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   Strategies & Market TrendsAnthony @ Equity Investigations, Dear Anthony,

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From: StockDung6/4/2019 11:58:17 AM
   of 121954
Karen Cicero Vs Regis Possino

This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 05/27/2016 03:13:09

Case SummaryOn 02/20/2013 a Family - Marriage Dissolution/Divorce case was filed by Karen Cicero against Regis Possino in the jurisdiction of Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California.

Case Details
Case NumberXXXX8108Filing Date02/20/2013Case StatusPending - Other Pending
Case TypeFamily - Marriage Dissolution/Divorce JurisdictionLos Angeles County Superior CourtsJudgeGordon, Scott M
CourthouseStanley Mosk CourthouseCountyLos AngelesStateCalifornia
Party Details
PetitionerCicero KarenRepresented ByFriedman David Howard
RespondentPossino RegisRepresented ByUnrepresented
Court DocumentsCourt documents are not available for this case.

Docket Entries
01/20/2015Substitution of Attorney Filed by Petitioner
06/19/2014Notice-Case Review Re Judgment
12/19/2013Notice-Case Review Re Default
06/12/2013Proof of Service-Summons & Com
05/23/2013Notice-Status Conference-POS
02/20/2013Summons-Family Law Filed by Petitioner
02/20/2013Petition Filed by Petitioner
02/20/2013Declaration-Uniform Custody Minor' Filed by Petitioner

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To: StockDung who wrote (121908)6/4/2019 12:02:38 PM
From: StockDung
   of 121954
I’m coming from the world of investment banking and have raised million over the years for public companies and such.
I’ve done a smattering of real estate deals for myself over the years and have been generally pretty successful, but it was a part time thing.
I’m now retired, and decided that my next business incarnation was to be as a real estate mogul.
I dont have an interest in flipping smaler properties, such as houses. Im more interested in larger office complexes.
It seems that your advice is the same, but the project much larger. If I have a few office building s that I found in a bankruptcy ( which I do ) what do you suggest is the best way to buy them as a portfilio property, or as a flip to a larger buyer such as a hedge fund or a trust?
I’m currently evaluating the income, but so far they seem to be quite impressive in that they all cash flow positive.
Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Regis P

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From: StockDung7/3/2019 10:14:01 AM
   of 121954
Ziasuns accountant. After all I sent Brent Baker on these crooks while at SEC picks them up as clients


The SEC also announced that R. Gordon Jones, a former Blue Earth accountant, has agreed to a deal that would force him to pay a $70,000 penalty and prevent him from working as an accountant before the SEC going forward.

S. Jeffrey Jones, a former Blue Earth auditor, has agreed to a deal that prohibits him from practicing before the SEC, but will have the option of asking to have that ban lifted after two years.

Under the terms of the administrative settlements, neither Jones admitted or denied the SEC's findings.

Brent Baker of Clyde Snow & Sessions, which represents Potts and Woodard, told Law360 on July 1 that his clients "are looking forward to having all the facts come out and putting this matter behind them as soon as possible."

"This case is overreaching, overly-aggressive and after a 3-year staccato investigation, is thinly pled," he added.

SEC Accuses 4 Execs Of Masterminding Accounting Fraud

By Ryan Boysen

Share us on: By Ryan Boysen

Law360 (June 28, 2019, 7:53 PM EDT) -- The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday hit four former executives of Blue Earth Inc. with a suit alleging they repeatedly lied about the defunct clean energy company's prospects to investors and the Nasdaq to raise nearly $30 million.

In its nine-count complaint, the SEC said executives Johnny R. Thomas, John C. Francis, Jonathan Brett Woodard and Robert C. Potts blatantly lied about the status of a batch of contracts over and over from 2014 to 2015, violating securities laws in the process.

In SEC filings, investor presentations and an application to be traded on the Nasdaq, the four men and Blue Earth repeatedly claimed they held contracts with an unidentified meat processor that would allow them to build clean power plants at seven sites, transforming Blue Earth into an independent power producer and locking in several hundred million dollars in future revenue.

Those contracts were supposed to be the beating heart of Blue Earth's business model, but in Friday's complaint, the SEC said there was one major problem: The "contracts" were actually just nonbinding term sheets, essentially planning documents.

The meat processor only ended up signing contracts for two of the seven sites, and Blue Earth only ever began work on one relatively small project, even as it trumpeted its nonexistent progress on all seven.

The four men "defrauded investors by materially misrepresenting the company's scope of business operations and financial condition," the agency said in a statement.

The SEC also announced that R. Gordon Jones, a former Blue Earth accountant, has agreed to a deal that would force him to pay a $70,000 penalty and prevent him from working as an accountant before the SEC going forward.

S. Jeffrey Jones, a former Blue Earth auditor, has agreed to a deal that prohibits him from practicing before the SEC, but will have the option of asking to have that ban lifted after two years.

Under the terms of the administrative settlements, neither Jones admitted or denied the SEC's findings.

Brent Baker of Clyde Snow & Sessions, which represents Potts and Woodard, told Law360 on July 1 that his clients "are looking forward to having all the facts come out and putting this matter behind them as soon as possible."

"This case is overreaching, overly-aggressive and after a 3-year staccato investigation, is thinly pled," he added.

Led by "longtime business partners" Thomas and Francis, Blue Earth was a relatively small clean energy installation company when it sought to transform itself in 2013 by purchasing IPS Power Engineering Inc. and Global Renewable Energy Group Inc.

Both companies were run by Woodard and Potts. IPS "purported to specialize" in the engineering and construction of combined heat and power plants, although at the time it had "minimal assets and liabilities, and total revenues of only $2,500 as of [June 2013]," the SEC said.

GREG's primary business, meanwhile, was to "assist IPS in raising capital for possible CHP projects ... as of June 30, 2013, its sole asset consisted of $221 in cash," the SEC said.

What GREG and IPS did have, however, was a budding relationship with the unnamed meat processor. Blue Earth acquired both in exchange for roughly 15 million shares of its common stock, and Blue Earth valued its new subsidiaries at $44 million, a valuation that was almost entirely dependent on the hypothetical power plants it hoped to build for the meat processor.

