Economy

What’s a Wall Street Billionaire Facing Indictment To Do? Party On, Of Course!

The Fed is going after Steven A. Cohen's firm, the legendary SAC Capital Advisors. But a Wall Street titan has little to fear.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

If you owned a business, and you heard that the Feds were coming after you for criminal activity, you might be a little worried. Heck, you might even cancel your summer vacation.

But you are not billionaire Steven A. Cohen of SAC Capital Advisors, one of Wall Street’s most famous hedge funders. If you were, you would have thrown a lavish soiree last weekend in your 9,000-square-foot East Hamptons beachside palace, mingling among your guests as waiters rolled out $2,000 worth of the freshest tuna from a local purveyor. Perhaps you’d boast about your $700 million collection of artwork and the private museum you’re building just to house it. Or maybe you'd freak people out with tales of the 13-foot shark in formaldehyde you will suspend from the ceiling of your SAC office and the head sculpture made of frozen blood you placed in the lobby.

You would read the Feds’ description of the “hundreds of millions of dollars of illegal profits” that allegedly arose from massive insider trading in your firm and you would snort with laughter. You would listen to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara condemn your company as a “magnet for market cheaters” at a press conference and you’d call for a cocktail—something festive.

You would do all this because you are a bona fide Wall Street bigshot, and you have little to fear from the Feds. You would be secure in the knowledge that no personal charges were made against you—that the Feds merely indicted your firm, based mostly on the guilty pleas of six former employees. You’d know there was zero possibility that your portly, balding self would spend so much as a minute behind bars. Sure, some underlings would do a bit of time, but that’s how things roll in Wall Street gangsta-land. The big boys don’t go down.

You would look over the accusations leveled at your company—that you dumped stock on insider tips from a California doctor close to clinical trials conducted by a certain pharmaceutical company, and you would yawn, confident that your lawyers could take care of that without breaking a sweat. After all, you were sued for fraud by your own ex-wife, and you survived that, didn’t you? Even when that bee-otch claimed that you launched your beloved SAC Capital in 1992 with proceeds from an alleged illegal insider trading tip!

You would rest comfortably knowing that your entire racket, the financial services industry, has been blissfully committing fraud, doing insider trading, engaging in price-fixing, and myriad other schemes to suck money out of the pockets of hard-working people in the real economy for the better part of three decades, and all you need to do is buy off the politicians and the media and you’re safe to keep the game going. Heck, you’re making plenty of them rich, too!

And later, as you drift off to sleep, you would murmur to yourself, “Stevie, you are the 106th richest human on Planet Earth. You’re freaking awesome.”

Lynn Parramore is contributing editor at AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @LynnParramore. 

 

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