal Court July 14 to answer to one count of felony assault, one count of grand larceny and one count of aggravated harassment.

Court: New York Criminal Court
Case # CR-020482-20NY (PUBLIC RECORDS REMOVED UPON CONVICTION)

Arrest Date & Time: November 5 2020 09:30 Arrest #:M20629660 

Officer Agency:NYPD 

Defendant Katz, Andrew R Katz, whose bail was set at $200,000 had him posting $100,000 in cash, which sources believe to have emanated from funds that Katz and his partner Matthew J. Krueger of San Francisco hoodwinked from a Florida-based family office 18 months ago.

Defendant Katz, who continues to promote himself on LinkedIn and on the firm’s website as co-founder of the so-called digital asset infrastructure company “Seaquake.io” was arrested this past November in New York and has been granted numerous delays to answer to the latest charges. If Katz is found guilty, or if he decides to plead guilty and save the court system the aggravation of having to deal with him, he could be sentenced to a minimum of 2 years in prison.

NEWS ALERT: FEBRUARY 15 2022: ANDREW ROSS KATZ AKA ROSS KATZ CONVICTED OF ASSAULT CHARGE IN NYC; FLEES AND FOREGOES $200K BAIL BOND; FUGITIVE WARRANT FOR ARREST ISSUED IN NEW YORK; KATZ NOW BELIEVED TO BE SENDING DEATH THREATS TO WITNESSES; CONSIDERED TO BE ARMED AND DANGEROUS.

REWARD OFFERED BY NYPD

In a continuation of a bizarre story that MarketsMuse has been monitoring for more than two years, Andrew Ross Katz, the founder, and CEO of so-called digital asset/crypto trading firm Seaquake.io is now a fugitive after failing to appear for a series of court dates in New York Criminal Court and since being convicted of assault charges brought in November 2020. For reasons that would not be explained by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, the New York Criminal Court case record was expunged from the public database at the time of the February 7 conviction.

The Manhattan DA would also not comment on allegations the ADA prosecuting the case had been warned at the early stages of the criminal proceedings of Katz’s extensive criminal background in multiple states, and that the ADA had been lobbied to request the court to deny bail, as the defendant should have been considered a flight risk. Katz’s criminal arrest record extends over many years, with arrests on an assortment of charges in cities that include his hometown of Arvada, CO, Los Angeles, New York, and Miami. Katz’s most recent arrest apparently took place in late 2021 in Miami, during the same time a cryptocurrency convention was being held in that town.

Editors note: Fugitive Katz’s ‘aberrant behavior’ seems to extend back to his adolescence, according to public court filings. While in his teens, he was dispatched by his parents to a Utah-based ‘educational facility’ operated by “World Wide Association of Specialty Programs” that, according to public records, “is in the business of serving desperate parents of troubled youths and specialized in improving the students’ aberrant social behavior..” Per link above, fugitive Katz and Alyson Katz (Andrew Katz’s mother) were members of a class-action lawsuit brought against “WWSPS”. (That suit was dismissed in 2011).

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Seaquake.io principals Andrew Katz (l), Matthew Krueger (c) and CIO Dylan Knight

According to informed sources, soon after his disappearance last week, Katz has purportedly commenced a series of death threats against a separate individual (and immediate family members), who is a victim of financial fraud that Katz and partner, Matthew J. Krueger of San Francisco committed back in 2019. That victim has since assisted law enforcement in pursuit of criminal charges against the Seaquake executives, and it is believed the [purported] death threats that came from Katz (“purportedly, yet with high probability”, according to law enforcement officers familiar with the matter), are part and parcel to a lengthy history of intimidation tactics that Katz has exacted on those in retribution for filing charges against him.

To the amazement of those interviewed and familiar with the apparent criminal activities of Katz, Krueger, and associated entities, the individuals’ profiles, and respective current Seaquake.io executive roles remain displayed and promoted on LinkedIn (e.g. Andrew Katz, Founder & CEO; Matthew Krueger, “Partner & CFO” and the company’s website continues to publish “updates” that suggest “the firm offers a range of fintech applications and services to the cryptocurrency industry”.

Most recent updates to that website promote news that funds managed by Crypto Industry Pioneer Brock Pierce‘s Percival Ventures, along with those from Blockchain Founders Fund, whose senior principal is Aly Madhavji, are investors in Seaquake. Both Pierce (now referred to as the Prince of Puerto Rico, as well as being a 2020 presidential candidate) and Madhavji are displayed as Advisors to the company on the Seaquake website. Neither of these individuals or members of their firms has responded to outreaches by MarketsMuse for them to confirm or deny the information displayed on the Seaquake.io website.

NYPD TIPS Program is Offering a Reward for information that leads to the arrest of Andrew Katz. Anyone with knowledge of Katz’s whereabouts should contact the NYPD by phoning 800-577-TIPS, or via the TIPS website

As to the charge of Aggravated Harassment, according to multiple sources, this particular charge is consistent with a behavior pattern that Katz has perpetrated repeatedly over the past several years against various people (unrelated to the current charges). No less than four individuals who have had ‘run-ins’ with Katz, including former landlords, relatives, and aggrieved investors have each independently contacted MarketMuse to share respective incidences in which Katz has tormented them with physical threats via voice message and text messages sent by ‘burner phones’, as well as defamatory messages that Katz has posted on social media platforms, all in effort to intimidate these individuals in retribution for legitimate complaints they had made against him in various jurisdictions.

andrew-katz-matthew-krueger-seaquake-investor-fraudAs reported previously Katz and Krueger (pictured left) who also still promotes himself on LinkedIn and on the company’s website as Chief Financial Officer for Seaquake), have both been labeled “the Crypto Kleptos” and The Seaquake Slime Boys” by several people interviewed. Rumor is they are both facing a pending list of other criminal matters, including SBA PPP bank loan fraud. Public records indicate that Mssrs. Katz and Krueger applied for a PPP loan for Seaquake OPS LLC, a Wyoming entity that Seaquake corporate presentations have identified as one of several Seaquake companies. Seaquake OPS LLC did receive a Paycheck Protection Loan of $22,813 through Wells Fargo Bank, National Association, in May, 2020.

elon musk self immolation nft artwork

Elon Musk Plans Self-Immolation to Create NFT Artwork; Pre-Auction Bids of $5bil

From the Believe It or Nuts Department: Elon Musk, aka Technoking of Tesla and SpaceX boss, has tweeted that he will create an NFT Digital Video Artwork that showcases his self-immolation. Tesla CFO Zack Kirhorn, who just changed his corporate title to Master of Coin, will wrap the video with an NFT (non-fungible token) for Dogecoin (CRYPTO:DOGE).

Entrepreneur Mark Cuban tweeted that he is already weighing an opening bid of $5bil dogecoin to become the proud owner of Musk’s digital art. Not to be outdone, Social Capital founder Chamath Palihapitiya, aka The SPAC King, has already dismissed Cuban’s plan and has filed an S-1 for a $50bil Special Purpose Acquisition Company that will focus on rolling up NFT Art. A source at Palihapitiya’s Social Capital, who is not authorized to comment on securities filings, said “NFTART Acquisition Corp. will be the biggest SPAC biggest ever, and it will be the planet’s most valuable stock when you consider the underlying assets we will acquire, including the Musk self-immolation piece.”

Musk Says “We’re Burning Down The House”

According to sources, cryptocurrency exchange Crypto.com has pushed its plan to create an NFT marketplace for top artists and will launch Friday Mar 19 in order to be the primary auction platform for Elon Musk’s “greatest piece of work ever”.

Once an obscure part of blockchain technology, NFTs have boomed in recent months thanks to the embrace of almost all corners of the art, entertainment, and media worlds. 