Before and after the merger, Blue Earth issued press releases saying it planned to build the plants and expected to "generate recurring revenues of more than $800 million."

The next month, Blue Earth signed seven nonbinding term sheets with the meat processor to explore the construction of seven power plants that would supply power to the meat processor at a cheaper rate than local utilities.

The SEC said those documents were exceedingly clear that they were not formal contracts, however, and only expressed the parties' intention to continue looking into whether or not the power plant projects might ultimately make sense.

Nonetheless, over the next year, Blue Earth's four principals repeatedly characterized the term sheets as binding "contracts" and said the power plant projects were well underway.

Those statements were made in a Form 10-K filing, press releases and investor pitches, among other things, the SEC said.

In the spring of 2014, Blue Earth successfully applied to have its stock traded on the Nasdaq, an approval that again hinged on the company's representation of the contracts as totally locked down.

In reality, the SEC said, the meat processor only agreed to sign two of the contracts, and Blue Earth wasn't even able to complete the smaller of the two projects due to a lack of funds and other complications.

From late 2013 to the end of 2014, Blue Earth was able to raise a total of $27 million from investors through stock sales, with $10 million coming from a single investor.

By late 2014, Blue Earth's relationship with the meat processing company had soured, the SEC said, and the company finally fell into bankruptcy in 2016. It's unclear from the complaint exactly how much money Blue Earth's investors ultimately lost.

The SEC did not respond Friday to a request for comment. Contact information for Thomas, Francis, Woodard and Potts was not available.

The SEC is represented by its own Suzanne J. Romajas, Carolyn M. Welshhans, Nina B. Finston, Margaret W. Smith, John S. Crimmins and Victor Tabak.

Thomas and Francis are represented by Randall Lee of Cooley LLP and Adam Trigg of Bergeson LLP.

Potts and Woodard are represented by Brent R. Baker and Keith Woodwell of Clyde Snow & Sessions.

The case is Securities and Exchange Commission v. Thomas et al., case number 2:19-cv-01132, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada.

--Editing by Jay Jackson Jr.

Update: This article has been updated with additional counsel information and additional comment from counsel for Potts and Woodard.

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From: StockDung7/6/2019 4:23:36 PM
   of 121954
PATRICK MAGA BYRNE->Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne Used To Hate Donald Trump. Now, He's Kind of a Fan.Why did a leading businessman go from calling Donald Trump "a national disgrace" to saying he's doing a good job?

NICK GILLESPIE | 6.26.2019 2:45 PM CEO Patrick Byrne at a 2017 Bitcoin event in New York. (Curtis Means/ACE Pictures/Newscom)

Before Donald Trump took office, it was hard to find a tougher critic of him than Patrick Byrne, the libertarian CEO of the online retailer He called Trump a "disgrace to America" and rebuked the reality TV star for his comments about Mexican "rapists" and Sen. John McCain being captured during the Vietnam War.

"I don't consider Donald Trump a businessman," Byrne told Reason in October 2016. "[He] inherited $300 million and ran it all the way up to zero, went bankrupt four times…shafted bondholders…He's a fake capitalist and fake businessman." (To be fair, Byrne, who endorsed Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson and bankrolled a documentary critical of the two-party system, was equally outspoken against Hillary Clinton, whom he said "should be in an orange jumpsuit."

But now Byrne has reconsidered his views on President Trump, who he says is dismantling the administrative state and deregulating the economy in powerful ways. Byrne, who wrote his Stanford doctoral dissertation on the limited-government philosophy of Robert Nozick, even says that Trump is right to challenge China on trade and that libertarians need to be willing to confront places where the world is more complicated than our theories allow. He says that while there are still many things that bother him about the president—especially his rhetorical style—it's time to realize Trump is not only a far better president than Hillary Clinton would have been, but has moved things forward on issues such as tax reform, criminal justice reform, and school choice.

Often mentioned as a potential presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party, Byrne tells Reason's Nick Gillespie he will not be pursuing the nomination.

Audio production by Ian Keyser.

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To: StockDung who wrote (121911)7/16/2019 1:53:14 PM
From: Bocor
   of 121954
Why did a leading businessman go from calling Donald Trump "a national disgrace" to saying he's doing a good job?

Why did Sen. Lindsey Graham called President Donald Trump a "race-baiting xenophobic bigot" in 2015 but in 2018 claimed that he had "never heard him make a single racist statement."

Politics and money make strange bedfellows at times.

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From: Glenn Petersen7/19/2019 9:35:29 PM
   of 121954
Former CEO of Power Solutions International indicted for fraud

Gary Winemaster and two other former employees allegedly inflated revenue by nearly $25 million.

Claire Bushey
Crain's Chicago Business
July 19, 2019

Power Solutions International Inc. is based in Wood Dale.

The U.S. Attorney's Office has indicted the former chief executive at suburban engine-maker Power Solutions International for fraud, while securities regulators say the company overstated earnings by almost $25 million.

Former CEO Gary Winemaster, 61, along with the company’s former vice president of sales and general manager for heavy-duty products "fraudulently inflated PSI’s revenue in order to try to meet PSI’s prior revenue guidance and analysts’ revenue expectations," according to a lawsuit filed by the Securities & Exchange Commission. "PSI issued materially misstated financial statements in its public filings for every period from the fourth quarter of 2014 through the fourth quarter of 2015."

Winemaster, Davis and Needham are each being indicted with one count of securities fraud and 10 counts of wire fraud, according to an indictment unsealed Thursday at federal court in Chicago. Winemaster also was indicted on making false statements to an auditor and failing to certify financial reports.

Winemaster’s lawyer John Sikora said in an email the indictment “is the result of an over-aggressive theory of prosecution that is attempting to criminalize ordinary business practices and business setbacks.”

Winemaster owned 35 percent of PSI’s stock, making him the company’s largest shareholder. He never sold it, so he “suffered more than any other individual as a result of the negative impact on PSI’s business of the unprecedented downturn in the oil market.” Davis and Needham could not immediately be reached for comment.

