Legal Matters

The HP Fraud Kerfuffle Gets Even More Embarrassing As Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch Starts a Blog

Ms. Whitman. (Photo: Max Morse)

The nuts and bolts of HP’s $11.1 billion acquisition of Autonomy are pretty wonky. But we know a good scandal when we see one, and this $8.8 billion loss and the whole “fraud” debacle are shaking up to be one for the record books.

After losing all that money, HP pointed the finger at its subsidiary, alleging that cooked books had made Autonomy appear more valuable than it really was. If the HP thought the former Autonomy team would go quietly into that good night, the Silicon Valley giant was sadley mistaken. Former Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch has loudly maintained his innocence, and now Business Insider reports that he’s started a blog to defend against the allegations. Read More

True Crime

Romanian Men Cheat Fresh, Admit to Epic Two-Year Subway Sandwich Scam

Hackers never look this cool.

Romanians Iulian Dolan and Cezar Iulian Butu have confessed in the U.S. District Court in New Hampshire to multiple counts related to credit card fraud via hacking.

Under the leadership of another Romanian, Adrian-Tiberiu Opera, the men trawled the Internet for vulnerable point-of-sale programs, which apparently included applications linked to credit card payments at 150 Subway restaurants. The scam lasted two years and vacuumed up more than $10 million in profits. Citing court documents,  Read More

Modern Justice

As SEC Turns to Computers to Detect Fraud, Wall Street Cries Foul

"Shit, she took a screenshot."

One of the reason that Bernie Madoff was able to stay undetected for so long was that he could alternately charm and intimidate the young SEC staffers sent to investigate his firm. In the wake of that scandal, reports The Wall Street Journal, the SEC has developed a computer system that analyzes performance from thousands of hedge funds and looks for  unusually good performance year-over-year that, like Mr. Madoff, seems too good to be true.  Read More

Blog Lords

Mike Arrington Introduces Us to the “First F*cking Amendment”

Mr. Arrington flashes his "first amendment" gang sign.

Betabeat published a story yesterday about the ways in which tech investors who write about private companies on public blogs might run afoul of SEC regulations. It focused, naturally, on Mike Arrington, who saw the post around 2 a.m. this morning and responded with this tweet:

“Screw that. Let me introduce you to the first fucking amendment to our constitution.”

Mr. Arrington failed to provide any links to the first amendment, but luckily, Betabeat had spent yesterday afternoon conversing with Prof. John Coffee of Columbia University, one of the foremost experts on securities law in the nation. Read More

Blog Lords

Venture Capitalists With Powerful Blogs May Run Afoul of the SEC

Image via BacktoGeek

Has Blogging Become the New Insider Trading?

“People think there is a distinction between how an major investor can talk about a public company versus a private company,” said Ralph Ferrara, former General Counsel for the SEC. “But if you read the law carefully, you see that everything that you can do wrong when combining a public company with the media applies to investments in private companies as well.”

Michael Arrington wanted to have it all. The editor-in-chief of TechCrunch, the nation’s most powerful tech blog, had, except for a brief hiatus, invested his own money in the companies he covered. The move always prompted a bit of grumbling in the blogosphere, but nothing he couldn’t handle.

Then Mr. Arrington decided to go bigger. He tapped Silicon Valley’s royalty to raise a $10 million pool he dubbed CrunchFund. Read More