In case you’ve been asleep for the past weeks, Wikipedia explains that non-fungible token (NFT) is a digital file whose unique identity and ownership are verified on a blockchain (a digital ledger).[1][2] NFTs are not mutually interchangeable (see fungibility). NFTs are commonly created by uploading files, such as digital artwork, to an auction market. This creates an entry on the blockchain’s digital ledger which includes a reference to the cryptographic hash of the digital file which the NFT represents. The tokens can then be bought with cryptocurrency and resold.

Pre-IPO Crypto Futures Options for the April 1 $60bil strike price for Social Capital’s SPAC are already trading at $10mil per contract.

Are you following former hedge fund trader Larry Benedict’s daily $SPX trading ideas? “Go Home Flat 201”

Trade along with the trades Larry is making.

Thomas Petterfy, founder and Chairman of online brokerage Interactive Brokers said, “If people want to trade it, we will list it, although margin requirements will be set at 500x the typical margin needed, just like we do for options in GME.” Interactive Brokers is also increasing its referral fee from $200 to $2,000 for customers who refer new accounts to the Professional’s Gateway to the World’s Markets.

If you are looking for a crazy but very true story from the crypto crime division, this exclusive coverage will really set your hair on fire!

If you’ve got a hot insider tip, a bright idea, or if you’d like to get visibility for your brand through MarketsMuse via subliminal content marketing, advertorial, blatant shout-out, spotlight article, news release etc., please reach out to our Senior Editor via cmo@marketsmuse.com

social-capital-latest-spac-SIDS-Acquisition-Stupid-Vaccine-Maker

Social Capital SPAC Machine Latest: $500m Blank Check Company to Roll-Up Makers of a Stupidity Vaccine!

Social Capital SPAC factory run by SPACmeister, notorious Tweeter and promoter of RedditArmy favorite stocks Chamath Palihapitiya is rumored to have filed a confidential S-1 for his latest Special Purpose Acquisition Company, (aka SPAC). The entity is to be called SIDS Acquisition Corp. According to sources, @chamath aims to focus on “biotech companies that are creating vaccines for those who suffer from acute stupidity”. The acronym is a play on Forrest Gump’s famous line: “Stupid Is as Stupid Does”

From the “believe it or is it nuts?” news department, Palihapitiya, who is also Chairman of Spaceshot SPAC VirginGalactic has assembled a board of biotech innovators, famous billionaires, notorious disruptors, and finance industry geniuses to identify and ferret out SPAC merger candidates. From the biotech world, Theranos co-founder Elizabeth Holmes will be in charge of due diligence, Mark Cuban and Elon Musk will oversee funding strategies, and CNBC host Jim Cramer will serve as the designated head of PR, Communications and “P&D”. Famous financier Max Bialystock is slated to be the CFO for the new blank check company.

social-capital-latest-spac-SIDS-Acquisition-Stupid-Vaccine-Maker
SIDS Acquisition Corp Executive Team

According to unconfirmed sources, SIDS Acquisition has already engaged online trading platform Robinhood to include this listing in a new “private share offering module for the masses” that will offer access to buying the SIDS SPAC on a pre-IPO basis. Elon Musk is said to be overseeing a pact with soon-to-IPO “Coinbase” so that bitcoin and dogecoin can be used by the RedditArmy and others to purchase pre-IPO futures contract in the latest Social Capital SPAC.

Noted Peter Thiel, one of the sharpest early-stage investors of this generation, is said to be getting his checkbook ready for this blank check company and plans on deploying $100 million. Said a spokesperson for Thiel, “If there was ever a moment in history when there should be a vaccine for stupidity, this would be it!”

MarketsMuse Editor Caveat Emptor: Yes, the above news story is fake news and intended only to parody the current cycle of craziness, stupidity, and speculation taking place across the US equities market. What is NOT FAKE NEWS IS THIS STORY, PROFILING INVESTOR FRAUD ARTISTS FROM A FAKE COMPANY THEY CALL “SEAQUAKE”

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“Crypto-Trading Firm” Founder Andrew Katz Now Faces Felony Assault Charges

Andrew Katz aka Ross Katz aka Stark Katz, the co-founder of so-called digital asset infrastructure and crypto-currency trading firm Seaquake.io, who along with his partner Matthew J. Krueger of San Francisco are facing investor fraud charges, is now slated to appear in New York Criminal Court April 30 to answer one count of felony assault, one count of grand larceny and one count of aggravated harassment. Katz, whose bail was set at $200,000 had him posting $100,000 in cash, which sources believe to have emanated from funds that Katz and his partner Matthew J. Krueger of San Francisco hoodwinked from a Florida-based family office 18 months ago.

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Seaquake’s Matthew Krueger (L), Fugitive Andrew Katz (R) http://www.seaquake.io)

FEB 12 2022 UPDATE: ANDREW KATZ CONVICTED OF ASSAULT CHARGES IN NEW YORK; FLEES AND FORGOES $200K BAIL; NOW A FUGITIVE WANTED BY NYPD

Reward Offered For Information Leading to Apprehension of Founder of so-called “crypto trading and digital asset infrastructure firm”. DO NOT APPROACH SUSPECT: CONTACT NYPD AT 1-800-577-TIPS, OR SUBMIT TIP TO CRIME STOPPERS WEBSITE VIA THIS LINK

The case document is via New York Court System Case CR-02020482-20NY, The victim of the assault is Katz’s now-estranged wife, Selen Katz, a Turkish immigrant who appears to make her career as an Instagram fashion model.

Felony Assualt Victim, Selen Katz,

Defendant Katz, who apparently still promotes himself on the firm’s website as co-founder of the so-called digital asset infrastructure company “Seaquake.io” was arrested this past November in New York and now faces 2nd Degree Felony Assault Charges (a class D felony), one count of Grand Larceny ( an E Felony) and one charge of aggravated harassment. If Katz is found guilty or if decides to plead guilty and save the court system the aggravation of having to deal with him, he could be sentenced to a minimum of 2 years in prison.

Katz and Krueger, who have been labeled “the Crypto Kleptos” and The Seaquake Slimeboys” by several people interviewed, are also said to be facing a pending list of other criminal matters, including SBA PPP bank loan fraud. Public records indicate that Mssrs. Katz and Krueger applied for a PPP loan for Seaquake OPS LLC, a Wyoming entity that Seaquake corporate presentations have identified as one of several Seaquake companies. Seaquake OPS LLC did receive a Paycheck Protection Loan of $22,813 through Wells Fargo Bank, National Association, in May, 2020.

Whether Katz or Krueger (or jointly) prepared the loan application when listing employees, Katz’s estranged wife was identified as the company’s Creative Director (whose employment with Seaquake, according to her LinkedIn profile, started in April of 2020. Informed sources have since indicated that Ms. Katz had no recollection of ever having created a LinkedIn account, and has stated she was never an employee of any Seaquake entity. According to police records in Los Angeles and New York, the current assault charge is the latest in a series of at least five prior domestic abuse arrests for Katz.

Manhattan District Attorney’s office would not provide details as to Katz’s current place of residence, yet he is suspected of squirming through an assortment of Airbnb rentals in Southern California while awaiting his April 30 court appearance, as well as New York City. In various documents, Katz also lists residences in Arvada Colorado (belonging to his parents Ken and Alyson Mahl Katz), and he lists addresses in California and Florida in various bank account documents obtained by court order. According to public databases, Katz has prior assault charges, along with charges of harassment, breaking and entering, and stalking throughout the past several years.

In the Florida securities and investor fraud case, in which defendants Katz and Krueger are charged with defrauding a Family Office it’s alleged that the Seaquake Slimeboys (mis) represented they were operating a start-up business and told investors that their several hundred thousand dollar investment in August 2019 “was for balance-sheet purposes only and to show pending venture investors the company did have other investors and assets on the balance sheet”. Communications sent by Katz to the investors indicated a small portion of the capital would be deployed to a proprietary “high-frequency trading” application for crypto currencies.