In 2016, a former employee alleged PSI had improperly reported revenue. The board of directors hired outside counsel to investigate "and promptly disclosed its investigation to the government," PSI spokesman Philip Kranz said in an email. "Since that time, PSI has revamped its executive leadership and sales, finance, and accounting teams, and strengthened its policies, procedures and internal controls."

The company, which was founded by Winemaster and his father in 1985, makes engines that use alternative fuel like natural gas or propane. They help power oil and gas wells, as well as going into generators, forklifts and other industrial equipment. The company reported $417 million in fiscal 2017, the most recent financial information available. It was forced to restate earnings in May that reduced revenue by $846,000 in the fourth quarter of 2014 and more than $24 million in fiscal 2015, according to the SEC’s lawsuit.

The three men used a variety of techniques to inflate revenue, the lawsuit said. These allegedly included reporting sales when customers hadn’t agreed to accept the product, when work wasn’t completed to specifications or when the men "had negotiated improper 'bill and hold' arrangements"—where customers pay and receive their product later. They also reported revenue that exceeded sale prices.

While doing this, the lawsuit says the three men "misled certain members of PSI’s accounting department, or hid information from them, to ensure that PSI recognized revenue from the transactions in question . . . in an effort to meet PSI’s revenue targets."

But Winemaster’s lawyer said in the email that the acts described in the indictment “include real sales where real customers paid PSI for actual products. Mr. Winemaster intends to fight the charges.”

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From: Glenn Petersen7/25/2019 10:25:11 PM
   of 121954
The FBI thinks Long Island Iced Tea’s infamous pivot to blockchain was sweetened by insider trading

By John Detrixhe & Justin Rohrlich
July 25, 2019

Reuters/Joshua Roberts
The Feds have questions

Even during the heady days of the epic bitcoin bubble in 2017, Long Island Iced Tea Corp.’s pivot to blockchain was a particularly brash ploy to latch onto the crypto hype. More than a year later, court records show that authorities are still digging into what they believe was a sophisticated insider trading operation designed to supercharge the stock’s rise.

The beverage company’s stock skyrocketed nearly 300% when it said it was changing its name to Long Blockchain on Dec. 21, 2017, and indicated that it was “shifting its primary corporate focus” from tea to distributed-ledger technology. Since then, the Farmingdale, New York-based company has been delisted from the Nasdaq stock market and investigated by two US financial regulators, with authorities poring over evidence from recorded phone calls and a hacked iPhone.

According to a search warrant request, the FBI is looking for evidence of insider trading and securities fraud connected to Long Island Iced Tea stock, and has focused on conversations about the company that took place between two men, Oliver Lindsay and Gannon Giguiere, who were arrested for securities fraud in relation to a separate company. Those phone messages about Long Island Iced Tea may also include conversations with a wealthy New Zealander named Eric Watson, who hasn’t been charged with wrongdoing.

The FBI also thinks Long Island Iced Tea stock was the target of a so-called “pump-and-dump” scheme, according to the search warrant document. The way these scams typically work is that promoters buy a cheap stock, start hyping it to investors with eye-catching claims, then sell their own holdings during the resulting mania, hopefully securing a profit before the stock comes crashing down. The FBI says in its warrant that proceeds from these scams can be distributed to accomplices through offshore back channels.

“Anytime there’s a new technology like blockchain, and there’s any kind of mania around it, this is what the fraudsters take advantage of,” said Joshua White, assistant professor of finance at Vanderbilt University. A similar pattern took place amid computer software hype in the 1980s, the internet at the turn of this century, and marijuana stocks more recently.

“It’s a winning formula,” said White, who authored a penny-stock analysis for the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Long Island Iced Tea’s flirtation with bitcoin mania was perhaps too successful. When its stock blasted off amid the crypto bubble’s media frenzy, it caught the attention of journalists, traders, as well as the chairman of the SEC. While scams involving smaller companies are far from uncommon in the US, Long Island Iced Tea was a bigger fish than usual, had had a star-studded executive board, and was trading on the Nasdaq exchange.

The FBI’s search warrant shows a deepening investigation that is uncovering a new layer, and providing more insight into the mechanics of stock manipulation.

iPhone messagesThe FBI started out investigating Lindsay and Giguiere for securities fraud in a company called Kelvin Medical, according to the search warrant, which led authorities to arrest them. After seizing their cell phones and extracting evidence, the FBI requested a search warrant related to Long Island Iced Tea. The SEC has a case against Kelvin Medical that appears to be ongoing.

“Very few scammers will be content to have one thing going,” said Dennis Franks, a security consultant who oversaw complex investigations during a 22-year career with the FBI. “They’ll have a lot of other things going, too.”

One of the men arrested, Lindsay, is a Canadian citizen who mainly lived in Georgetown, Cayman Islands, and also ran an offshore brokerage, according to the search warrant. The other, Giguiere, operated, a now-defunct website that promoted stocks of small, risky companies, commonly called “penny stocks.” The FBI thinks both of them were engaged in insider trading of Long Island Iced Tea, according to the search warrant.

After Lindsay and Giguiere’s arrests in July 2018, FBI agents were able to hack into Lindsay’s iPhone and extract months of text message conversations, according to the search warrant. (Investigators haven’t been able to get into Giguiere’s device.) The US government is also receiving information about the pair’s alleged market manipulation from an informant, described as “CHS,” who had allegedly earlier conspired to commit securities fraud. This person spoke with Lindsay and Giguiere about a separate alleged fraud involving Kelvin Medical:

The FBI thinks a person named “Eric W” in a series of WhatsApp messages is Eric Watson, who owned around 15% of the shares in Long Island Iced Tea at about the time of the infamous blockchain pivot, according to the search warrant. Watson is a wealthy New Zealander whose liaisons with models, and a bathroom fight with actor Russell Crowe, have been occasional tabloid fodder. He acquired American Apparel along with Jon Ledecky, a wealthy investor and sports team owner, in 2006.

Greg Bowker/New Zealand Herald

Long Island Iced Tea shareholder Eric Watson.Watson has lived in London since about 2002, according to separate court documents in the UK. He came into Long Island Iced Tea in 2015, two years before its blockchain pivot, when it was acquired by Cullen Agriculture Holding, a company he controlled.

