Well the figure pales when compared to Bernie Madoff's fifty billion dollar ponzi scheme, but six hundred million bucks is still a pretty good sized chunk of change. That is the amount of client cash that has turned up missing from the books of the bankrupt brokerage firm MF Global.
No one can seem to figure out where the money went, or at least no one is talking. The firm, led by former Sachs Goldman CEO and New Jersey governor, Jon Corzine hasn't enjoyed the best of reputations lately. In the last decade MF Global has been sanctioned five different times and fined a cool twelve million. In 2008 one deal gone bad led to one hundred forty one million in trading losses on wheat futures alone.
They probably are not someone Warren Buffett would want to get involved with. No, the smart money doesn't put down a wager on the table with a bunch of street hustlers such as these.
An on line story by Martha C. White details the fall out from the bankruptcy and the discharge of nearly all 1,066 MF Global employees.
She quotes former SEC chief accountant, Lynn Taylor as saying that, "The fact that people today can't tell us where the six hundred million went is not a good sign." Adding, "Its starting to smell like fraud."
An anonymous source says that MF Global may have been involved in "aggressive interpretation of securities law." Rather like Al Capone was involved with aggressive interpretation of gambling, alcohol, and prostitution statutes.
Commodity Futures Trading Commissioners say that sifting through the finances of MF Global is a "magical mystery tour" and that the books are a "disaster."
Yes, with feral clowns such as these running things on Wall Street investing heavily in the Power Ball Lottery drawing is starting to look like a lot safer bet. It could be that many will buy shovels and mason jars. Three steps to the the left of the Mimosa Tree in the back yard and X marks the spot. Why not? It's better than giving it to these amoral greed heads. Who needs a gun any more? Just get a MBA and have all the loyalty of a rented snake.
As we push forward in the twenty-first century it is becoming increasing clear that capitalism can't be trusted to capitalists. That the conservative philosophy of deregulation and letting business go about its business seems either hopelessly naive, or outright duplicitous.
In the end there is a reason that people are in the streets demanding an accounting for all this piracy. And if some young Wharton School of Business grad asks why, just tell him to look in the mirror.
After all, would you buy a used car from him?
It is enough to make you trust a politician.