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Harry Beck

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  • Annaly Capital: Cautious About Its High Yield [View article]
    I believe NLY started to get a stronger following after Bill Gross recommended it in BARRON'S (see huthuto's comment above).. NLY is complicated because the assets it invests in do not have a simple structure and there is the potential cost of funding issue. So you end up betting on the jockey as much as the horse, and so far the jockey has a good record.
    Apr 1 11:03 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Plug Power's Recent Drop Is A Great Opportunity [View article]
    The problem with Seeking Alpha is that it is a magnet for pumpers trying to get a headline...and it works.
    Apr 10 09:53 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Coming Demographic Shift: How To Invest [View article]
    Half truths are whole lies:
    1) According to the LPHI filings, the current life settlement market stood at $4 billion in transactions two years ago. According to Conning Research's November 15, 2012 press release, the yearly transactions in 2011 was at $1.2 billion, significantly less than $18 number you concocted. See:

    2) LPHI is currently being sued by the SEC and in multiple class-action lawsuits alleging fraud, stock fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and RICO centering around the way they calculate life expectancies when valuing policies before selling fractional shares of those policies to the investing public (see pages 55-59 in the 10-K/A). LPHI is accused of purchasing a large life insurance policies marketed using life expectancy estimates from traditional providers, and then repricing the same policies for sale to the investing public using a much shorter LE. The plaintiffs claim the shorter LE was provided by a Reno oncologist who under testimony stated he has no actuarial experience and never attended a life settlement conference. The lawsuits have not yet gone to trial.

    3) Life Partner's was recently investigated by a Texas NBC affiliate, KSHB TV 41. This TV investigative report, along with negative articles from several newspapers (like the WSJ), will not help Life Partners turn around sales (see: .

    4) LPHI is quickly running out of cash, with negative CFFO and large reported losses (the amended 10K for the previous fiscal year was filed this week). The company believes in their filings that these losses will continue unless the SEC suit is settled successfully. Despite these losses, the company continues to pay an enormous dividend with over 50% paid out to shares controlled by the founder mostly held in an offshore family trust.

    5) The new 10K is expected soon, and I wonder if your article is designed to pump the stock before it appears? If the management of Life Partners is correct--they sign off on the financials--nothing will change unless the SEC suit is successfully settled. Are you betting that will happen?

    Stating or writing several truths before adding things that aren't true is an old technique of fraudsters and those involved with propaganda. Where I come from, a half-truth is a whole lie.

    BTW, I would like to see Life Partners turn things around, but first they have to settle the SEC and other suits, and then they have to have clients who are getting their expected returns. RIght now there is nothing that indicates to me that anything will change.
    May 3 01:35 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 7 Questions For Plug Power Investors [View article]
    They are choosing this company because they are willing to sell their product for a loss! It is really that simple. Tax credits are off in under two years.
    Apr 14 11:29 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Herbalife: Here's Why You Won't Hear Ackman's Defense This Time [View article]

    I don't know what herb you smoke (lol), but most retail stores have terms to pay their suppliers. Anyhow, HLF was never accused of not having a product for the "business owner." The products do exist. They are accused by Ackman of hiding the fact that a new "business owner" (using your vernacular) has little chance of succeeding, and that the purported "sales" figures are likely distorted.
    Mar 1 02:49 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Gazprom's Khosrazchyot Or Who Depends On Whom? [View article]
    I was long Gazprom a while back and was quickly stopped out. Now I am back in (a little) because the political risk probably won't get any greater. The corruption will never disappear, but as others noted the P/E and forward earnings ratios are insanely cheap, cheaper than Egypt, Pakistan and Lebanon.
    Mar 13 05:11 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Gazprom Net Income Drops 37%: Should You Be Worried? [View article]
    I became frustrated with Gazprom and shifted into RSX a while back, similar to your suggestion in this article. At some point the world has to recognize how cheap Russia is. I still can't figure out how it can trade cheaper than Pakistan, since the political risk is better and the corruption isn't worse. The upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi could be the inflection point. I guess we'll know in a year.
    Mar 29 05:57 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Herbalife: Here's Why You Won't Hear Ackman's Defense This Time [View article]
    This is relatively simple, at least to me: Any law that is not enforceable isn't a law. Even if Ackman is correct (and he probably is) no regulator wants to take on the MLM industry just because almost everyone who enters a scheme loses money. It is just like someone starting out as an insurance agent or stockbroker...over 95% will not be around in a few years. The regulators don't care if 95% of the MLM people lose money. So if no statute to protect the people who buy into a MLM scheme is enforced, Ackman can be both right about the alleged fraud and wrong about the stock price.