Lawyers for Watson, Lindsay, and Giguiere didn’t respond to calls and email requests for comment. Long Blockchain also didn’t respond to calls and an email request for comment.

“Let’s get going”Non-alcoholic iced tea wasn’t especially popular in September 2017, but bitcoin was. The original crypto asset had tripled in value since the beginning of the year. News stories were bouncing around the internet about people who had made millions betting on bitcoin, which would climb to its zenith that December.

By the time Long Island Iced Tea’s stock blasted off in December 2017, Watson had been having conversations about the company with Lindsay for at least three months, according to the search warrant:

Another name that comes up in the search warrant is Julian Davidson. The document doesn’t definitively link the conversations to Long Island Iced Tea’s executive chairman, but it stretches the imagination to think it was anyone else. The FBI notes in its search warrant that Lindsay sent a text file with the contact information for a person named Julian Davidson, described as Executive Chairman of LTEA, the ticker for Long Island Iced Tea. Lindsay also sent a number of WhatsApp messages to a person identified on his phone as Julian Davidson.

Davidson became Long Island Iced Tea’s executive chairman in 2016, and had been with the company since the year before as a consultant. He had industry experience, having been an executive in New Zealand for the Lion Nathan beverage company. Davidson hasn’t been charged with wrongdoing by authorities, and, potentially notably, he resigned from the board a few days before the blockchain pivot was announced on Dec. 21, 2017, according to filings. He didn’t respond to attempts to reach him by email and phone through his attorney.

Steven McNicholl/New Zealand Herald Photograph

Long Island Iced Tea executive chairman Julian Davidson.The US suspects that the “IR program,” short for investor relations program, was really a stock promotion campaign. The FBI search warrant also contains other details that it says are consistent with a so-called “pump-and-dump” scheme.

In addition, in October 2017, government authorities allege that Lindsay sent documentation of a $681,625 wire transfer between an asset management company and Long Island Brand Beverages to a person named Julian Davidson, according to the warrant. The FBI document says this and other evidence provides context for an insider-trading conspiracy, and identifies other possible conspirators.

A chunk of Long Island Iced Tea stock changed hands the following the month as well. The FBI search warrant says an insider trading investigation by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority found that 332,500 shares of Long Island Iced Tea were acquired by CMGT Inc. on Nov. 20, 2017. The shares weren’t purchased in the open market market, but came directly from the beverage company in connection to an offering, according to the search warrant. SEC court documents (pdf) have linked Lindsay to a broker in the Cayman Islands called CMGT Capital Management.

The following message involving “Eric W,” according to the search warrant, detailing advertising spending on Yahoo and Facebook, as well as payments to a blogger, trader, call center, and so on, are common elements of a pump-and-dump scheme. To be exact, the FBI thinks it refers to the “pump” part of the campaign, the search warrant shows:

The penny stock problem childThe US market for stocks with small- and micro-size capitalizations has been a problem area for regulators for decades. It attracts sensational misbehavior: Jordan Belfort, whose boiler room exploits in pumping up dodgy stocks became the basis of the movie Wolf of Wall Street, is the best known, but there are many others each year. The victims are mostly small-time retail investors who get duped.

This puts the SEC in a difficult spot. Authorities want small American companies to be able to raise money from ordinary investors. There may be bad apples, but it’s understandable why watchdogs are reluctant to throw out the entire bunch. Policing thousands of penny stocks, however, is beyond their reach.

It gets more complicated, because small-time traders themselves play a vital role in perpetuating scams. For many of them, the penny stock market is like a lottery. They know some stocks are rigged, and in fact research shows that they seek them out. The idea is to find the stocks with buzz, ride the wave, and then jump out before the whole thing collapses. It usually doesn’t work, but they keep looking for that gambling-fueled dopamine hit.

Postings on InvestorsHub, a website for retail investors, show that small-time traders sensed there was something fishy about Long Island Iced Tea’s pivot: “This such a fraud…. stay away,” a person wrote the day the press release went out. Based on the reaction of shares, investors gambled on it anyway. Stock scams, like the pump-and-dump scheme detailed in the FBI search warrant, wouldn’t work without these supporters.

Kiwi rich listWatson, 60, took a winding path to Long Island Iced Tea, and he has been involved in a range of industries over the years. He became executive chairman of Cullen Investment, a private investment company, in 1995, according to SEC filings. Its portfolio included Bendon, a marketer of women’s lingerie that included licenses to brands like Elle MacPherson Intimates and Stella McCartney, with representation from model Heidi Klum. Its investments also included the New Zealand Warriors rugby team.

“I think of myself as an entrepreneur that is focused on creating value, joining the dots, bringing one and one and one together and hopefully equalling more than three,” Watson told the Otago Daily Times in 2012.

In 2007, Watson and Ledecky formed a blank check company—meaning it raised funds for acquisitions and investments without having identified a target—called Triplecrown. Triplecrown had a star-studded board of directors that included a NetJet executive, a founder of the Carlyle Group private equity firm, and Kerry Kennedy, a human rights activist and daughter of congressman Robert Kennedy. In September 2009, Triplecrown merged with Cullen Agriculture Holdings (CAH), a dairy company that Watson controlled.

In January 2015, CAH said it was merging with Long Island Brand Beverages, whose non-alcoholic teas and other drinks were sold around the Northeast US, and the combined company became known as Long Island Iced Tea Corp. Kennedy resigned from Long Island Iced Tea’s board on September 21, 2017. She didn’t respond to a request for comment through her foundation.

Some of Watson’s previous business ventures didn’t end well. He and several associates settled in 2015 with New Zealand’s financial regulator (pdf), which investigated Watson and others over misleading disclosures regarding a property investment vehicle during the subprime crisis. The watchdog said in its settlement document that while it believed disclosure breaches had occurred, none of the defendants had admitted any liability as part of the settlement. Watson settled in 2001 with the US SEC, which alleged that he withheld trading information during acquisition discussions. He neither admitted nor denied the findings in the SEC’s settlement document.

Courts in recent months have said that he owes millions of dollars in taxes and also owes millions in legal obligations as part of a dispute brought against him by a business associate. A judge reviewing the case said Watson “resorted to deliberate deception,” according to a court document.

“This release drops today, correct?”The FBI alleges that Lindsey and Giguiere were conspiring to manipulate at least two stocks in late 2017, including Long Island Iced Tea, with the aim of cashing in on the blockchain mania, according to the search warrant document. One possibility was a deal or merger with a company called Stater Blockchain, according to the document, a company that said it was developing blockchain technology for financial markets. There are no allegations of wrongdoing by Stater.

Lindsay told “CHS” that “Eric” was having discussions with shareholders that month, according to the search warrant. He said some of those details, even though they contained inside information, were expected to leak out ahead of a letter of intent (LOI), the document shows:

In December 2017, the search warrant shows that Lindsay and Giguiere were exchanging emails related to LTEA—Long Island Iced Tea’s stock ticker at the time—and its “Crypto transaction.” On Dec. 19 and 20, the days before the company’s bombshell press release, Watson was exchanging encrypted document attachments with Lindsay with the words “LIIT Press Release_Block Chain” in the title, the document shows. Several versions of what appeared to be a press release about blockchain changed hands between Lindsay and Watson.

The FBI search warrant says Giguiere and Lindsay exchanged this encrypted text message sometime before the press release hit the wire:

In the meantime, the FBI says account statements show that Long Island Iced Tea shares were bought using brokerage accounts in the names of Giguiere and his wife, Lindsay Giguiere, according to the search warrant. On Dec. 20, 2017, Giguiere’s Robinhood account showed purchases of 17,500 shares, worth about $42,350, at $2.42 per share. His wife’s Scottrade brokerage account showed purchases of the same amount of shares, the document shows.

The beverage-company-cum-blockchain-startup issued its press release the next day:

Long Island Iced Tea Corp. to Rebrand as ‘Long Blockchain Corp.’: Corporate Focus to Shift Towards Opportunities Strategic to Blockchain technologies.

The stock briefly surpassed $14 when the news hit. The FBI says Watson and Lindsay exchanged this message a little after the press release went public, according to the search warrant:

Giguiere and his wife unloaded all the stock they had bought the day before at an average price of around $7 per share, producing gross profits of more than $162,000, according to the FBI’s warrant.

Watson also appears to have sold shares a few days later, according to an SEC filing.

Blockchain-R-UsLong Island Iced Tea’s blockchain-based success didn’t last very long.

In late January 2018, alluding to companies that change their name to something like “Blockchain-R-Us,” SEC chairman Jay Clayton said in a speech that the agency was “looking closely at the disclosures of public companies that shift their business models to capitalize on the perceived promise of distributed ledger technology.”

Long Blockchain was given notice from Nasdaq shortly after that it would be delisted, which finally took place in April 2018, according to filings. Davidson, the board’s former executive chairman, also filed an action against the company in March of that year. The SEC subpoenaed Long Blockchain in July 2018, and Lindsay and Giguiere were arrested that month, according to court documents.

Long Blockchain’s market capitalization crested at more than $60 million during its crypto flirtation, but it has dropped since and is valued at around $9 million. The company has since started a subsidiary for gift cards and loyalty programs. Financial filings show that Long Blockchain has continued posting losses.

The FBI, meanwhile, is still digging. Court records show that FBI special agent Stephanie Schuld filed a follow-on search warrant in May to go through Lindsay’s iPhone again, seeking communications during a broader range of dates, which she thinks will uncover more evidence of securities fraud.

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (121914)7/28/2019 3:29:25 AM
From: Lazarus
   of 121954
I had a penny stock that said they were going to do some sort of bitcoin deal and it went from .002 - .003 up to .19 cents.

Its around .03 now and I'm still holding a pile of shares but I've lost track of what, if anything, they are actually doing.

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From: StockDung7/29/2019 12:46:25 PM
   of 121954
PATRICK BYRNE DATED RUSSIAN SPY->Maria Butina’s Attorney Says Feds Withheld Exculpatory Information Provided By FBI Informant

YouTube screen capture


July 26, 20196:29 PM ET

The CEO of says he provided the FBI with exculpatory information on Maria Butina, a Russian national who pleaded guilty to conspiring to work as a Russian agent.Butina’s attorney is accusing the FBI and federal prosecutors of improperly withholding the exculpatory information.Patrick Byrne, the Overstock executive, told Butina’s attorney and journalist Sara Carter that the FBI encouraged him to collect information on Butina.A lawyer for Maria Butina is accusing federal prosecutors of withholding exculpatory information that the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company provided the FBI about the Russian national.

Robert Driscoll, the Butina lawyer, sent a letter Thursday to Justice Department officials requesting an investigation into possible misconduct by prosecutors and the FBI in handling information from Patrick Byrne, the CEO of online retailer

Driscoll said in the letter, first reported by journalist Sara Carter, that Byrne has come forward to acknowledge he provided the FBI with information about Butina as part of a “non-standard arrangement” he had for years with the bureau. (RELATED: Government Admits Sex Allegations Against Maria Butina Were A Mistake)

Byrne told Driscoll and Carter that he is disclosing his contacts with the FBI because he is uneasy about the investigation and prosecution of Butina, who was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

“Those running the operation were not honest and in the end I realized I was being used in some sort of soft coup,” Byrne told Carter, a Fox News contributor.

“It was something I knew I had to do.”

Byrne first contacted the FBI about Butina after meeting her at a libertarian conference in July 2015. He said the FBI encouraged him to remain in contact with Butina, and to strike up a romantic relationship with her in order to gather information about her efforts to infiltrate conservative political groups in the U.S.

“During this time, [Byrne] stated he acted at the direction of the government and federal agents by, at their instruction, kindling a manipulative romantic relationship with her,” wrote Driscoll.

Robert Driscoll, an attorney for Maria Butina, leaves U.S. District Court after his client’s plea hearing in Washington, U.S., December 13, 2018. REUTERS/Mary F. Calvert

“[Byrne] also told me that some of the details he provided the government regarding Maria in response was exculpatory,” the lawyer added.