Alas, there were no pending VC investors, and there was no actual trading application. Katz and Krueger moved the investor funds from one bank to another, and then to a Coinbase account, and thereafter to crypto exchange Binance. It is easy to suspect that Katz and Krueger (a former PayPal employee fluent in cryptocurrency) have been enjoying the 6-fold increase in the price of bitcoin since the initial investor fraud took place.

marketsmuse-greed-is-good-day-traders-crypto-scam-seaquake

Amateur Day Traders Liberate The Markets-Making The Rich Richer

“Amateur Day Traders” by the tens of thousands who are taking tips from #reddit and #daytrading rebels, and particularly, the financial market anarchists who believe you are inflicting pain on fat cat wall street hedge fund traders by squeezing their shorts and bidding up share prices of distressed or challenged companies (e.g $GME, $AMC and others) to astronomical prices, here’s the new flash: you are all actually making the rich richer.

YOU want to “stick it to the man” (i.e. wall street and hedge funds) by taking your stimulus money and unemployment checks and take it to a gambling casino where you can bid up shares in what any 8- year old would argue are grossly overvalued stock prices. That’s fine, because you think the shares you are all buying in unison is going to create a short squeeze and hurt professional investors who have bet against obscene tulip bulb style speculation.

Notorious Shark Tank Wizard Kevin O’Leary loves you. Elon Musk is cheering you on. Even the progressive politician Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is in favor of your being able to join the new generation of day traders to compete and bet alongside Wall Street professionals, who have been playing this game for years, but you were “excluded”.

What you don’t seem to get is that while your stock and option purchases are driving up the price, every share you purchase is making “the man” billions. Private Equity lenders-who extend loans to the distressed companies on your ‘short squeeze’ target lists made those loans with their having the option to convert the company debt into shares. So, now they are converting that debt into shares and selling those shares to YOU at grossly inflated prices.

Perfect example: $AMC lender Silver Point Capital (the fat cat capitalist firm run by multi-millionaires living in mansions in Greenwich CT) and the firm that makes high interest loans to distressed companies) made $100million in two days ON TOP OF the principal amount of their loan) thanks to the financial market geniuses who are playing musical chairs. And, thanks to you folks, the movie theater chain that was next to bankruptcy last month, sold $300million in stock at share prices the company had never enjoyed in the very best of their times to YOU! Sure, when the pandemic is over, all of you are headed straight to the movie theaters so you can spend $50 for tickets and a box of popcorn and share the crowdsourcing experience with your peeps. What are you going to do with your 70 in TV screens and your streaming subscriptions? Oh, you’ll keep it all with the profits you made day trading? Sounds good

Don’t believe that your intent to cause pain to the rich wall street fat cats is backfiring a smidge? Try reading the facts.

And, the company executives who own shares in these companies are now celebrating, as this is their once in a lifetime opportunity to sell those shares to morons who have put nonsensical prices on them… once the Reddit community starts looking at insider share sale activity (when they are reported at end of the quarter), maybe you’ll scratch your heads and ask yourselves “what the f–ck” did i accomplish, other than turn millionaire executives into billionaire retirees?

Think this is nonsense? OK, Chewey.com founder and recent Board Member for GameStop made $3.6 BILLION in four days this past week–all thanks to the folks who are hoping to “stick it to the man” and other millionaire “capitalists” in some kind of “Occupy WallStreet 2.0” initiative.

Perspective: GameStop’s CEO George Sherman, who Ryan Cohen had said was “out of touch with the new movement toward e-commerce” and proceeded to buy 10% of the company at $7 in November and joined the board in effort to help them pivot), made $400mil this past week. The guy who is out of touch made $400 million in three days, thanks to the RobinHood and Reddit Day Traders Rebellion. Meanwhile, GameStop stores remain shuttered, hundreds of furloughed employees remain out of work, and video gamers are stepping up their purchases at alternative online stores-or buying direct from the manufacturers.

GameStop does not make electric cars, they don’t manufacture magic mushrooms, they are a 30 year old retail store. Ok, when the pandemic is over, one hundred million redditers are going to flock to those stores and buy new stuff. Sure you will.

On behalf of all of the fat cat private equity firms and distressed lenders who have made really big bets on distressed companies with bleak futures, you are to be thanked for making them even richer.

“Creative Designer” for Crypto Fraud Firm Seaquake.io”https://www.linkedin.com/in/selen-katz-0043821a0

Now you should get sucked into a real scam..Click on left image..Go ahead!

When the music stops (meaning when the prices of the shares you bought at wildly inflated prices) fall back inside of 10 seconds to realistic prices that make sense (based on the real value of the company; as measured by sales, profit margins, net income, and assets vs. liabilities), all of you crusading day traders who were determined to screw the establishment will inevitably lose your money in this “occupy wall street v.2.0” campaign folly.

Or, you will have unloaded your shares on the way down to another “comrade in arms” and “believer in the cause” who is as misguided as you. Ever heard of the “greater fool theory”.

Not a very altruistic thing to do to a fellow comrade in arms, but you really don’t care, do you?

Because you are not a crusader, you are not aligned with a movement, you merely want to be included in the new generation of maverick day traders and turn a quick profit so that you can invest in another fractional bitcoin.

BTW- anyone who has the notion to join a mob and storm the SEC building in Washington to protest trading halts when share prices move to extremes, you should ask your parents (or your baby sitter, or your parole officer) whether that makes any sense.

Good luck and God Bless the next generation of ‘online traders’ whose objective is to screw the establishment. Remember, GREED IS GOOD!

When you discover first hand that your behavior left you down and out, you can hope that those fat cats will have a job for you to clean their back-up swimming pool in their 3rd luxury home.

Or MarketsMuse will be happy to hire you to post to their financial industry news platform

gamestop

GameStop Stock Surge Explained

GameStop Corp (NYSE:GME) $GME share trading during the past days has, if you’ve somehow not heard, proven that an un-coordinated assembly of day traders, enabled and empowered by social media platforms Reddit and WallStreetBets can accomplish what the mob that attempted to take over the capitol in Washington DC could only dream about. Financial Market Anarchists will be the new normal.

By banding together in chat rooms, online forums and Twitter, thousands of novice gamblers have partied together and encouraged each other to buy shares and stock options in GameStop, a company that has merely 70 million shares outstanding and one that has typically reported operating losses for the past 8 quarters, including the most recent, in which the company reported a loss of $63million on $1billion in sales. Despite the anemic business results, the stock price has soared from its Jan 11 price of $20 to over $365 in after-hours trading Jan 27.

ponzi scheme gamestopHysteria? Stock Manipulation? Irrational Exuberance? Pump and Dump Scheme? Ponzi Scheme? Collusion? There are dozens of adjectives being used by the universe of long-time stock market investors, so-called Wall Street research analysts, and the many pundits appearing on CNBC. “The crazies have taken over the lunatic asylum” according to skeptics who can’t fathom the notion that GameStop, which has traded at $1billion-$2billion market throughout the past 10 years, can become a $35billion market cap inside of two days. The stock is up 3500% within the past 12 months

That said, GameStop, which has a 35 year operating history and first came public in 2002 is a Fortune 500 company. It is best known for operating a chain of 5000 retail stores that sell video game devices and other paraphernalia for video gamers is, according to some people, poised to get to the other side of the grueling hit to their business inflicted by the Covid-19 pandemic by shifting to a full-scale digital business model.

Yes, two weeks ago, the company brought on Chewy Inc (NYSE:CHWY) CEO Ryan Cohen to serve as board member. Cohen took his pet food company public 18 months ago at $35 per share and his company’s stock has soared to over $100 in recent trading.

This is good news for GameStop, we suppose. We can also suppose with 100% confidence that GameStop will exploit the current mania for its stock by selling many millions of shares at the recent inflated prices. Wall Street traders are guessing that GameStop could float 10million shares without impacting the recent price, and take in several billion dollars of cash into its treasury. They could pay down the entirety of their outstanding debt (approximately $1billion) and have several more billion to play with. In fact, the company could start to manufacture tulip bulbs and its likely they will sell billions to their old and their newest fans.

