Truth is MF Global Stole $1.2 Billion

Posted: Jan 31, 2012 12:01 AM

Read an article in the WSJ that the $1.2 Billion of customer funds that are missing will never be recovered. Sad news indeed.

However, why are the reporters sugar coating the incident with soft verbiage? The money hasn’t vaporized as they write,

As the sprawling probe that includes regulators, criminal and congressional investigators, and court-appointed trustees grinds on, the findings so far suggest that a “significant amount” of the money could have “vaporized” as a result of chaotic trading at MF Global during the week before the company’s Oct. 31 bankruptcy filing, said a person close to the investigation.

The truth is it was STOLEN.

MF Global went into customer segregated accounts and stole the money from their own customers. That’s like robbing a bank. Shouldn’t RICO statutes and all kinds of other law enforcement agencies be writing subpeonas and questioning the top management constantly to find out how they pulled off the grand heist?

This was an articulated strategy. No one I know that ever headed a futures commission merchant can believe it happened because it’s so out of the realm of the normal ethical operation of a business. In the futures industry, there isn’t a lower crime. I suppose if we were to try and find a criminal equivalent, it would be child molesting.

Corzine chased yield. It was an idea cooked up to try and improve the cash flow of MF. When it went bad, he dipped into customer accounts and stole their money.

Of the $6 billion kept at MF Global by farmers, hedge funds, floor traders and other customers when panic erupted over its exposure to European sovereign debt and shaky financial outlook, about $5.3 billion has been located, according to James Giddens, the bankruptcy trustee for the securities firm’s U.S.-based brokerage operation

These are people that put their own capital on the line to hedge their business production, speculate and made money in the marketplace. There is enough risk in trading futures without having to look over your shoulder and worry about your clearing firm stealing from you.

I can understand certain higher officials trying to soften the blow with language that isn’t so strong. Market volume has been compromised, along with faith and trust in the market system. They are worried about rebuilding it and drawing strong attention to the nefarious practices of Jon Corzine and MF Global don’t help matters. At the government level, they are all trying to protect Corzine and themselves. They missed it of course, because no amount of regulation will prevent a criminal from doing what they are going to do.

But for the sake of transparency, can’t the media just call a spade a spade. It was stolen. Or perhaps the next time a pick pocket gets your wallet you would prefer that we just say your money was vaporized.
It won’t make the loss feel any better for you, but maybe it will help to rebuild the character of the perpetrator.

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