Byrne said that prior to the 2016 election, after his relationship with Butina had fizzled, the FBI asked him to re-establish contact with the Russian. According to Driscoll, Byrne said that the request came “from the highest levels of the FBI and intelligence community.”

Byrne told Carter that he initially had concerns Butina was acting illegally on behalf of Russia. He noted that she was eager to establish contacts with political campaigns and spoke openly about her links to Alexander Torshin, who then served on the Russian central bank.

As part of her plea agreement, Butina admitted to reporting back to Torshin about her contacts with conservative operatives, Republican politicians and groups like the National Rifle Association. Prosecutors produced evidence showing Butina and Torshin discussing her plans to establish links to conservative groups and Republican politicians.

Butina, who was sentenced to prison April 26, will leave jail in October. She will likely be deported back to Russia.

Despite his initial concerns, Byrne said he came to believe that Butina was merely “an inquisitive student in favor of better U.S.-Russian relations.” Byrne said he provided that assessment to the FBI and federal prosecutors, most recently in meetings April 5 and April 30.

Driscoll says the prosecutors handling Butina’s case did not provide him with exculpatory evidence from Byrne.

“I write because this new material suggests possible misconduct on the part of federal agents or assistant attorneys who investigated and prosecuted Maria,” wrote Driscoll, who sent his letter to DOJ inspector general Michael Horowitz and U.S. Attorney John Durham, both of whom are reviewing the FBI’s investigations into the Trump campaign.

In his letter, Driscoll said that he asked prosecutors whether confidential informants had provided information about Butina. He also said that he conveyed that he believed Byrne was one of the informants.

Driscoll said he raised the theory in a quest to obtain any exculpatory information that the government had. Prosecutors are required to provide exculpatory information, known as Brady material, to defendants.

“My speculation was flatly denied,” wrote Driscoll, who confirmed to The Daily Caller News Foundation that he sent the letter Thursday to Horowitz and Durham.

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From: StockDung7/29/2019 1:01:40 PM
   of 121954
Alleged Russian spy Maria Butina was apparently doinking the CEO of, who happens to be an FBI informant. He also claims she's totes innocent


Russia Probe Twist: The FBI, A Convicted Russian Agent, & A Billionaire American CEO

by Tyler Durden
Mon, 07/29/2019 - 05:11


If what you already know about the FBI’s investigation into President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia has you wondering what can come next, “make sure you are sitting down because it’s about to get worse,” said Patrick Byrne, the philanthropist and CEO of the mega online retail chain

Byrne revealed never published details about his intimate relationship with the Russian gun right’s activist and libertarian, Maria Butina, who is now serving out her sentence after pleading guilty in 2018 to working as a foreign agent in the U.S. without registering.

In an interview several weeks ago, Byrne recounted first meeting Butina at Freedom Fest 2015. He described the relationship that developed between the two and revealed that he had initiated contact in July, 2015 with the FBI after his first meeting with Butina. He also disclosed that he met twice with Justice Department attorneys in April, 2019 giving a total of seven hours of interviews on the separate occasions. A source directly familiar with the interviews, confirmed those meetings took place.

Butina’s lawyer, Robert Driscoll, also confirmed the relationship between Byrne and Butina. Driscoll stated that he also had relayed the information to the FBI and prosecutors earlier during his trial, and asked repeatedly about any Brady material -exculpatory information – that the bureau may have collected from Byrne on Butina, to no avail. The bureau denied it had any information regarding Byrne and Butina’s relationship, said Driscoll.

On Thursday, Driscoll sent a letter to United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut John Durham, who was appointed by Attorney General William Barr to investigate the FBI’s handling of the Russia investigation; Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who is conducting an investigation into the bureau’s origins of the Trump probe and Corey Amundson, with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility.

“In writing, the government denied the existence of any such Brady material,” Driscoll stated in his letter.

“Orally, during debrief sessions with Maria, I directly told the government that I believed Patrick Byrne, Chief Executive of, who had a sporadic relationship with Maria over a period of years prior to her arrest, was a government informant. My speculation was flatly denied. My associate Alfred Carry made similar assertions in a separate debrief that he covered and was also rebuffed.”

Mr. Byrne has now contacted me and has confirmed that he, indeed, had a ‘non-standard arrangement’ with the FBI for many years, and that beginning in 2015 through Maria’s arrest, he communicated and assisted government agents with their investigation of Maria. During this time, he stated he acted at the direction of the government and federal agents by, at their instruction, kindling a manipulative romantic relationship with her. He also told me that some of the details he provided the government regarding Maria in response was exculpatory - that is, he reported to the government that Maria’s behavior and interaction with him was inconsistent with her being a foreign agent and more likely an idealist and age-appropriate peace activist.”

“As an adjunct university professor and CEO of a public company, Mr. Byrne is a credible source of information, who from my view has little to gain but much to lose by disclosing a sporadic relationship with Maria. His claims are worthy of investigation. Indeed, he has much to say about the government’s handling of Maria’s case that go far beyond the Brady issue I raise in this letter. Regardless of these other issues, which I suggest you pursue directly with him, I was told the following by Mr. Byrne,” Driscoll’s letter states.

Full letter below:

Overstock.ComByrne’s decision to come forward didn’t come lightly. However, he said it was necessary after watching what had transpired between the FBI, the intelligence community and the probe into President Trump’s campaign over the past several years.

“It was something I knew I had to do,” he told this reporter.

“Those running the operation were not honest and in the end I realized I was being used in some sort of soft coup.”

Familiar with the possible backlash he will face, he made the decision to go public after speaking to his mentor and longtime friend billionaire Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. Buffett, whom Byrne describes as his ‘Rabbi,’ sent a statement Tuesday night confirming his meeting with Byrne at his home in Omaha, Nebraska several weeks ago.

“I’ve known Patrick and his family for more than 40 years,” Buffett said in an email to this reporter.

“His father, Jack Byrne, saved GEICO in 1976 and I met his three boys when they were teenagers. Both Mark, the middle son, and Patrick, the youngest, worked for Berkshire Hathaway. Patrick helped the company without pay in solving a difficult business problem. Patrick is very intelligent and patriotic. He comes by Omaha periodically to see me. At the most recent visit – a few weeks ago – though I know nothing about the subject he was describing, I told him to follow his conscience.”