Does $2billion in cash on their balance sheet, and operating losses predicted for the next few quarters equate to an enterprise value of $30 billion? Why not? The stock market has been over-run by GenZ day traders whose only concept of investing is following the herds on social media and perhaps more important, banding together to prove the Wall Street analysts and short-sellers know nothing and deserve to be humiliated. 

Unlike down and out scammers such as crypto criminals Andrew Katz and Matt Krueger (profiled here previously), anyone who believes the SEC can stop online forums for serving as the military headquarters for what seem like bandit stock and option traders is wrong. Hell will freeze over before regulators can try to stop what is taking place in the financial markets. Get out of the way dinosaurs, if you’re a short-seller, you’ll be extinct before this party comes to an end.

PPP Loan Fraud

PFE Covid-19 Vaccine: Will Biden Now Go After SBA PPP Loan Scammers

With today’s announcement from Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) indicating they are that much closer to a Covid-19 vaccine, its time to look forward to who the Biden administration will appoint to prosecute the tens of thousands of SBA PPP loan scammers who reaped tens of billions after the Trump administration made it a simple feat to fill out a form and run with the money.

The SBA has recently published a list that contains thousands of companies that received over $150k each. Many received several million dollars. And, the SBA is scheduled to release an even more comprehensive list comprised of tens of thousands of companies that received less than $150k. The current list and the one soon to come out provides a roadmap to criminal enterprises and unsavory categories.

Propublica is making the interrogation easy for amateur sleuths.

Take for example a company known as SOSV Payroll LLC, and its interesting connection to a company profiled here last year, “Seaquake.io”, which appears to be not much more than a spiderweb of intertwined shell companies that claims to build software applications for trading cryptocurrency. Our prior reporting has led most to appreciate that if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is a duck, and within the context of investor scams, Seaquake is the queen of ducks, especially when its former business development executive stated “they sell nothing but vaporware and nobody has bought it, other than investors who were deceived into buying into the company.”

SOSV Payroll is a Delaware entity with a principal office in Princeton, NJ and according to corporate filing records, is structured as a “Foreign Limited Liability Company.” The company also registered with the State of Colorado in February 2019. According to SBA PPP loan application documents filed in April 2020, they say they have 30 employees. The SBA PPP loan was approved and made via First Republic Bank for somewhere between $350k-$1million.

Of interest, this entity is a direct affiliate of Ireland-based venture fund “SOSV, The Accelerator VC”, which claims to have $700m in AUM. Soon after receiving the SBA loan, SOSV announced they made a direct investment in the above-mentioned Seaquake.io, a holding company with multiple corporate shells including in Colorado. More relevant, Seaquake has been a defendant in multiple actions, including allegations of investor fraud brought against Seaquake CFO Matthew Krueger and co-founder Andrew Ross Stark aka Ross Stark aka Stark Katz. According to criminal background searches, Katz has a lengthy history of charges ranging from breaking and entering to domestic violence to stalking.

UPDATED MARCH 2020: Add a bank loan fraud perpetrated by Katz and Krueger in connection with Seaquake OPS LLC, a Wyoming entity that is part of the web of Seaquake companies. Recently discovered, Seaquale OPS LLC did in fact apply for and did receive a Paycheck Protection Loan of $22,813 through Wells Fargo Bank, National Association, which was approved in May, 2020. In that loan application, Selen Katz, former wife of Andrew Katz, and the victim identified in the felony assault charge is identified as an employee of Seaquake. Her title, according to a LinkedIn profile is “creative director” and her date of employment is the same month in which the PPP Loan was applied for.

We don’t know why an affiliate to a $700m AUM Ireland-based venture fund needed to apply for an SBA PPP loan. We don’t know if it’s kosher or not. We do know that the SBA PPP loan program has been exploited by tens of thousands of firms. How or if President-elect Joe Biden and his Vice President, Kamala Harris, the former California Attorney General will be able to claw back and/or prosecute those who submitted false loan documents and received taxpayer money is a question that may never be answered. The good news is that detailed data regarding more than $100bil in loans handed out, including the business names and addresses pertaining to the millions who received loans in amounts under $150k is expected to be released in December.  

The above-referenced Seaquake enterprise (first exposed by MarketsMuse last October after Law360.com published a federal lawsuit against the company and its principals) also has corporate shell registrations in California, Wyoming, Florida, and the United Kingdom (at last count). According to confidential sources, at least two of its subsidiaries will be unveiled for having received SBA PPP loan support, despite former insiders acknowledging the company has no product, has no customers, and no documented salaried employees, other than Mssrs. Katz and Krueger, and in April (immediately prior to submitting loan applications), a new LinkedIn profile indicated this company added a “creative designer”, who also happens to be co-founder Katz’s wife. Ms. Katz also appears to be a fashion model and Instagram influencer, according to her profile at www.instagram/seloupe.

Now that Pfizer appears to be one step closer to solving the Covid-19 vaccine crisis, one can hope that we will all go back to business, including SBA, IRS, and state fraud investigators, who can focus on bringing SBA loan predators to justice.

andrew-katz-matthew-krueger-seaquake-investor-fraud

SBA Bailout Funds Going to Firms on FBI Watchlist

PPP and EIDL Fraud is as rampant as COVID-19. According to the front page story appearing in the New York Times April 26 edition, hundreds of millions of dollars in SBA bailout funds that were intended by the US Treasury to assist small businesses impacted by COVID-19 via the Paycheck Protection Program and EIDL Loan Program have been siphoned off by public companies, private equity-backed companies and thousands of small businesses, many of the latter don’t really exist other than in name only.

To many financial crime investigators who are fluent in the failings of US government’s effort to support businesses that have suffered from the pandemic, it is no surprise that tens of millions of dollars have gone to scamsters and fraud artists, including those who have been recently indicted or have been under investigation by federal law enforcement and federal and state regulatory agencies.

Shocking?! Nah. According to one senior investigator from The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) “However well-intended, the PPP and EIDL loan programs created the perfect opportunity for serial financial fraud artists to exploit loopholes that a teenager could drive a Boeing jet through. PPP and EIDL fraud is rampant.”

In addition to the assortment of rogues that were outed in the above-referenced NYT coverage, it appears that individuals running a so-called fintech company called Seaquake.io, which claims to “specialize in digital asset infrastructure” along with “crypto currency trading applications” and profiled here and other online media outlets back in October, are back at it again.

Informed sources have indicated having direct knowledge that Seaquake.io principals Andrew Katz and Matthew Krueger, who have been cited in federal court for an assortment of investor fraud and wire fraud allegations, had recently filed SBA loan applications for as many as six different Seaquake entities, including Colorado-registered Seaquake Inc., Seaquake Manager LLC, Seaquake LP, Wyoming-based Seaquake OPS LLC, and a California entity, Seaquake Capital LP. Each of these entities list both Andrew R. Katz and Matthew Krueger as controlling officers.

And, it was revealed that Seaquake OPS LLC, the above-referenced Wyoming entity did in fact apply for and did receive a Paycheck Protection Loan of $22,813 through Wells Fargo Bank, National Association, which was approved in May, 2020.

AVEM Ventures LLC, a Colorado entity identified along with each of the above in a federal civil court action, lists Katz as the controlling officer and a Kenneth S. Katz as the registered agent. This entity is also believed to have applied for loans and grants intended for businesses that have been impaired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

There is only one problem, the company is a scam, according to a former business development executive for Seaquake, who worked for the company while he was also registered with Finra as a senior executive for San Francisco based brokerdealer US Capital Global. That former employee (his tenure lasted all of 7 months and he has since moved to the role of ” Director, Digital Wealth Solutions” for Apex Clearing Corp.” has stated “Seaquake is not a real business; the product(s) they claim to have are “nothing more than vaporware”; they have no employees drawing salaries other than Katz, (who recently added his wife Selen to the ‘payroll’, though it would appear that her full-time job is that of an Instagram influencer, along with Krueger and UK-based Dylan Knight, who is listed as the chief technology officer on corporate documents. This is all despite claims made on the company website as to having multiple employees; “a canard”, according to one source who says the “serial fabrications made by the company are advanced further by fraudulent representations made in an assortment of investor solicitation documents the company has sent to dozens of individuals and fund managers.”

