I got a little chuckle this week when Roddy Boyd and his paid hobby, Southern Investigative Reporting Foundation, put out a plea for donations and referred to their “work” as corporate accountability reporting.
You see, a couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Roddy Boyd’s lack of ethics as it relates to a large donation from investor Marc Cohodes that influenced Roddy’s reporting. Continue reading
The long-running Overstock.com fraud story probably isn’t of interest to most of my readers. But when you’ve got a company that manipulates its financials to turn losses into profits and the executives profit handsomely from manipulating the stock and the company’s lunatic CEO harasses and stalks critics, you can see why a fraud investigator might want to tune in.
The Cohodes/Overstock Donation Debacle
Earlier this week I wrote about Roddy Boyd and his Southern Investigative Reporting Foundation (SIRF), and the shenanigans surrounding his receipt of $329k of Overstock.com stock from Marc Cohodes. Marc is a short seller who lost a lawsuit brought by Overstock against his company Rocker Partners for its very public criticism of the company and its CEO, Patrick Byrne.
In 2017, Marc mysteriously made up with Byrne and became a very vocal pumper of Overstock’s stock after taking a substantial long position.
In December 2017, Cohodes offered Roddy 5,000 shares of Overstock.com stock, and Roddy took it and sold it for $329,000. Marc was buying Roddy’s silence on Overstock, and both of them knew it, whether or not it was explicitly stated between them.
Roddy confirmed that in June 2018: Continue reading
A decade ago, I was really into blogging about companies that were perpetrating frauds on consumers and investors. Nobody paid much attention to me, but I enjoyed digging into company financials and exposing the actions of dishonest executives. It fit nicely with my fraud investigation work.
One of the companies that interested me was Overstock.com. The company was prone to cooking the books, and they were headed up by an unbalanced CEO named Patrick Byrne who was fond of conspiracy theories.
There’s only so much you can write about a company repeatedly manipulating its financials and the SEC inquiries that follow. I stopped writing about them in early 2010, until things got interesting again in 2017.
Marc Cohodes, a fairly well-known short seller who had criticized the company massively (and ended up on the losing end of a big lawsuit by Byrne), suddenly switched sides. Cohodes went long Overstock on May 2017, hyped the company at a Grant’s Interest Rate Observer conference in October 2017, said Byrne was now his friend, and had all the negative information about him wiped from Byrne’s Deep Capture website. Sam Antar did an excellent write-up about how Byrne and Cohodes got so chummy. In fact, they were so chummy that Cohodes was trying to get others (such as Antar) to stop writing negative things about Overstock and Byrne. Continue reading
American Journalism Review
By Cary Spivak
Two Web sites that investigate business fraud are funded by short selling—placing market bets that the stock of companies they write about will go down. It’s an approach that makes journalism ethicists very uncomfortable.
At first the idea didn’t feel quite right to Christopher Carey. Continue reading
On Monday, a press release announced that the long legal battle between Overstock.com (NASDAQ:OSTK), its nutty CEO Patrick Byrne, and Gradient Analytics was over.
It was somewhat disappointing, when it seemed that the heart of the lawsuit was an attempt to silence critics. Scare research firms so much that they’ll be reluctant to publish negative opinions about public companies. Public companies win. Continue reading
Roddy Boyd at the New York Post has picked up the story about Usana illegally recruiting new associates in China.
Boyd explains China’s laws like this: Continue reading
The Salt Lake City office of the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating a stock sale by Myron Wentz, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Usana Health Sciences. On February 12, Wentz sold 85,000 SHARES OF Usana stock, curiously at a five-year high price of $60.89 per share.
According to Roddy Boyd at the New York Post:
The regulators are examining the sale to see if Wentz had been tipped off to questions being asked by the Fraud Discovery Institute’s Barry Minkow.
Boyd also writes: Continue reading