Selling America ShortThe SEC and Market Contrarians in the Age of Absurdity
An industry insider reveals the inner workings of our financial system and the agencies who attempt to control it During his dozen years as an SEC attorney, author Richard Sauer opened and supervised some of its most notable financial cases-investigations that took him to a dozen countries and returned hundreds of millions of dollars to American investors. While a partner at a major law firm and, later, a hedge fund manager, he saw firsthand the follies and failures of our system. Now, in Selling America Short, he shares his extraordinary experiences with you. Selling America Short is a gripping chronicle of crooked companies, financial philanderers and hapless enforcers told through the eyes of personal experience. Page by page, it shows the damage wrought by the deep biases and lack of worldly experience common among those who hold the reins of our capital markets. Sheds light on the inner workings of our financial system Takes you on a fascinating journey of a rogue's gallery of crooked executives, professional fraud enablers, and squirrelly technocrats Offers a firsthand account of the many ways contrarian views of public companies are suppressed and punished, depriving the market of critical information With the capital markets in turmoil, people are fascinated with what is happening on Wall Street. This book provides a unique look at the forces and events that led directly to financial tragedy and continue to wreak havoc.
Prologue. Chapter 1 Rude Awakenings. Chapter 2 The SEC Steps Out. Chapter 3 Short People. Chapter 4 Belgian Waffles. Chapter 5 AremisSoft and the Deemster from Hell. Chapter 6 Taking Out the Eurotrash. Chapter 7 In the Shadow of Enron. Chapter 8 The Easter Bunny Cometh. Chapter 9 Mired in Muck. Chapter 10 Our Tax Dollars at Work. Chapter 11 Warming the Bench. Chapter 12 The Overstock Flame Wars. Chapter 13 The Bird in the Bush. Chapter 14 The Collapse of the American Financial Sector in One Easy Lesson. Chapter 15 Ashes, Ashes, All Fall Down. Epilogue Picking up the Pieces. About the Author. Index.
“Readers with a taste for skulduggery won’t be disappointed. Sauer’s war stories slither through letterbox companies, a suspicious Bulgarian government contract and documents dumped onto a roadside garbage heap.” — James Pressley, Bloomberg News, May 2010 “Sauer’s informed (he was an SEC attorney before he joined a hedge fund) and detailed set of stories will make you sick, but they’ll also make you appreciate what a no-win position the Feds occupy in America’s—and the world’s—byzantine financial regulatory schema, not to mention how the bad behavior of Goldman Sachs took down a hedge fund on the cusp of making a bundle for its investors thanks to prescient bets on a financial crisis. … Get a hold of it and start reading.” — Jeff Matthews, jeffmatthewsisnotmakingthisup.blogspot.com, May 2010 “A must read for everyone who wants to know something about the SEC, short sellers and fraud.” —Seeking Alpha, October 2010
RICHARD C. SAUER has been, among other things, an Assistant Director with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, a partner in an international law firm, and an analyst with a Northern California hedge fund. In his dozen years as an SEC attorney and administrator, he was responsible for some of the agency's most memorable financial fraud cases. Sauer's articles on legal and financial topics have appeared in numerous publications including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Barron's. He is also a published novelist and holds a doctorate in law (SJD) from Harvard Law School. Sauer lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife, Eileen Killory.
As an SEC attorney, author Richard Sauer initiated and supervised landmark financial cases that took him to numerous countries and returned hundreds of millions of dollars to American investors. While a partner at an international law firm and, later, a hedge fund manager, he saw firsthand the follies and failures of our system. Now, in Selling America Short, Sauer shares his remarkable experiences with you. Selling America Short is a chronicle of crooked companies, colorful but clear-eyed skeptics whose warnings went unheeded, and overmatched enforcers, all seen through the eyes of personal experience. It sheds a bright light on some of the darkest corners of the financial world and details the damage wrought by the deep biases and lack of worldly experience common among those who hold the reins of our capital markets. Providing a unique look at how our capital markets work and, quite often, don’t, Selling America Short skillfully reveals the tragic missteps of the American financial behemoth as it marches boldly from one crisis to another. Along the way, this insightful and often wryly humorous guide also: Takes you on a journey through a rogue’s gallery of bent executives, professional fraud enablers, and blinkered technocrats Offers a firsthand account of the many ways contrarian views of public companies are suppressed and punished, depriving the market of critical information Highlights the inner workings of the agencies that attempt to control our financial markets Perceptively describes the illusory asset valuations, myopic business strategies, and feckless public policies that led to the recent crack-up of our financial system And much more
Praise for Selling America Short “Richard Sauer’s riveting Selling America Short lifts the veil on two powerful and secretive worlds that dominate our financial markets: those of hedge funds and the Securities and Exchange Commission regulators. Accounts of the inner workings of both don’t come more informative—or more entertaining.”—Jesse Eisinger, Senior Reporter, ProPublica “Every stock market cop should be as determined—and witty and frank—as Rick Sauer. Assigned reading for anyone investigating stock swindles, or just stocks. Finally, an inside narrative of the SEC and the scams that wrecked Wall Street.”—Bill Alpert, Senior Editor, Barron’s “Rick Sauer’s journey through the underbelly of finance is black humor at its best. Truly hilarious and deeply frightening.”—Bethany McLean, Contributing Editor, Vanity Fair Selling America Short: The SEC and Market Contrarians in the Age of Absurdity is the gripping chronicle of twenty years of crooked companies and financial philanderers as seen through the eyes of Richard Sauer, a veteran of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, private legal practice, and the hedge fund subculture. Sauer began chasing financial fraud at the SEC before it exploded into an issue of national concern. Before, that is, Enron and WorldCom and other turn-of-the-century financial scandals made people wonder whether our business leaders should be seen as presumptive felons, including those paragons of capitalism who loom like stuffed predators from the covers of Fortune and BusinessWeek. Written in a straightforward and accessible style, this book recounts Sauer’s first-person experiences with the sometimes comic, sometimes tragic flaws of the American financial system and those who attempt to control it.
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