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Sam E. Antar
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Sam E. Antar is a convicted felon and a former CPA. As the CFO of Crazy Eddie, Mr. Antar helped mastermind one of the largest securities frauds uncovered during the 1980s. Today, Sam E. Antar advises law enforcement agencies and professionals about white-collar crime and trains them to catch the... More
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Sam Antar
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White Collar Fraud
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  • What is Accounting?
    The best definition of accounting I've ever heard comes from securities attorney Howard Sirota appearing on Russia Today's segment, "US Marks two years since Lehman Brothers collapse."
    The difference between arithmetic and accounting is that in accounting the result can be any number you want it to be.
    Back in the day, my former nemesis Howard Sirota was lead attorney in the successful class action litigation against Crazy Eddie. Today, Sirota represents whistleblowers, such as me, who are frequent targets of retaliation by unscrupulous public companies such as Overstock.com (NASDAQ: OSTK).

    Written by,

    Sam E. Antar

    Disclosure:

    I am a convicted felon and a former CPA. As the criminal CFO of Crazy Eddie, I helped my cousin Eddie Antar and other members of our family mastermind one of the largest securities frauds uncovered during the 1980's. I committed my crimes in cold-blood for fun and profit, and simply because I could.

    If it weren't for the efforts of the FBI, SEC, Postal Inspector's Office, US Attorney's Office, and class action plaintiff's lawyers who investigated, prosecuted, and sued me, I would still be the criminal CFO of Crazy Eddie today.

    There is a saying, "It takes one to know one." Today, I work very closely with the FBI, IRS, SEC, Justice Department, and other federal and state law enforcement agencies in training them to identify and catch white-collar criminals.

    I do not seek or want forgiveness for my vicious crimes from my victims. I plan on frying in hell with other white-collar criminals for a very long time.

    Recently, I exposed GAAP violations by Overstock.com (NASDAQ: OSTK) which caused the company to restate its financial reports for the third time in three years. The SEC is now investigating Overstock.com and its CEO Patrick Byrne for securities law violations (Details here, here, and here).

    In addition, the SEC is now investigating possible GAAP violations by Bidz.com (NASDAQ: BIDZ) after I alerted them about the company's inventory accounting practices.

    I do not own any securities in Overstock.com or Bidz.com, long or short. My investigation of these companies is a freebie for securities regulators to get me into heaven, though I doubt I will ever get there.
    Tags: Accounting
    Sep 16 4:12 AM | Link | Comment!
  • My Life as a White-Collar Criminal
    Last Friday evening, Marcia MacMillan from CTV News Channel (a 24-hour news network in Canada) interviewed me and asked me what it's like to be a white-collar criminal and what role, if any, did morality play in my decisions to commit crime.
     
    To view this video, please click on link here.

    Reflecting on my own white-collar criminal mind leaves no doubt that money is not the only motivating force compelling hardcore criminals to commit crimes. There was also a passion for the act, a sense of accomplishment, that made me enjoy committing my crimes. It is perhaps the same positive feelings of success that law-abiding citizens experience for a legitimate job well-done.

    To better understand the behavior of white-collar criminals, take morality out of the equation. During my years at Crazy Eddie, we never had a single conversation about the morality of our actions. We did not give a damn about right and wrong.

    Hardcore criminals don't question their unethical and immoral conduct. Laws, morality, and ethics are weaknesses of other people. They don’t factor in except by limiting society’s behavior. In our society, morality dictates that people are entitled to the benefit of the doubt. Ironically, the “benefit of a doubt” limits the behavior of law-abiding citizens while giving criminals greater opportunity to commit their crimes. After all, no one likes to be called "a paranoid" or "impolite."

    Our late President Ronald Reagan used to say "trust, but verify." That initial trust gives criminals the freedom to take steps to evade detection. For example, Joseph T. Wells, founder of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, described certain steps I took during Crazy Eddie's audit to successfully execute my crimes:
    Crazy Eddie’s auditors were provided a company office during their examination. They had a key to lock the desk—which they kept in a box of paperclips on top of the desk in full view. After the auditors left for the day, Eddie’s cohorts would unlock the desk, increase the inventory counts on the workpapers and photocopy the altered records. Were the auditors stupid? No, just too trusting. After all, no one wants to think the client is a crook. But it happens all too often. That’s why the profession requires auditors to be skeptical.
    I took advantage of our auditor’s initial trust of management and rigged their audit verification of our books and records. Crazy Eddie's auditors were unable to find any irregularities because we knew exactly what they were looking at. By the time they got around to verifying our financial reports it was too late because we cheated by taking countermeasures to evade detection of our crimes.

    The lesson of the Crazy Eddie fraud is, “Don’t trust, just verify. Be very skeptical.” Learn to exercise “professional paranoia.”

    Written by:

    Sam E. Antar

    Recommended reading on the psychology of white-collar criminals and steps that can be taken to catch them:

    Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination, 1st Edition by Mary-Jo Kranacher (York College, City University of New York), Richard Riley (West Virginia University), Joseph T. Wells (Association of Certified Fraud Examiners)

    Disclosure:

    I am a convicted felon and a former CPA. As the criminal CFO of Crazy Eddie, I helped Eddie Antar and other members of his family mastermind one of the largest securities frauds uncovered during the 1980's. I committed my crimes in cold-blood for fun and profit, and simply because I could.