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Seaquake’s Matthew Krueger (L), Andrew Katz (R)

Katz was seen in December vacationing at a resort in Cabo with his swimsuit model wife, a Turkish national whose opportunity to apply for US citizenship comes on the third anniversary of their marriage, August 2 2020. How the US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) or Department of Homeland Security view applicants who are married to accused money launders is only something those agencies can respond to. In early March 2020, the couple was spotted posing for photos on the beach in Southampton, New York. It is rumored that Katz is now hiding out in New York City. Neither he or his San Francisco-based partner Krueger, both accused of defrauding at least several investors, including a Florida-based family office this past August, have made themselves available for comment.

The San Francisco branch of BBVA Compass Bank, the bank of record for an assortment of Seaquake enterprises, had no comment has to whether they facilitated EIDL loan processing or payments to the Seaquake’s alleged criminal enterprise.

One can only hope that FBI and SEC efforts lead to a long-term quarantine for these individuals.

digitalassets-cryptocurrency-trading-fraud.

Another Cryptocurrency Trading Scam-Former NYSE Floor Broker Charged

In a scheme that reads much like the MarketsMuse story published in October profiling so-called digital asset firm Seaquake.io, whose principals Andrew Katz and Matthew Krueger fraudently claimed to be operating a high-frequency trading system for cryptocurrencies, Michael W. Ackerman of Ohio, and a former NYSE floor broker, was charged yesterday by the US SEC, the CFTC and the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York for defrauding investors out of $33million in the course of operating cryptocurrency trading scam.

Ackerman, much like Seaquake’s Katz and Krueger, provided investors with phony documents that claimed his firm’s two entities, Q3 Trading Club and Q3 I LP, operated a HFT trading firm that developed a “proprietary trading algorithm” for trading cryptocurrencies. As it turns out, Ackerman, along with with two other defendants charged in the case, used their investors’ funds to purchase homes, cars, jewelry and other personal items. One can only guess that Katz and Krueger of Seaquake stole Ackerman’s playbook for how to defraud investors, as Ackerman apparently first advanced his scheme in 2017 and continued until 2019 according to the charges.

While Katz and Krueger have not yet been hit with criminal charges in their cryptocurrency trading scam, the Ackerman timeline would suggest that the Seaquake operators, who still maintain a company website and are purportedly still soliciting investors, can expect an early morning knock on their doors sometime soon.

The Ackerman Q3 saga has been reported by multiple outlets.

SEC’s complaint

Michael Ackerman allegedly raised $33 million in a fraudulent crypto trading scheme. Further, Ackerman and his two partners misled investors by claiming they had developed an extraordinarily profitable crypto trading algorithm. One of the partners was a doctor. (CrowdFundInsider)

According to the SEC, around 150 investors, including many in the medical fraternity, lost money in the alleged fraud. The perpetrators floated Q3 Trading Club and Q3 I LP – two entities that enabled the digital currency investment offering.

The SEC also alleged Ackerman used most of the money raised from the hapless investors to buy jewelry, cars, and to purchase and renovate a house.

Moreover, he lied to investors about the profitability of his trading, the status of the funds and their safety.

He “doctored” computer screenshots of trading accounts to give a false impression that they held as much as $310 million.

“Ackerman exploited popular interest in digital assets as a means to obtain millions of dollars for his personal use,” said Eric I. Bustillo, Director of the SEC’s Miami Regional Office.

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Seaquake.io Fraud; So-Called Crypto Trading Firm Makes Investor Money Disappear, Founder/CEO Disappears After Conviction in New York Criminal Court

(Source: Law360.com ) Andrew R. Katz, aka Ross Katz, aka Stark Katz  an Arvada, Colorado man who is last known to reside in either of New York City or Southern California, and uses California, Colorado, Florida and New York drivers licenses while claiming to be a former FX trader for EFG Bank, and who now presents himself as co-founder of  Seaquake.io, a”digital asset infrastructure company”, along with Seaquake CFO Matthew J. Krueger of San Francisco, who claims to be a former PayPal “Finance Manager” and the former “Head of Finance” for Venmo, have both been named as Defendants in a Federal Court complaint alleging the two men advanced a systematic scheme to defraud a Florida-based investor group. Also named in the action is Dylan Knight, a UK man who is listed as a co-founder and Chief Technology Officer for the company. The Federal Court complaint cites multiple accounts of securities fraud, fraud in the inducement, and wire fraud.

THIS STORY UPDATED SEPTEMBER 2020 TO MARK THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF THIS EXCLUSIVE REPORT. CLICK HERE FOR THE UPDATE

FEB 2022 UPDATE: ANDREW KATZ, CEO OF ‘SEAQUAKE.IO’ CONVICTED OF ASSAULT IN NEW YORK; SKIPS $100K CASH BAIL AND NOW A FUGITIVE SOUGHT BY NEW YORK POLICE CLICK HERE FOR UPDATE

According to a Zurich-based private equity fund manager who had been repeatedly approached by Katz to invest, “All of the patented elements of old-fashioned investor fraud have been perpetrated by these Seaquake characters, casting yet another shadow of skepticism on the entire digital asset industry. It is amazing how brazen these individuals are. Based on their apparent actions, one can hope that law enforcement officials will do their jobs and prosecute these people quickly. Even if the wheels of justice spin slow, anyone in the industry should be alert to these people and be aware they have already destroyed any future professional career in any industry.”

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Seaquake.io principals Andrew Katz (l), “CFO” Matthew Krueger (c), CIO Dylan Knight (r)

According to the Federal Court complaint, Katz lists former jobs at UBS Bank and EFG Capital in investor offering documents, the company’s website, as well as his Linkedin profile, despite Finra having no record of Katz being licensed by that securities industry regulator at any time, and despite EFG Capital having no record of his employment. More importantly, the court filings include a series of email communications, text messages, and group chat messages on Linkedin in which Katz and Krueger made a series of fraudulent representations that induced the investors to enter into a so-called “SAFE Agreement” with the company. Investors were of the belief the funds would be deployed to a high-frequency trading application that Seaquake principals, including so-called CTO Dylan Knight of the UK, claimed to be operating.

JANUARY 2021 UPDATE: SEAQUAKE CO-FOUNDER ANDREW KATZ CHARGED WITH FELONY ASSAULT AND GRAND LARCENY IN NEW YORK; FACES MINIMUM 2 YEAR PRISON SENTENCE

BREAKING NEWS FEB 2022 UPDATE

ANDREW KATZ, CEO OF PURPORTED CRYPTO FIRM “SEAQUAKE.IO” CONVICTED OF ASSAULT CHARGES IN NEW YORK AND FLEES, LEAVING BEHIND $100K CASH BOND; NOW A FUGITIVE SOUGHT BY NEW YORK POLICE

CLICK HERE FOR LATEST

THIS STORY UPDATED SEPTEMBER 2020 TO MARK THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF THIS EXCLUSIVE REPORT. CLICK HERE FOR THE UPDATE

According to the complaint, only several days after the investors executed the agreement with the company and wiring funds to a Seaquake account at Signature Bank in New York, Katz then informed the investors the high-frequency trading application was “not in fact in production and the [investor] funds would be placed into a money market account until such time as the software was ‘production ready.” Defendants Krueger and Katz also made a series of assertions as to pending institutional investors who committed to providing capital to Seaquake, all of which turned out to be false, according to the filing. According to court documents and independent background searches, it turns out that Katz has driver licenses in New York, Florida, Colorado, and California, and is also registered to vote in Florida.