Byrne’s RevealThere are only several other reporters with knowledge of what you are about to read and another who is aware of the situation with Byrne. Byrne recounted his story of his involvement with the FBI and DOJ on video during the private meeting he arranged with this reporter, and several others.

The meeting between Byrne and the journalists took place in New York City. It was a little more than three hours long, for the most part completely on the record and videotaped. He told his story in seven parts.

He said his motivation is to get the truth to the American people about his role with the FBI and what transpired.There were allegations that Byrne revealed regarding other aspects of his involvement with the FBI that could not be verified.

This reporter relayed the full extent of Byrne’s allegations to the FBI last week. On Wednesday the FBI declined to comment on Byrne’s allegations.

Byrne, who is not the typical CEO, is a is familiar with big public battles. A Libertarian with a doctorate in philosophy, Byrne took on Wall Street in 2005. Byrne launched a massive campaign against hedge fund market manipulation and the possibility they were going to crash Wall Street. Some financial giants, along with members of the media, were chomping at the bit to destroy him, he recalled. It wasn’t until the market crashed in 2008 and he won his battle in court that those enemies backed off. But at the time, enemies of Byrne on Wall Street flooded the news with stories making him out to be crazy, “even a picture with a UFO coming out of my head,” said Byrne.

Byrne said he didn’t come forward sooner about his contacts with the FBI, which he describes as a ‘non standard’ relationship with the government, because he wanted to be “judicious and let the system play out,” he said, referring to the government’s ongoing investigation into the FBI’s handling of the Russia Trump probe.

“But I can’t trust that’s what’s going to happen,” he said.

I’ve been holding my breath for more than 12 months watching everything unfold. I’ve never met Trump, never gave the guy money, as soon as he said the stuff about John McCain I stopped listening at the time. This isn’t about Trump, it’s about what’s right for the American people. The public should know the truth.”

Earlier this year Byrne approached the DOJ and met with lawyers on April 5th and 30th. The first meeting was without counsel in Washington D.C. A source directly familiar with the interviews confirmed Byrne’s account of the meetings.

DOJ officials said they could not comment on Byrne’s allegations.

Driscoll noted that the information provided by Byrne should be investigated by Durham.

“Subsequent to Maria’s arrest, incarceration, plea, and sentencing, Byrne has felt remorse for the role he played in Maria’s situation. In view of recent reports of other alleged government misconduct, he has also expressed a fear that political motives may have influenced the government’s handling of Maria’s case,” Driscoll told Durham in his letter.

Byrne’s “recollection of certain conversations with government agents would appear to validate his concern,” Driscoll said.

Byrne Reveals Details About Butina To FBIIn those interviews with Justice Department attorneys, Byrne revealed details about his intimate relationship with the Russian gun right’s activist Butina. Byrne was a keynote speaker on July, 8, 2015 at Freedom Fest, a yearly Libertarian gathering that hosts top speakers in Las Vegas. Shortly after his address, Butina approached him. She was flattering and repeatedly told him she was a fan of his, saying she was a graduate student that had studied the famous libertarian Militon Friedman.

He spoke to her shortly and “brushed her off.”

The young redheaded Russian graduate student then approached him again over the course of the conference and explained that she worked for the Vice Chairman of the Central Bank of Russia and sent by them to make contact with Byrne.

She also said “did you know you’re a famous man in Russia, we watch videos about you and your relationship with Milton Freeman.”

She said she was appointed to lead Russia’s gun right’s group by Lieutenant-General Mikhail Kalashnikov, who was a Russian general, most notably known for his AK-47 machine gun design. The designation by Kalashnikov is considered a huge honor and Byrne then had an “extensive conversation about Russian history and I understood her designation about Kalishnikov was significant.”

She wanted to invite Byrne to Russia to speak at the Central Bank before dignitaries. The speaking engagement would be at a major resort for three days. Butina told Byrne the event would offer him the opportunity to meet senior Russian officials and oligarchs. He didn’t accept the offer because of his security clearance. He then reported Butina and her offer to the FBI.

Communication In Disguise Of A Romantic RelationshipShe told Byrne “we will communicate in disguise of a romantic relationship, I wish to make arrangements with you for this to happen.”

Butina had to have a reason to be texting Byrne and believed that “she was being monitored and proposed that we disguise our discussions as a romantic relationship,” Byrne said.

He admitted he was intrigued by Butina’s intelligence and believed that she if anything could’ve been a great contact and possible opportunity for peace.

“I have been involved with three peace efforts in my life, and stranger things have happened than that someone positive came from such an encounter. However, I was also keenly aware that she might be a Red Sparrow instead.”

Interestingly, then-candidate Donald Trump (who had only recently announced his candidacy for president), was also a keynote speaker at the 2015 event. During a public question and answer, Butina asked Trump several questions, as has been extensively reported by numerous outlets. Byrne had already left Las Vegas by the day Trump spoke and has never communicated with Trump.

Low Level Security Clearance Related To Work At Council On Foreign Relations.Byrne said he had received a low level security clearance early in his career and “after something like this happens, there’s a number you call and I called that number and said there is something interesting, or note worthy going on.”

When he contacted the FBI and then subsequently for the next few months “instead what I got was vague instructions that it would be ok to get to know her better.”

He said there was very little response from the FBI after his initial contact, until Butina asked him to come meet her in New York City. He told the FBI he didn’t want any vague instructions on whether to meet Butina or not because “I didn’t want my security clearance to get pulled.”

At that point the FBI gave him an explicit “green light” to meet with her. He rented a hotel room with two bedrooms because he was under the impression that the romantic texts were simply her way to cover for communicating with him. However, she arrived at the hotel beforehand, occupied the room before Byrne’s arrival, and when he arrived, she made clear that her flirtatious texts were not simply a disguise.