    If it weren't for the efforts of the FBI, SEC, Postal Inspector's Office, US Attorney's Office, and class action plaintiff's lawyers who investigated, prosecuted, and sued me, I would still be the criminal CFO of Crazy Eddie today.

    There is a saying, "It takes one to know one." Today, I work very closely with the FBI, IRS, SEC, Justice Department, and other federal and state law enforcement agencies in training them to identify and catch white-collar criminals.

    Recently, I exposed financial reporting violations by Overstock.com (NASDAQ: OSTK) as an independent whistleblower which resulted in the company restating its financial reports for the third time in three years. The Securities and Exchange Commission is now investigating Overstock.com and its CEO Patrick Byrne for securities law violations (Details here, here, and here).

    In addition, the SEC is now investigating possible GAAP violations by Bidz.com (NASDAQ: BIDZ) after I alerted them about the company's inventory accounting practices.

    I do not own Overstock.com or Bidz.com securities long or short. My exposure of confirmed financial reporting violations by Overstock.com and possible financial reporting violations by Bidz.com was a freebie to securities regulators to get me into heaven, though I doubt that I will ever get there.

    I do not seek or want forgiveness for my vicious crimes from my victims. I plan on frying in hell with other white-collar criminals for a very long time.
    Jul 25 11:44 PM | Link | Comment!
  • The Danger of Non-violent Organized White-Collar Criminal Groups
    The most difficult crimes to deter, investigate, and prosecute are committed by organized crime groups who share the same race, religion, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds. The social cohesiveness of such criminal groups makes it relatively easy for them to coordinate their actions to effectively execute and cover up their crimes over long periods of time.

    When most people think of organized crime, they think in terms of violent criminal groups such as the Mafia. However, not all organized crime groups use violence in the execution of their crimes.

    Some of the most effective organized crime groups consist of white-collar criminals who do not use any violence at all. Such organized white-collar criminal groups can be found among primarily family based businesses, even after such businesses become public companies because their management is dominated by well coordinated and cohesive family members.

    Members of the Antar family, myself included, who committed the Crazy Eddie fraud, used a combination of deceit, charm, and distraction to effectively commit our crimes over an 18 year period. While we didn’t kill people, we were just as brutal and caused just as much harm as if we were violent criminals by emptying the wallets of our victims. You can steal more with a smile than you can steal with a gun.

    I was recently interviewed by Ilene Carrie (syndicated blogger, editor at Phil's Stock World, and attorney) about the Crazy Eddie fraud and the mind, motivations, and techniques of white-collar criminals. To read part 1 of this provocative interview entitled "No Redemption", please click here.

    I warned her that by the time she finished the interview, I'd make her into a "paranoid schizophrenic" who would never trust another man again.

    Written by:

    Sam E. Antar

    Special thanks to Phil Davis, fellow Seeking Alpha contributor and founder of Phil's Stock World for letting me share my views on white-collar crime with investors.

    Recommended Reading

    August 26, 2009: Jewish Daily Forward - ‘Crazy’ Eddie’s Cousin, a Former Fraudster, Speaks Out on Syrian ‘Subculture of Crime’ by Rebecca Dube

    October 9, 2009: CNN.com - Financial fraud 101 -- Accounting for criminals by Kevin Voigt

    March 9, 2010: Jr Deputy Accountant - The Wall of False Integrity Tour: Stanford (With Sam Antar) by Adrienne Gonzalez

    May 3, 2010: Con Artist Hall of Infamy - Video clips of our interview with Sam Antar of Craaaazy Eddie! by Becca MacLaren

    May 9, 2010: Simoleon Sense - GuestPost: Fraud Girl Interviews Convicted Financial Felon Sam Antar

    May 23, 2010: Simoleone Sense - Guest Post: Fraud Girl “Learning From Frauds, Armstrong’s Denial, & The Body Language of Deceit

    Other featured interviews

    Disclosure

    I am a convicted felon and a former CPA. As the criminal CFO of Crazy Eddie, I helped Eddie Antar and other members of his family mastermind one of the largest securities frauds uncovered during the 1980's. I committed my crimes in cold-blood for fun and profit, and simply because I could.

    If it weren't for the efforts of the FBI, SEC, Postal Inspector's Office, US Attorney's Office, and class action plaintiff's lawyers who investigated, prosecuted, and sued me, I would still be the criminal CFO of Crazy Eddie today.

    There is a saying, "It takes one to know one." Today, I work very closely with the FBI, IRS, SEC, Justice Department, and other federal and state law enforcement agencies in training them to identify and catch white-collar criminals.

    Recently, I exposed financial reporting violations by Overstock.com (NASDAQ: OSTK) as an independent whistleblower. The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating Overstock.com and its CEO Patrick Byrne for securities law violations (Details here and here).

    I do not own Overstock.com securities long or short. My exposure of financial reporting violations by Overstock.com was a freebie to securities regulators to get me into heaven, though I doubt that I will ever there.

    I do not seek or want forgiveness for my vicious crimes from my victims. I plan on frying in hell with other white-collar criminals for a very long time.
    May 24 2:17 AM | Link | Comment!
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