UPDATE MARCH 2021: SEAQUAKE ENTITY ‘SEAQUAKE OPS LLC’, A WYOMING CORPORATE SHELL NOW SUSPECTED OF SBA LOAN FRAUD; APPLIED FOR AND RECEIVED PPP-RELATED LOAN

This latest charge adds to a pending list of other criminal matters, including a likely bank loan fraud perpetrated by Katz and Krueger in connection with Seaquake OPS LLC, a Wyoming entity that is part of the web of Seaquake companies. Recently discovered, Seaquale OPS LLC did in fact apply for and did receive a Paycheck Protection Loan of $22,813 through Wells Fargo Bank, National Association, which was approved in May, 2020. In that loan application, Selen Katz, former wife of Andrew Katz, and the victim identified in the felony assault charge is identified as an employee of Seaquake. Her title, according to a LinkedIn profile is “creative director” and her date of employment is the same month in which the PPP Loan was applied for.

Katz has a history of criminal charges, from trespassing charges in New York to domestic abuse charges in Los Angeles. This private investigator’s background report is telling. Other background searches indicate that Katz, along with his mother, Alyson Katz of Arvada, Colorado were plaintiffs in a class action law suit brought against a Utah-based school for emotionally-challenged youth, a facility that Katz was apparently sent to by his parents and attended for at least two years while he was a teenager.

If only Andrew Katz’s wife, Selen Katz, a Turkish national and Instagram Influencer who apparently works as a swimsuit model, didn’t need Katz to help her secure a Green Card. Otherwise, perhaps she’d realize that being married to a scam artist is not the path to a happy future in the U.S. More important, actions pending against Katz could raise eyebrows from US immigration authorities who will be evaluating her request for citizenship. She should hope that more recent frauds committed by her husband and his partner in connection with PPP loans don’t add fuel to the criminal investigation fire burning under their butts.

THIS STORY UPDATED SEPTEMBER 2020 TO MARK THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF THIS EXCLUSIVE REPORT. CLICK HERE FOR THE UPDATE

Back to the primary coverage….Once the investors realized they had been scammed and then demanded the return of the funds, Katz and Krueger took steps to dissolve “Seaquake Partners LP”, the corporate entity the investors sent their funds to, according to the corporate register agent. According to records in the filing, Defendants Katz and Krueger wrote to the investor informing “we will not communicate with your attorney and we have no obligation to provide any further information..” Concurrently, the Defendants transferred the investor funds from the company account at Signature Bank in New York to multiple, newly-created Seaquake entity accounts at a Compass Bank BBVA branch in California, near where Krueger lives. Thereafter, bank records indicate Katz and Krueger dispersed the funds to various internal company accounts, and then transferred a bulk of the investor’s funds to crypto exchange Coinbase, which they moved days later to crypto exchange and custody platform Binance.

As acknowledged by the defendants’ attorney, Yasin Daneshfar of Florida law firm Becker and Poliakoff, Katz and Krueger also moved tens of thousands of dollars to personal accounts the defendants established at Compass Bank. Attorney Daneshfar argued “the so-called “SAFE Agreement” did not preclude the defendants from dispersing the money as they saw fit.” Daneshfar further acknowledged in a recent court appearance that, in addition to the defendants enriching themselves with much of the investor’s funds, the investors’ funds have also been used by Katz and Krueger to pay the Becker law firm in their effort to defend themselves against the investors in federal court. When challenged with this use of funds by the federal court judge who pointed to the series of communications from Katz to the investors, Attorney Daneshfar was said to have responded to the judge with a smirk and a shrug of his shoulders.

While much of the information obtained in the federal court filings may seem to be the source of good fodder for a ten cent crime novel, according to one Switzerland-based venture capital executive who is focused on the digital currency space and who had also been solicited by Seaquake to serve as both an advisor and to provide investment funds, “All of the patented elements of old-fashioned investor fraud have been perpetrated by these Seaquake characters, casting yet another shadow of skepticism on the entire digital asset industry. It is amazing how brazen these individuals are. Based on their apparent actions, and whether or not they get caught by law enforcement officials, they have effectively destroyed any future professional career in any industry.”

david streltsoff-seaquakeDespite all of the shenanigans, David Streltsoff, a Senior Vice President for San Francisco broker-dealer “US Capital Global” and a former salesman for high-frequency trading firms was apparently not deterred from associating himself with Seaquake. According to his LinkedIn profile in the months of September through November 2019, Streltsoff served as “Business Development Executive” for the company, while also a registered broker-dealer for US Capital. Streltsoff’s rofile was updated at the end of November after Streltsoff was served with a federal court subpoena for information pertaining to his involvement with Seaquake. According to a former investigative journalist, now a due diligence advisor to fund managers evaluating crypto startups, Streltsoff told him “It took one too many days for me to figure out this company was peddling nothing more than vaporware, and the scam accusations against them were eye-opening, so I terminated my association with them.” Jeffrey Sweeney, the CEO of US Capital Global has not replied to inquiries.

Update: Since the litigation was filed, at least one other investor has been identified as having been scammed. That investor was apparently introduced to the company in June 2019 by a friend who was employed by Seaquake.io as “business development executive.” That friend sent the investor a so-called Safe Agreement, along with wire payment instructions to a Seaquake bank account held by a Bank of America branch in Colorado. Once that investor learned of the recent court action, the investor contacted Katz and demanded the return of the money sent to Seaquake in July. Katz replied via email stating “we have no record of having executed a Safe Agreement with you, and the former employee provided you with incorrect wire instructions, so we never received your money, and we don’t owe you anything.” When the investor provided Katz and Krueger with Bank of America correspondence that affirmed the Seaquake account information was correct and confirmation from the bank the wire payment had in fact been credited to the account Katz created, Katz ceased all further communication. That investor has since filed a criminal complaint and the former executive is said to be cooperating with law enforcement authorities. Perhaps Mr. William Bao Bean, a principal of SOSV Ventures / Chinaccelerator –which recently disclosed making an investment in “Seaquakes”, as did Jeremy Colless, Managing Partner of down-under VC “Artesian Capital” both failed to get the memo…(?)

THIS STORY UPDATED SEPTEMBER 2020 TO MARK THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF THIS EXCLUSIVE REPORT. CLICK HERE FOR THE UPDATE

In November, the federal court judge lifted the temporary restraining order on bank accounts controlled by Seaquake principals Katz and Krueger, and cited concerns as to whether the Florida court was the appropriate jurisdiction to litigate the action. Plaintiffs are expected to continue the litigation.

Katz was last seen in December at the Hotel Kai Tulum resort in Cabo San Lucas vacationing with his wife, who posted an assortment of photos baring ‘birthday bling’ while sipping margaritas.

THIS STORY UPDATED SEPTEMBER 2020 TO MARK THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF THIS EXCLUSIVE REPORT. CLICK HERE FOR THE UPDATE

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Remembering D-Day, June 6, 1944

We pay tribute to all WWII Veterans, those who landed on the beaches of Normandy, France to repel Nazi Germany’s forces and those who made the ultimate sacrifice on D-Day, June 6, 1944, to defend the values that we hold so dear.

MarketsMuse Curators extend a warm salute to Mischler Financial Group, the industry’s oldest investment bank owned and operated by Service-Disabled Veterans for providing additional color to this post.

The Normandy landings were the landing operations on Tuesday, 6 June 1944 of the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II. Codenamed Operation Neptune and often referred to as D-Day, it was the largest seaborne invasion in history. The operation began the liberation of German-occupied France (and later western Europe) from Nazi control, and laid the foundations of the Allied victory on the Western Front.