    This could be one mother of a squeeze. Ackman can hedge most of his position easily enough, but at some point the stock price separates itself from reality making Ichan the financial winner.
    Mar 1 02:33 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Not All Dividends Are Worth It [View article]
    Life Partners is subject to a Temporary Restraining Order that prevents the company from paying a dividend, at least until after a September 24 hearing. Until then the judge will not them dissipate assets in a way that might enrich management.
    Aug 30 09:44 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Citron vs. Harbin: 5 Questions Shorts and Longs Should Be Asking [View article]

    I have a book that will be published this summer that contains a chapter about fraud. My research determined the amount of fraud in China is massive. For example, how can you have $1 billion + (US dollars) Ponzi schemes using ant farms without someone in the government knowing about it? How can all these RTOs go bust without consequences from the country where each firm is domiciled? China is easily on par with the USA in terms of total fraud. The major exception is with the government, with China being far more corrupt.
    Jun 24 11:39 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Citron vs. Harbin: 5 Questions Shorts and Longs Should Be Asking [View article]
    Nice balanced write-up.

    There is alleged to be a fraud with Chinese RTOs (Perhaps something similar is going on here?) that begins with pumping up the price of the stock. Then the chairman, his wife or whoever "borrows" from a friendly bank using a ton of inflated stock as collateral. The loan is non-recourse. Then the bank hedges their bet with PUTs knowing the loan will never be paid off. The stock is eventually sold, the stock price collapses, the bank loses nothing and keeps the family business. Everyone wins but the USA investors. Is that going on here? Is Left right (couldn't resist the pun) or is Left wrong? We'll know by December.
    Jun 24 10:13 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Did Herbalife Executives Conspire To Commit Mail Fraud? [View article]
    The problem is the the FBI won't comment and HLF issued a statement denying any knowledge of a probe. Even if there were a probe, it is possible HLF would not know about it early on until the agents in the cheap suits knocked on their door. The other problem is that these probes take years, not months. This isn't collapsing anytime soon...certainly not this year.
    Apr 14 11:40 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • NQ Mobile Posts Mixed Results, Guides Q1 And FY14 Higher: So Was The Drop Justified? [View article]
    Actually, some of these companies make up numbers all the time. The Chinese RTO scams are legendary. This is not racism, but fact. China has fewer security laws, much less enforcement than in the US (and ours is poor), and a lot more people. As in the USA, fraud is ubiquitous. Once discovered, the questions are: 1) What is the best and safest way to short these companies; and 2) What is the end game that management is attempting to run? Sometimes, it is to steal through other entities controlled by family members. With HRBN, the end game was a big surprise. The shorts were right, but they can sometimes lose being right if they get the end game wrong or it the stock don't crack fast enough.
    Apr 14 11:16 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • NQ Mobile's Ugly And Highly Questionable Earnings [View article]
    This is the point. There is too much that cannot be explained, and will likely NEVER be explained unless the numbers were never real to begin with. That is the only explanation:The numbers were never real to begin with.
    Apr 14 11:01 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is This The End Of Life Partners Holdings? [View article]
    Life Partners put out a press release sounding like they had a complete victory. Still, Pardo and Peden along with Life Partners were found to have violated 12b-20, 13a-1 13a-13 of the 1934 Act. Pardo violated 13a-14. Pardo, Peden and Life Partners violated 17(a)(1) of the 1933 Act.

    The stock is up with the faithful hoping this changes the continued losses. The problem is that testimony was heard indicating the company knew returns were much, much less than promoted to the investing public, and that master licensees didn't know the LEs were off by so much. This verdict (no matter how you look at it) doesn't change the poor returns the fractional investors have received on average in the past, forcing many to resell some policies in an effort to raise cash. Resales are now 60%+ of the overall revenue. I am not sure how much trust new fractional investors will have in the company, regardless of the eventual outcome (it ain't over yet). After all, there has been much negative publicity in the media about how these investments have performed, and why the State of Texas and the SEC wanted to tackle Life Partners, Pardo and Peden.

    Life Partners, Pardo and Peden intend to ask the judge to dismiss all claims regarding revenue recognition. Even if successful to dismiss these claims, it is probable Life Partners will grow only if they have a product that gives the returns investors want, and it on average has to be better than 1 or 2 percent. Assuming fractional investments are a security, the current returns will have to be disclosed using an accepted performance presentation standard. If the fractional investments are not considered a security, Life Partners can likely continue to do whatever they want.
    Feb 4 02:05 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment