Monthly Archives: July 2011

Tim Durham, the Madoff of the Midwest – BusinessWeek

Charles Ponzi (March 3, 1882–January 18, 1949)...

Charles Ponzi (March 3, 1882–January 18, 1949)

This spring, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the southern district of Indiana indicted Durham and two of his associates, Rick D. Snow and James F. Cochran, on 12 charges: one count of conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud, 10 counts of wire fraud, and one count of securities fraud. The indictment charges that from 2005 to 2009, Durham masterminded a Ponzi scheme that defrauded 5,000 investors in Fair Finance out of some $207,246,329, of which only a fraction may be reclaimed. If convicted, Durham and his alleged conspirators could each face 45 years in prison and $3 million in fines. The case is due to go to trial next year, and the court has registered not-guilty pleas for the three defendants, all of whom declined or did not respond to interview requests. But from interviews with numerous associates, a profile of Durham, who Indianapolis has taken to calling the “Midwest Madoff,” has emerged. In retrospect, Durham’s alleged fraud is almost as impressive for its size as for how obvious it should have been.

via Tim Durham, the Madoff of the Midwest – BusinessWeek.

Strange Random Fraud Quote:

“Power corrupts. Knowledge is power. Study hard. Be evil.” – Unknown

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Google’s Walker Says Lawsuits Hurting Innovation

Kent Walker, general counsel for Google Inc., talks about software patent lawsuits in the smartphone industry. Apple Inc. has patent cases against Samsung Electronics Co., HTC Corp. and Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. over their phones running Google’s Android operating system, and each of them has filed patent suits against Apple. Walker speaks with Emily Chang on Bloomberg Television.

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Strange Random Innovation Quote:

“Innovation is not the product of logical thought, although the result is tied to logical structure.” – Albert Einstein


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Betting $4.8 billion in CDS on U.S. debt default – Jul. 26, 2011

Sunday poker 2

Image by Mait Jüriado via Flickr

NEW YORK, CNNMoney — With its winners and losers, Wall Street is often likened to a big casino for obvious reasons. And even when it comes to a possible U.S. default next week, at least a few financial players are looking to cash in on such a bleak turn of events. A small camp of investors are betting that the U.S. government will default on its debt, and they’re putting $4.8 billion of their chips on the table.

In the event of a default, that’s how much financial firms will have to pay out to investors who bought credit default swaps against the U.S. government, according to figures from the Depository Trust and Clearing Corp. With only a week to go until the government breaches its debt ceiling, are these few investors likely to come away with the winnings of a lifetime? Probably not, experts say.”I think we’re a long way away from considering this hypothetical [case],” said Otis Casey, director of credit research at Markit.Debt ceiling: What happens if Congress doesn’t raise it?

A credit default swap, or CDS, is basically an insurance contract against a default, and in this case, $4.8 billion is quite meager in comparison to what those on the other side of the bet are putting down.

via Betting $4.8 billion in CDS on U.S. debt default – Jul. 26, 2011.

Strange Random Gambling Quote:

Gambling with cards or dice or stocks is all one thing. It’s getting money without giving an equivalent for it. – Henry Ward Beecher


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Ontario’s green energy plan feels the heat – BNN News

Icon of Wind Turbines

Image via Wikipedia

An ambitious plan to feed renewable energy into the power grid of Canada‘s economic heartland is under fire and could flame out altogether in the autumn, just two years after its launch. Ontario‘s opposition Progressive Conservative party, who are leading in the polls ahead of an Oct. 6 election, has vowed to scrap a provincial program that pays above-market rates to producers of energy from sources such as the sun and wind. The goal is to generate 13 percent of Ontario’s energy from renewable sources by 2018 and zero from coal by late 2014. The government says the clean energy sector has created more than 13,000 jobs and is on track to reach 50,000 by end-2012. Critics say the ratepayer-funded program is an expensive experiment that is increasing costs for consumers.

Even if the so-called feed-in tariff, or FIT, program dodges the political ax, it remains riddled with problems. Its roll-out has sputtered under the weight of bureaucracy, too few staffers to manage the crush of applications and legal challenges, industry players say. “It is like opening up a great restaurant and just having one waiter and then blaming it on the people wanting to come and eat there,” said Paco Caudet, general manager of Siliken Canada, a unit of Spanish solar panel manufacturer Siliken. “We did expect some hiccups and uncertainties. But it is just way beyond what we expected. … It is a great lack of planning,” Caudet told Reuters.

via Ontario’s green energy plan feels the heat – BNN News.

Strange Random Energy Quote:

“I have no doubt that we will be successful in harnessing the sun’s energy… If sunbeams were weapons of war, we would have had solar energy centuries ago.” – Sir George Porter


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Abu Dhabi Oil Sheikh Writes His Name In The Sand, Two Miles Wide – Christopher Helman – Fuel – Forbes

He's (Ha)Mad, Bad and Filthy Rich

Let’s see Donald Trump top this. On a sandy island in Abu DhabiSheikhHamad bin Hamdan Al Nahyan has inscribed what is in effect the biggest graffiti tag the world has ever seen. Hamad, 63, a scion of the billionaire Abu Dhabi royal family, has gouged his name in capital letters two miles across and half a mile wide. His moniker is so big it can be seen from space as this Google Earth pic demonstrates. The tip of the “H” reaches into the strait that leads to the Arabian Gulf, allowing Hamad to fill the first two letters of his name with water. The “M” looks partially filled as well.

via Abu Dhabi Oil Sheikh Writes His Name In The Sand, Two Miles Wide – Christopher Helman – Fuel – Forbes.

Strange Random Graffiti Quote:

I used to be indecisive; now I’m not sure.” – Famous Graffito

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