Planning for the operation began in 1943. In the months leading up to the invasion, the Allies conducted a substantial military deception, codenamed Operation Bodyguard, to mislead the Germans as to the date and location of the main Allied landings. The weather on D-Day was far from ideal and the operation had to be delayed 24 hours; a further postponement would have meant a delay of at least two weeks as the invasion planners had requirements for the phase of the moon, the tides, and the time of day that meant only a few days each month were deemed suitable. Adolf Hitler placed German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in command of German forces and of developing fortifications along the Atlantic Wall in anticipation of an Allied invasion.

The amphibious landings were preceded by extensive aerial and naval bombardment and an airborne assault—the landing of 24,000 US, British, and Canadian airborne troops shortly after midnight. Allied infantry and armored divisions began landing on the coast of France at 06:30. The target 50-mile (80 km) stretch of the Normandy coast was divided into five sectors: Utah, OmahaGoldJuno, and Sword. Strong winds blew the landing craft east of their intended positions, particularly at Utah and Omaha. The men landed under heavy fire from gun emplacements overlooking the beaches, and the shore was mined and covered with obstacles such as wooden stakes, metal tripods, and barbed wire, making the work of the beach-clearing teams difficult and dangerous. Casualties were heaviest at Omaha, with its high cliffs. At Gold, Juno, and Sword, several fortified towns were cleared in house-to-house fighting, and two major gun emplacements at Gold were disabled using specialized tanks.

The Allies failed to achieve any of their goals on the first day. CarentanSt. Lô, and Bayeux remained in German hands, and Caen, a major objective, was not captured until 21 July. Only two of the beaches (Juno and Gold) were linked on the first day, and all five beachheads were not connected until 12 June; however, the operation gained a foothold which the Allies gradually expanded over the coming months. German casualties on D-Day have been estimated at 4,000 to 9,000 men. Allied casualties were at least 10,000, with 4,414 confirmed dead.

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GTS and Mischler Financial Group Hold First Annual Fleet Week ‘Veterans in the Workplace’ Luncheon at the NYSE


Working Luncheon will celebrate veterans in the workplace with attendees from notable publicly traded companies

May 16, 2019 10:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–GTS, a leading electronic market maker across global financial instruments and the largest designated market maker at the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”), in partnership with veteran-owned broker dealer Mischler Financial Group, will hold the first annual ‘Veterans in the Workplace’ luncheon at the NYSE on May 21, 2019.

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The luncheon will kick off the 31st annual Fleet Week New York, which will take place from May 22-28. Attendees will include veteran C-level executives and employees of publicly listed companies, high-ranking military officials, and student veterans from local New York colleges.

The event is being organized by Mark Otto, Global Markets Commentator for GTS and U.S. Marine Corps combat veteran. Otto also serves as Executive Director of the United War Veterans Council (“UWVC”), which is the organization that produces the New York City Veterans Day Parade.

“I am thrilled to organize the first-ever ‘Veterans in the Workplace’ luncheon at the NYSE to kick off Fleet Week in New York,” Otto said. “This event will be a great opportunity to honor both those who are actively serving as well as veterans who, after serving our country, have rejoined the workforce to serve our capital markets.”

The event will feature three keynote speakers:

  • Dean Chamberlain, CEO of Mischler Financial, West Point graduate and former U.S. Army Officer;
  • Rear Admiral John Mustin, Deputy Commander of the U.S. Second Fleet and Naval Surface Force Atlantic;
  • Jon Scholl, President of the Health Group at Leidos, U.S. Naval Academy graduate and 5-year U.S. Navy veteran; and
  • Diego Rubio, U.S. Army Veteran and Co-founder of Women Veterans on Wall Street (“wVOWS”)

“It is an honor to deliver a keynote address for a unique program that includes fellow military veterans in the workforce,” Chamberlain said. “As the CEO of the industry’s oldest service-disabled veteran-owned business, it is always inspiring to work alongside corporations that provide veterans with opportunities to leverage the skills acquired in the course of their service and provide focused programs to help them successfully transition to new careers.”

In addition to the keynote speakers, the luncheon will provide attendees with a networking opportunity, and will highlight topics including veteran-hiring retention and the different initiatives companies are taking to help veterans.

Approximately forty C-level executives and employees from publicly listed companies such as Wabash National (NSYE: WNC), DHI Group (NYSE: DHX), Leidos (NYSE: LDOS) and Samsung will be in attendance.

Fleet Week is a weeklong celebration of the U.S. military’s sea services and gives the citizens of New York the opportunity to meet and interact with members of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Coast Guard. This year, the U.S. Navy expects about 2,600 Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen will be on hand.

About GTS

GTS is a global electronic market maker, powered by combining market expertise with innovative, proprietary technology. As a quantitative trading firm continually building for the future, GTS leverages the latest in artificial intelligence systems and sophisticated pricing models to bring consistency, efficiency, and transparency to today’s financial markets. GTS accounts for 3-6% of daily cash equities volume in the U.S. and trades over 10,000 different instruments globally. GTS is the largest Designated Market Maker (DMM) at the New York Stock Exchange, responsible for nearly $12.5 trillion of market capitalization.

For more information on GTS, please visit www.gtsx.com.

About Mischler Financial Group

Established in 1994, Mischler Financial Group (“Mischler”) is the financial industry’s oldest diversity-certified investment bank and institutional brokerage owned and operated by service-disabled veterans, the firm was the first FINRA member to be designated as a Service-Disabled-Veteran-Business Enterprise (SDVBE). Mischler is recognized for its role as a leading capital markets boutique operating across the primary and secondary financial market ecosystem. The firm serves Fortune corporate treasurers in the course of their issuing new debt and equity offerings and administering their respective corporate share repurchase aka 10b-18 programs. In many initiatives, Mischler is viewed as a pure complement to the role played by issuers’ lead underwriters and also assists state and local governments in selling tax-exempt and taxable municipal securities. Investment management clients of the firm’s secondary market execution platform include a broad spectrum of public plan sponsors and investment fund managers. Mischler also provides cash management for government entities and corporations, and asset management programs for liquid and alternative investment strategies. Mischler maintains offices in 8 major cities and is staffed by more than 50 securities industry veterans.

Visit https://www.mischlerfinancial.com for more information.

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Trump & Co Enable Shareholder Lawsuits Against Cuba; Libertad Act 3.0

Long Live the Libertad Act! Taking aim at the Cuban Government, US President Donald Trump and his Board of Directors, led by Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. announced that US shareholders of companies that were seized and nationalized by Fidel Castro when the now-deceased Cuban ruler first took control of Cuba in 1959 can now sue the Cuban government for losses they sustained. Of the several dozen US companies nationalized by Castro in 1959, shareholders of Vicana Sugar Co., also known as Compania Azucarera Vicana, lost the entirety of their investments and can now seek recourse.

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the US will enforce a controversial provision of the decades-old trade embargo on Cuba that will allow US citizens to file lawsuits in US federal court against businesses that operate on property seized by the Cuban government during the revolution — the first administration to do so since the law’s creation in 1996. Pompeo said Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, also known as the Libertad Act, would be implemented in full effective May 2.

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Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and Wife Displaying Enlarged Version of Vicana Sugar Co. stock certificate

According to at least two White House sources speaking off the record, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin was influential in guiding President Trump to implement this new tactic after Mnuchin’s wife had purportedly acquired a large cache of stock certificates from an estate that owned the shares and were issued by Vicana Sugar Company months before Fidel Castro nationalized that company in November 1959. The extent of Mnuchin’s holdings is not known, but include many 1000 share certificates with an original ‘par value’ of $3.00 per share.

Formed in 1935, shares in Vicana Sugar Co. were listed on the New York Stock Exchange and traded as high as $6 per share before Castro’s seizure forced the NYSE to de-list the company’s shares. In January 15, 1959, a large block of stock was purchased by a private investor, whose estate is rumored to have since sold most of those share certificates to a trust controlled by Mnunchin. As reported here previously, Mnuchin had also purportedly acquired a cache Estonia Government bonds issued in the 1940’s that became worthless after Russia’s annexation of Estonia. Those Estonia bond certificates soared in value on eBay last year after rumors of US government efforts to coerce Russia to make good on that defaulted debt and outstanding interest owed to bond holders.