Byrne said that the FBI agents made clear they were skeptical that Butina might be of interest, dismissing her as simply a normal 26 year old Russian graduate student. Over time, Byrne and Butina developed an intimate relationship but at the same time he alleges he was continuously reporting on Butina to the FBI in an effort to convince them that it might be worthwhile to introduce her to some of his contacts at the Council on Foreign Relations. He also noted he reported to the FBI his interactions more frequently with Butina starting in December, 2015, both out of a desire not to lose the possibility of something good coming from this encounter, but also, because Butina was starting to speak more frequently of meeting with big shots in Republican circles.

Butina’s lawyer, Robert Driscoll, told this reporter that Byrne’s disclosure regarding his contact with bureau agents is significant, revealing and should be investigated by the DOJ.

“Patrick Byrne is publicly saying that he was dealing with the government in regards to Maria and I would suspect that the FBI has reports or information regarding these meetings,” said Driscoll, who noted that he repeatedly asked the FBI for all documentation collected on Butina, including interviews with witnesses, notes and any other form of documentation. The FBI, however, repeatedly told Driscoll that there was no exculpatory information to give.

“It would be a Brady violation,” said Driscoll.

“I would have to see if we have to go to court or not. I will have to go the the Office of Professional Responsibility. We’ve asked for the Brady material repeatedly and from the sound of it, it looks like there should be Brady material. We need an explanation to why they didn’t turn any information over to us with regard to Byrne.”

In 2018, Butina pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government without registering. U.S. prosecutors had to walk back accusations they had made during the trial that she was a Russian spy using sex as a tool to gain influence and access. Prosecutors did have evidence that she was passing information to her confidant, high-level Russian official, Alexander Torshin, who headed a Russian bank linked to the Kremlin. Butina is currently serving out her sentence in Florida’s FCI Tallahassee minimum security prison, which ends on Oct. 25. The guilty plea was not an admission that Butina was a Russian spy but a failure to register herself as a Russian citizen working on behalf of her country, Driscoll said.

Byrne’s relationship with Butina was confirmed by a source directly involved in Butina’s investigation. The source confirmed that “she had a relationship with Byrne, they did meet at Freedom Fest in 2015 and had met at various points afterwards in different places. She had nothing negative to say, he always treated her well.”

Oddly, Byrne’s name was not disclosed by prosecutors in the case or by the FBI. And despite the government’s earlier efforts to paint Butina as a Russian spy attempting to infiltrate Republican circles she was never investigated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, which charged 25 Russian agents with interfering in the U.S. election. Further, the FBI, unlike convicted Russian bombshell spy Anna Chapman, did nothing to stop Butina from meeting with high level Republican and conservative figures. The bureau also didn’t warn those conservative figures she had made contact with, even though they had her under surveillance and allegedly Byrne had been reporting on her during that time. As noted in a column by The Hill’s John Solomon Chapman’s actions were handled differently than Butina. When one of Chapman’s associates, who went by the name of Cynthia Murphy, made contact with Alan Patricof, a major Democratic donor close to Hillary Clinton, the FBI acted swiftly to arrest the entire cell.

Driscoll said there was suspicion that the FBI did not disclose all the information it had on Butina and he stated that he believed “Patrick is not the only one” who was giving information to the FBI.

“We’ve thought of several possibilities and some we are more confidant than others. I’m firmly convinced,” said Driscoll, who shared numerous letters and emails with this reporter that he exchanged with the FBI.

Byrne, the FBI and Butina Although, Byrne was then concerned about Butina’s possible motives, he eventually became convinced that she was an intellectual being used by both the Russians and American intelligence apparatus. She was stuck between two highly contentious and secretive governments, he claimed. He relayed those concerns to the FBI, he said.

“From January through March, in 2016 and I was telling (the FBI) I was 50/50, that this was a real opportunity and 50 that it was Red Sparrow,” said Byrne, referencing the American film about Russian spy’s who are trained to use sex as a tool to retrieve information from sources. He said he believed more in the possibility that Butina could be someone with the right connections to be an opportunity for U.S. officials to better understand Russia.

“I actually think that back then I was two-thirds, one-third. It was two-thirds opportunity and maybe one-third, threat. As those months went on, those odds shifted, he said. “She had insisted to me that she was not a spy,” said Byrne. “Yet the more she swanked around in political circles, the more concerned I became that she would get herself in trouble.”

“I was surprised that there was no appetite in letting me connect her to people I know at CFR who are qualified to take such a meeting, but in fact the ‘men in black’ were telling me that was absolutely ridiculous,” said Byrne, who noted that their refusal to even consider pursuing the prospect was something he found “odd.”

“Eventually, her conversations became less about philosophy and it became clear that she was doing things that made me quite uncomfortable,” stated Byrne. “She was basically schmoozing around with the political class and eventually she said to me at one point I want to meet anyone in the Hillary campaign, the Cruz, the Rubio campaigns.”

Butina had also told Byrne, that Torshin, the Russian politician who she had been assisting while she was in the U.S., had sent her to the United States to meet other libertarians and build relations with political figures. She repeated to him numerous times that she was not a spy, even when he directly asked her.

Byrne said he warned Butina: “Maria the United States is not like Russia” and knowing powerful people ‘like oligarchs and politicians’ won’t help if the FBI believes a line has been crossed. Byrne believed Butina was naive but not blameless. He said during the interview if “you’re reporting to any Russian official and you’re doing this stuff and not disclosing yourself, there are these men in black here and they don’t really give a shit who you know here -that’s not going to save you.”

Driscoll noted in his letter to Durham and Horowitz the extent of Byrne’s relationship with the FBI.

At some point prior to the 2016 election, when Byrne’s contact with Maria diminished or ceased, the government asked and encouraged him to renew contact with her and he did so, continuing to inform the government of her activities. Byrne states he was informed by government agents that his pursuit and involvement with Maria (and concomitant surveillance of her) was requested and directed from the highest levels of the FBI and intelligence community.”

“As time passed, Byrne became more and more convinced that Maria was what she said she was—an inquisitive student in favor of better U.S.-Russian relations—and not an agent of the Russian government or someone involved in espionage or illegal activities. He states he conveyed these thoughts and the corroborating facts and observations about Maria to the government.”

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