Hedge Fund Con: What You Didn't See
Twelve minutes seems like an eternity in television land, but when you report an in-depth piece, there is inevitably juicy tidbits that end up never seeing the light of day.
That's what happened with my look at the psychology behind a hedge fund con. It's the story of a college undergrad, Hakan Yalincak, who engaged in credit card fraud, hedge fund fraud and check kiting, in a classic Wall Street swindle. And here's the kicker: the targets of the scam were hedge fund traders and managers who worked at some of the most successful hedge funds in the world. These were true insiders in the hedge fund universe who, perhaps, should have known better.
The story re-airs tonight on CNBC at 9 p.m. EST on "Business Nation," and if you catch it, keep these interesting items in mind:
- Hakan's exposure to crime started early. His mom served time for impersonating a doctor (she has no medical training) by the name of Irene Kelly. (Note: she is a Turkish immigrant, and it's hard to believe anyone thought she was an "Irene Kelly.")
- Hakan and his partners used some of the ill-gotten money from the credit card fraud to buy themselves luxuries-- a Porsche for a partner's girlfriend, diamonds from Tiffany, a Japanese sword (I get the jewelry and wheels-- but a sword?). But for Hakan, clearly the junior partner in this scheme, at the tender age of 19 , the lavish expenditures were (drumroll please) a ping- pong table and a new suit.
- Hakan and his partners plagiarized, almost word for word, the phony hedge fund's marketing materials from JWM Partners (John Merriwether's second act fund, post LTCM blowup).
- Paul Ardaji, the Greenwich businessman who met Hakan and his mother, says he knew something was fishy when he visited them for a business meeting and the mom was sitting there, hair completely disheveled, with her false teeth SITTING on the desk in front of her. (Tip: you know it's a sham when people forget to put their teeth in.)
Hope you get a chance to watch the report, if you haven't already. And, apologies for this late posting--I know I had promised I'd have this entry a while ago.
Questions? Comments? PowerandMoney@cnbc.com