The Con MenA history of financial fraud and the lessons you can learn
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Financial fraud, whether large or small is a persistent feature of the financial markets. If you scratch the surface of the investment world you’ll find a continuous stream of major financial scandals which are almost unbelievable in the sheer scale of their subterfuge.
The Con Men shines a spotlight on some of these gargantuan frauds from the last 25 years. It questions how these men did it, why they did it, how there were able to get away with it, proposes strategies and tactics so that the reader can avoid being swindled.
About the author
Part One A brief but efficient history of trickery
Chapter 1 The horror stories
Could you have spotted a problem?
Lessons from the past
If you can’t trust the analysts and the auditors, who can you trust?
Chapter 2 Our touching need for confidence
Ivan Boesky and Dennis Levine
Plus ça change. . .
Chapter 3 Shiny new inventions and old tricks
Ponzi and ‘Pump and Dump’ schemes
The SEC and Bernard Madoff
Further SEC investigations
Some frauds just never go away
Part Two Let’s go to work: the confidence men in action
Chapter 4 Sharks or maniacs?
Are some financial fraudsters psychopaths?
Routine activity theory
Nigerian scams – a different type of fraudster altogether?
The problem with plausibility
Chapter 5 Yielding to temptation: the Allen Stanford story
Good old boys
Making sense of Stanford
Chapter 6 Shamanagement: financial wizardry to create paper profits
The Olympus scandal
The man who became the ‘Man from Del Monte’
Investors versus business shamans
Part Three Why we get the swindlers we deserve
Chapter 7 Some deadly sins of investment: trusting false prophets,
investing for the Apocalypse and the money illusion
Selling the sizzle, not the steak
Gold bugs: waiting for Armageddon
The money illusion
You can fool some of the people all of the time …
Chapter 8 Moral hazard in the system
The LIBOR scandal
The swindling of Jefferson County, Alabama
Surviving the banks
Chapter 9 Due negligence: failing to do the analysis
Harry Markopolos and Bernie Madoff
A word on funds and funds of funds
Due diligence always matters
Part Four How to avoid being swindled
Chapter 10 Funds are not all the same!
The Bayou hedge fund fraud
Avoiding hedge fund fraud
Chapter 11 All the books are cooked: the trouble with company accounts
Corporate governance from the investor’s point of view
Investors and accounts
Chapter 12 Safer strategies
The first line of defence against fraud
Lower your expectations
Staying sane in the investment jungle
Leo Gough was the editor of two investment newsletters during the 1990’s, ‘The Zurich Club’ and ‘Taipan’ for Fleet Street Publications. Since 1997 he has spent much of his time in the Asia/Pacific region, working with banks, such as Citibank, and consultancy firms, such as AT Kearney. Currently Leo is working in management consultancy in the Middle East. He is the author of more than 20 books on personal finance and investment.
Leo Gough’s book ‘The Con Men’ is something that has needed to be written for a very long time. It gives a potted history of the major frauds that have been perpetrated on the investing public, who have lost masses of their hard earned capital, and who have no redress for the theft of their money.
Charles Vintcent, author of Investing for Recovery (FT Publishing, 2010)
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