Wanted: Wall Street Snitches

What do you think the chances of this catching on are? From the New York Post:

Wanna get rich? Snitch.

That’s the new money-making mantra for folks with access to confidential information on Wall Street.

With the release of Oliver Stone’s new movie, “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” in mind, Stuart Meissner, a securities lawyer based in Midtown, is tweaking a message made famous by the first “Wall Street”: that greed is good for people standing on the right side of the law, too.

Uncle Sam recently started offering rich bounties to folks who help put away bad guys — like Gordon Gekko, the central character of Stone’s film, played by Michael Douglas, who goes to jail for insider trading.

Meissner came up with the idea to advertise for snitches who know of illegal activity at their firm. His in-theater ads and fliers will recruit whistleblowers with the promise of riches to come.

“Having the ad right there with the movie reminds people who have information regarding securities violations, ‘Hey, I can make money and also do a good thing,’ ” said Meissner, who previously worked with the financial crimes unit of the New York State Attorney General’s Office.

The ads, which are set to music similar to the theme from “Law & Order,” tell moviegoers they can remain anonymous with their tips if they go through a lawyer. They also direct viewers to Meissner’s Web site at SECSnitch.com.

A preview will be shown today at the Ziegfeld theater in Midtown, and the movie opens nationally on Friday.

Snitches gained this new respect in July, when as part of the massive financial reform bill, Congress passed the so-called whistleblower law, which promises up to 30 percent of anything the Securities and Exchange Commission collects over $1 million for tips on corporate wrongdoing that lead to a financial penalty…

[continues in the New York Post]

, ,

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Not sure I believe in the viability of this particular idea, but the general concept of “re-balancing” incentives toward virtuous rather than vicious ends is freakin’ AWESOME.

    I’ve played with ideas of this sort as well–though I tend to persue more long-term market-based solutions rather than the one-shot deals that seem to be on offer here; “bright lines” tend actually to incentivise cheating rather than good behaviour.

    People slag proponents of the “free markets” all the time, as well they should. I’d venture to say that at least 95% of the windbags putting out about “free markets” actually mean unregulated plutocracies, with no effective policing to inhibit their personal plunder. Rather than a fair, orderly market place with firmly and transparently monitored consensus-driven rules of the road.

    But human nature being what it is, it does seem a bit much for 100% of the population to devote their energies to disinterested notions of altruism, let alone thoroughly understand them. No matter how poorly we’re served by the current ‘winner-take-all’ style of capitalism. So the ultimately successful model will have to be cleverly crafted in such a way as to focus on the most essential shared needs of the community in a way that still provides reasonable scope for individual interests.

    Yeah, tall order. But some of the most important ideas are also the simplest and easiest to implement. For instance, in the current scheme of things, companies whose debt or equity are publicly traded are subject to review and report by an “independent” financial auditor. Makes great sense. Since these securities form nearly 40% of the money supply (i.e., the M3 bit), it is hardly open to debate as to whether their needs to be a mechanism in place to ensure its integrity. protect the, and no one is contesting that part of the plan. But why should the boards of directors hire those auditors? How does an iron-clad patronage relationship between the board of directors, who surely have as much interest in the company’s access to capital as do management, and the auditors further the cause of the integrity of the wider money supply? I say, “B*S*–the SEC should hire the auditors–and pay them bonuses for each violation they find.”

    Now if the board of directors want to hire their own auditors to gather evidence to contest alleged violations under tribunal, I say “Awesome!” At least then there would be something approaching a balanced position of advocacy in the system.

    • MeatBurgler

      Yeah, we’ll see about all this… Not usually the one to advocate “snitching” but I would like to see these bankers hang… And yeah the independent auditor idea has been floating around a while, but there’s no way in hell these filthbags would let that happen. Unless it is forced upon them. They would probably go into hiding… Lol.

      • Liam_McGonagle

        “. . . And yeah the independent auditor idea has been floating around a while . . . ”

        Really? That’s cool. But I haven’t seen it around to date. Yeah, they refer to an “independent auditor” in the SEC reg’s, but that’s just Orwellian language. Invariably they are referring to a firm hired by the board of directors.

        I suspect that it will have to be forced on them. No time like the present. Pass the word.

  • Anonymous

    Not sure I believe in the viability of this particular idea, but the general concept of “re-balancing” incentives toward virtuous rather than vicious ends is freakin’ AWESOME.

    I’ve played with ideas of this sort as well–though I tend to persue more long-term market-based solutions rather than the one-shot deals that seem to be on offer here; “bright lines” tend actually to incentivise cheating rather than good behaviour.

    People slag proponents of the “free markets” all the time, as well they should. I’d venture to say that at least 95% of the windbags putting out about “free markets” actually mean unregulated plutocracies, with no effective policing to inhibit their personal plunder. Rather than a fair, orderly market place with firmly and transparently monitored consensus-driven rules of the road.

    But human nature being what it is, it does seem a bit much for 100% of the population to devote their energies to disinterested notions of altruism, let alone thoroughly understand them. No matter how poorly we’re served by the current ‘winner-take-all’ style of capitalism. So the ultimately successful model will have to be cleverly crafted in such a way as to focus on the most essential shared needs of the community in a way that still provides reasonable scope for individual interests.

    Yeah, tall order. But some of the most important ideas are also the simplest and easiest to implement. For instance, in the current scheme of things, companies whose debt or equity are publicly traded are subject to review and report by an “independent” financial auditor. Makes great sense. Since these securities form nearly 40% of the money supply (i.e., the M3 bit), it is hardly open to debate as to whether their needs to be a mechanism in place to ensure its integrity. protect the, and no one is contesting that part of the plan. But why should the boards of directors hire those auditors? How does an iron-clad patronage relationship between the board of directors, who surely have as much interest in the company’s access to capital as do management, and the auditors further the cause of the integrity of the wider money supply? I say, “B*S*–the SEC should hire the auditors–and pay them bonuses for each violation they find.”

    Now if the board of directors want to hire their own auditors to gather evidence to contest alleged violations under tribunal, I say “Awesome!” At least then there would be something approaching a balanced position of advocacy in the system.

  • MeatBurgler

    Yeah, we’ll see about all this… Not usually the one to advocate “snitching” but I would like to see these bankers hang… And yeah the independent auditor idea has been floating around a while, but there’s no way in hell these filthbags would let that happen. Unless it is forced upon them. They would probably go into hiding… Lol.

  • Anonymous

    “. . . And yeah the independent auditor idea has been floating around a while . . . ”

    Really? That’s cool. But I haven’t seen it around to date. Yeah, they refer to an “independent auditor” in the SEC reg’s, but that’s just Orwellian language. Invariably they are referring to a firm hired by the board of directors.

    I suspect that it will have to be forced on them. No time like the present. Pass the word.

  • BigBeautyBoy

    Greed, indeed, is good.

  • BigBeautyBoy

    Greed, indeed, is good.

21