In 1983, Rich was indicted for trading illegally with Iran while Islamic revolutionaries were holding the American embassy hostage in Tehran. Along with his associate, "Pinky" Green, he fled to Switzerland. In 2001, Steinhardt, a big-time operator in Democratic circles, convinced Bill Clinton to give Rich a scandalous presidential pardon, but Rich remains in Switzerland to avoid paying his tax bill.Jim Cramer is a crook. Wall Street is full of crooks. The next time you see CNBC, keep that in mind. They are not reporting. They are trying to sell you something and, quite possibly, trying to manipulate the market.
In the early 1990s, Steinhardt shut down his hedge fund after he was implicated in a scheme to corner the U.S. treasuries market - a horrendous infraction with serious implications for the U.S. economy.
So this is a rough crowd. Says one Wall Street trader: "It was the day the bad guys came to town - when Steinhardt and his people arrived."
One of Steinhardt's people is Jim Cramer. Another is Cramer's wife, who was known as the "Trading Goddess" when she worked as Steinhardt's head trader. Maria Bartiromo, a CNBC anchor known as the "Money Honey," is married to the top partner in Steinhardt's newest hedge fund. (A former employee of Cramer's hedge fund has written that Cramer often fed tips to the Money Honey, trading ahead of her stories, and it is rumored that she recruited him to CNBC.)
And then there is David Rocker, the short-selling hedge fund manager believed to be scheming, along with Cramer and Herb, with Gradient Analytics, the financial research shop under SEC investigation in 2006.
Cramer says he's met Rocker only once - apparently while squeezing the grapefruit at some grocery store. But the truth is, Cramer knows Rocker well. Rocker is a former employee of Steinhardt's hedge fund. He worked there at the same time as the Trading Goddess.
And, until recently, Rocker was the largest outside shareholder in Cramer's website, TheStreet.com. Cramer sometimes quotes the hedge fund manager on his television show, and once interviewed him live. Rocker is also a regular writer for TheStreet.com, where he bashes stocks that Cramer subsequently also bashes in multiple stories on both the website and CNBC.
In February 2006, the SEC is investigating Gradient Analytics for disseminating false information about public companies. The agency has affidavits from former employees who say that Gradient's "independent research" is produced by recent University of Arizona graduates who know little to nothing about finance and essentially take dictation from hedge fund managers, including David Rocker.
One of these employees says that Herb conspired with Rocker to hold his negative stories (premised on Gradient's false information) until Rocker could establish short positions. This is called front-running - a jailable offense. It is reasonable to suspect that Rocker had similar relationships with TheStreet.com (of which he has owned a substantial portion) and other media.
Not long before Cramer announced his SEC subpoenas, Rocker sold all of his shares in TheStreet.com. Cramer sold around $2 million of his own shares. If Cramer knew about the SEC investigation before he sold his shares, which was almost certainly the case, he was trading on insider information - another jailable offense.
But Cramer don't know nothin' about nothin'. And Herb thinks the SEC investigation is an outrage. So Herb and Cramer have commandeered CNBC. They are live on CNBC. Herb has jabbered something about a conspiracy - a conspiracy to get Herb.
And now Cramer is going to show us something.
He's pulled out a big, red magic marker. Veins are popping, rope-like, from his bald cranium. And he's snarling. Cramer is actually snarling while he uses the big red magic marker to scribble something on a piece of paper.
He holds the paper up to the camera.
It's...it's his government subpoena...Cramer has vandalized his government subpoena! On live TV... in big red letters...
It says, "BULL!"
Now, one last bit about how this all relates to the financial crisis. The SEC is investigating whether abusive and illegal naked short selling brought down Bear Stearnes and Lehman as well as many other companies.
SEC Chairman Christopher Cox, 55, told the Senate Banking Committee yesterday the agency is investigating whether illegal trading contributed to the collapse of Bear Stearns in March and the 75 percent drop in the market value of Lehman Brothers this year. The probe focuses on traders who seek to profit by intentionally spreading false information about the New York- based firms.In the Jon Stewart video, you can see Cramer talking up Bear Stearns. That doesn't sound like he or one of his hedge fund buddies going short. But remember, naked short sellers will often try to pump a stock before they trash it to create a wider spread and, consequently, more profit.