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Vicana Sugar Co 100 Share certificate-Vicana Sugar Co. aka Compania Azucarera Vicana-

A small number of Vicana Sugar Co share certificates, in both 100 share and 1000 share denominations are listed on eBay and offered at upwards of $700 for each certificate. As evidenced by stamp on share certificate in amount of 1000 shares and par value $3.00 each share (see photo).

In November 1959, the company, along with its land assets, was nationalized by the Cuban Government and shareholders suffered a complete loss, as did investors holding shares in other Cuba-based US companies whose assets were nationalized by the new Cuban regime. In the ensuing years, multiple legal claims were brought in US courts—and affirmed in favor of plaintiffs, yet those court judgments provided for no recourse against the Cuban Government. As reported in April 2019, US President Donald Trump approved the lifting of limits on Americans ability to sue over property confiscated by the Fidel Castro government—opening the door to a prospective new round of legal action that can be brought against Cuban government.

If you’ve got a hot insider tip, a bright idea, or if you’d like to get visibility for your brand through MarketsMuse via subliminal content marketing, advertorial, blatant shout-out, spotlight article, news release etc., please reach out to our Senior Editor via cmo@marketsmuse.com

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jane-street-corporate-bond-market-maker

Quant-Centric ETF Market-Maker Jane Street Adds Corporate Bond Axe

Jane Street Capital, the quant-centric proprietary trading firm best known for its dominant role in the ETF marketplace–including its role as a liquidity provider for stocks and options as well as exchange-traded funds to buy-side accounts– has a new arrow in its quiver; making markets in corporate bonds.  The firm disclosed that it is lifted its anonymous veil and is now a ‘disclosed dealer’ on electronic bond trading platform MarketAxess (NASDAQ: MKTX).

jane-street-capitalShall we guess whether the 6-pack banks and their first cousins–the industry’s legacy source of liquidity to buy-side managers navigating the corporate bond market landscape are (i) happy to have a new competitor, (ii) happy not to have to make markets and tie up balance sheets with inventory of hard-to-move corporate bonds or (iii) f–king pissed that tech-focused prop trading firms are now invading a secondary market product area that banks have viewed as their exclusive territory since time began?

As noted by WSJ reporter, Matt Wirz, investment banks and brokerages are the main go-betweens for money managers looking to buy and sell corporate bonds, about $25 billion of which trade daily in the U.S. Now, Jane Street Capital LLC, has begun offering the same service to investment firms on electronic trading platform MarketAxess and has recruited about 60 clients, people familiar with the matter said.

The move puts Jane Street in direct competition with traditional dealers like Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. It also shows how bond markets are being transformed by electronic and algorithmic trading, innovations that swept stock and currency markets more than a decade ago.

Jane Street’s headquarters are a five-minute walk from Wall Street, but in some ways the firm is more akin to a Silicon Valley startup than an investment bank. “They have a different approach—there’s not a lot of sales and a lot of technology,” says Mike Nappi, a bond trader for mutual-fund manager Eaton Vance Corp. who has bought and sold bonds through Jane Street. “That’s different from a traditional bank where they have a lot of sales and the technology is more like Microsoft Excel.”

By joining those ranks, Jane Street aims to get recognition from asset managers for the balance sheet it uses to buy and sell with them, ultimately boosting the amount they trade with the firm, said Matt Berger, the firm’s head of fixed income and commodities trading. Jane Street trades about $550 million worth of corporate bonds in the U.S. every day, he said. This amounts to about 2% of the overall market, five times more than the firm traded two years ago.

That expansion would have been impossible without the recent spread of electronic bond trading.

Technology-driven trading firms like Jane Street and Virtu Financial LLC emerged after stock exchanges electronified in the 1990s, connecting  buyers and sellers through computers and reducing trading times to fractions of a second. The firms’ computer scientists built programs to cull market data and identify profitable trades that humans missed. Now, quantitative trading firms dominate the stock market.

Electronic trading has been slower to catch on in debt markets because bonds typically trade over-the-counter rather than on centralized exchanges. That has begun to change over the past five years as banks and money managers turn to electronic trading and data analysis to trim costs and to connect to more trading partners. Electronic trading platforms like MarketAxess have given Jane Street and other quantitative investors venues to apply the technology they used in other markets.

MarketAxess accounted for about 18% of all U.S. investment-grade bond trading last year, up from 12% in 2014, according to data from the company.

If you’ve got a hot insider tip, a bright idea, or if you’d like to get visibility for your brand through MarketsMuse via subliminal content marketing, advertorial, blatant shout-out, spotlight article, news release etc., please reach out to our Senior Editor via cmo@marketsmuse.com

Jane Street, founded by four partners including Michael Jenkins and Robert Granieri, now has about 50 bond salespeople and traders. Recruiting materials tout chess facilities, office gyms, math puzzle contests.

The firm trades less debt overall than most banks, which still employ hundreds of human sales and trading staff. But when it comes to its inventory of corporate bonds, “we are on par with the banks,” Mr. Berger said.

Jane Street hold bonds on its balance sheet for days or weeks to facilitate so-called portfolio trades of bundles of bonds often tied to ETFs. The portfolio deals normally range from $50 million to $750 million but can go as high as $2 billion, a person familiar with its trades said.

Read the full WSJ story here

tradeweb-ceo-lee-olesky

TradeWeb Cashes In, Broker-Dealer Investors Cash Out via IPO

Bonds and Billions 3.0…Tradeweb Markets, one of the original electronic bond trading pioneers, which first introduced its dealer consortium platform in 1996, proved that patience is a virtue when it comes to monetizing enterprise value. The company raised $1.1billion via its Nasdaq-listed IPO yesterday (NASDAQ:NW). Illustrating investor attraction to owning a piece of the fintech company focused on fixed income trading, the company increased the number of shares they first planned to offer from 27.3 million to 40 million shares and upped the ante for the IPO price from a $24-$26 range to slightly north of $27. The IPO puts a $6bil valuation on the company–whose original investors include a consortium of broker-dealers.

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Tradeweb CEO Lee Olesky photo courtesy of BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS

Per snippet from Bloomberg News, Tradeweb intends to use proceeds to buy shares held by eight of the 11 large banks that own stakes in the company, including Bank of America Corp., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and UBS Group AG, according to its registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Tradeweb’s IPO is also the biggest for a financial services company in the U.S. since online lender GreenSky Inc. raised $874 million in May.

The offering follows benefits administrator Alight Inc.’s decision in March to postpone plans to raise up to $800 million in an IPO. Alight and Tradeweb are both owned by private equity firm Blackstone Group LP, which led the $17 billion acquisition last year of Tradeweb parent Refinitiv from Thomson Reuters Corp. Tradeweb, founded in 1996, builds and runs electronics markets for trading government bonds, derivatives, exchange-traded funds and other financial instruments over the counter. It handled an average of $549 billion in daily trades in 2018, according to its IPO prospectus.

Tradeweb posted net income of $160 million on $684 million in revenue last year.

As noted by Liz Hoffman of the WSJ, online venues are gaining ground in bond trading, digitizing orders that were once placed over the phone. At MarketAxess Holdings Inc., Tradeweb’s closest listed peer, trading volumes have more than doubled since 2014.

At $27, Tradeweb’s stock will list at about 30 times the company’s annual earnings. MarketAxess trades at nearly 50 times its earnings, while exchanges such as NYSE ownerIntercontinental Exchange Inc. fetch about 25 times their earnings.

JPMorgan Chase & Co.Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley led the offering. Tradeweb will start trading Thursday under the symbol TW on the Nasdaq Global Select Market, according to the statement

Affiliates of Refinitiv will continue to hold about 54 percent of Tradeweb’s outstanding common stock, according to filings.

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