Two Crooks Elmore Leonard Would Appreciate

I absolutely loved the story in today's LA TIMES about the insider trading scam cooked up by an inept Disney secretary and her dimwit boyfriend, both of whom could be characters in an Elmore Leonard novel.

The Disney secretary, Bonnie Hoxie, and her boyfriend, Yonni Sebbag, sent anonymous letters to three dozen hedge funds offering them an advance peek at the Mouse House's quarterly earnings report. The hedge funds immediately called the Feds, who sent a couple of undercover agents out to make a deal with Hoxie and Sebbag.

Federal authorities arrested the couple early Wednesday morning and charged them with criminal wire fraud in what experts described as one of the more ham-handed attempts at insider trading in memory.

[…]Sebbag told undercover agents that he was "looking to build a strong business relationship" and that "I don't think we will get caught if we stay discrete [sic] and careful." 

[…]Sebbag allegedly said he wanted "to make a lot of money" and asked for their guidance in opening an offshore bank account to avoid detection. 

[…]"This is the insider trading equivalent of the bank robber who drops off the demand note and comes back in an hour to pick up the money," said Robert A. Mintz, a former federal prosecutor who is a partner at McCarter & English in Newark, N.J. "It's mind-boggling that somebody would even try to get away with something like this."

1 thought on “Two Crooks Elmore Leonard Would Appreciate”

  1. Their entire plan seemed odd.
    Even if they had a 90% chance of not being betrayed in a single case, by spamming 30 hedgefunds with the offer, the odds of them not being betrayed by any of them dropped to 4%. (=1 – 0.90^30)
    So they were destined to be caught. It’s even more stupid because the hedgefund’s most likely assumption is either: It’s a trap -or- It’s run by someone who is so incompetent that they are likely to be caught.
    Either way, the hedge fund’s best strategy is to either betray them or ignore the offer … which is what all of them did !
    It’s a shame they don’t teach more game theory at University these days …


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