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Monday, September 26, 2016

April 4 (Bloomberg) — Mark L. Morze knows a good investment opportunity when he sees one, but he hasn’t pursued his fortunes quite the way the rest of us have. Morze, 61, hung his hat for 4 1/2 years at federal prisons in Lompoc and Boron, California, after pleading guilty to two counts of fraud for cooking the books at the infamous carpet-cleaning company ZZZZ Best in the 1980s.

He says he’s baffled that President Barack Obama plans to sign a law tomorrow that amounts to an open invitation for fraud. “I wish legislators would consult with people like me before they write something like this,” he says, sounding dead serious about the offer. “I could tell them, ‘I know what your intent was with this wording, but we can get around it so easily, it cracks me up.”’

I’m sure the last thing U.S. lawmakers were looking for in their zealous bipartisan push for the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act was the inconvenient feedback of a seasoned investment fraudster — albeit one who says he’s rehabilitated and now lectures on the techniques scammers use. Though the JOBS Act was packaged as a plan to streamline rules to help small companies crank out jobs, even its cheerleaders have come up with scant evidence the law will boost employment much, if at all. In an election year when pragmatic politicians are laboring to come off as allies of deep-pocketed business donors, the JOBS Act is a slapdash attempt at securities-law deregulation, plain and simple.

The new law has 22 pages of gems that include new ways for securities analysts to tout their firms’ public offerings, and cool opportunities to avoid rules that force companies to supply audited financial statements. In the end, though, the law that Morze tags as having “real potential for abuse” boils down to two features that don’t bode well for small investors: It lets a lot of companies reveal less about themselves when they sell stock, and, for the first time, it lets companies flog their shares on the Internet.

The Securities and Exchange Commission still has to figure out how the new JOBS rules will read, which just means the unsightly lobbying to diminish investor protection hasn’t yet ended.

There is a lot to dislike about the law, and we will all learn soon enough which ill-advised provisions in the JOBS Act have done the most harm to smaller investors. For the moment, though, the law’s approval of something called “crowdfunding” looks like the most toxic of all.

I wrote about crowdfunding this time last year, having noticed that celebrity Whoopi Goldberg had promoted the idea on her Facebook page, where she continued to plug crowdfunding as recently as last month. Crowdfunding is a way to raise money, as tech types put it, “from the crowd” on the Internet. It became popular when musicians and other artists began using it to solicit online donations for underwriting music tours and films.

  • Isn’t that why we have congress? to keep fraud out of bills?

    • Oh that your belief were truly the situation;……sadly it’s not.

    • ObozoMustGo

      how can you keep fraud out of bills when frauds are writing them? hmmmmmmm…

      • This three-plus too late for some people that were out of jobs before and when the President, Barack H. Obama, came into office. The Barack H. Obama Administration, gave millions of dollars to the EDDs, but they either sat on that money(Lord only knows what they did with it?) because they weren’t letting people get some of it to train for short-term vocational training to get past the period where no one was hiring in any businesses in our local communities.

        They’re only push was to get people to first go out and look for employment at as many Job Fairs, as they could line up to show that the Mayor, Gavin Newsome, was doing something for those unemployed Americans in his city. Yet, again, they, the EDD, would send out as many unemployed job seekers, so they may have had one possilble job opening at htose job fairs, for 500+ Applicants or more, that were made to go see about that one job opening for the dozens of businesses that would set up tables to “talk” to people and give them “pointers” in the worst economy in more than fifty years in the USA!

        It was a plain out scam on the part of the EDD, the Mayor and business community in the private and public sectors!! Make thousands of unemployed people spend extra money that they didn’t have, time to waste at those Godless lines of desperate jobs seekers, hoping that the people in charge knew better, but clearly they didn’t know better. And, in many cases, knew less than the actual workers. So much for that lost time to train people in news jobs in the medical, educational system for reform and the chance to learn new vocational trades, that would have given us a new start, ahead of the unemployment storm that came along in the last three plus years in the USA!

  • deebastet

    I have a big problem with the smile on Cantor’s face. Is he scheming someway to defraud since insider trading now is a no, no.

  • Ed

    This is no accident our congress loves to write rule full of loopholes with a “Fee Good” title.

  • Sir: This article about internet fraud vs. laws, which honest people propose, tells us oh so much about the level of morality in the country that God put here on earth for its capitalism and its moral advancement. “Democracy” portends both God’s desire for capitalism, and therefore the profit motive it engenders. The claim is that we, as united statesers, are “exceptional beyond belief.” But, frankly, it is now extremely difficult to actually know in just which way we are so “exceptional.” “Greed” was the word used by Allan Greenspan, when he had no other explanation for the recent financial collapse here the the united states, after years of his “trust” in the SEC and the financial industry it “regulated.” So, how do the readers of this article interpret this article? THAT is the question. Good Day!

    • montanabill

      So, are you saying Mr. Buckingham, that you believe there is some magic set of laws or form of government that can eliminate fraud from any system of enterprise? Has there ever been such a place? I doubt that even the Democrat’s ultimate goal of 100% government dole, sorry, control could achieve such a state.

      • CrankyToo

        The “Democrat’s ultimate goal of 100% government dole”? Where in the world do you get this crap, montanabill? Doubtless, you’re a Fox Noise and/or Rush Limbaugh devotee, and a hardcore Repugnican.

        • mnhistoryfan

          He’s one of those “we make our own reality” repubs. You can ignore him.

          • CrankyToo

            Sorry, Bro. I couldn’t resist poking him one more time.

        • montanabill

          Or simply an astute observer. P.S. the minute you resort to name calling you have eliminated yourself as a thinker.

          • CrankyToo

            Oh, my mistake. You’re not a DEVOTEE of Fox Noise and Rush Limbaugh, you’re an ASTUTE OBSERVER of those odious gasbags. That sounds like a distinction without a difference. Incidentally, it pains me to think that you (whose posts are uniformly devoid of fact or reason) consider me to be a non-thinker. I’m shattered.

    • mnhistoryfan

      God wants Capitalism! Where is that in the bible? Or in the Constitution? How do you know what God wants?
      You don’t and there is such arrogance in assuming that you do. We know little about God, and believing that you do is the utmost in chutzpah and conceit.
      Even if we were a Christian nation–and we’re not, nor should we be–there’s no link between that and capitalism. That connection came with Calvinism and other Protestant religions in the 18th and 19th centuries.
      This is a major issue in our country today. We should not use religion of any kind to say that it is the will of God. It really trivializes God–like God is on the side of our football team, only with a wider horizon.

  • pennzoil

    when will we ever learn?

  • pennzoil

    when will we ever learn ?

  • That’s why we have checks and balances

  • Working in this industry…fraud is everywhere with or without Sarbanes Oxley. The biggest Fraudersters are not the small companies the large ones and their relationships with the Policitial parties (Republicans in last 100 years protect wallstreet and the 1%)

  • I don’t care what you put in a bill, the crooks out there will find way to use it to steal money from innocent people. It just seems that they are smarter than the people serving in Congress.

  • ObozoMustGo

    More and more of these issues continue to crop up. Fraud in government. Fraud in business. Fraud in investments. Fraud in government programs. Fraud everywhere. This bill or any other bill are NOT the cause of fraud. The cause of fraud is the culture of corruption that pervades America today. And the expansion of government programs that for generations have been teaching people that it’s OK to live off the labor of your neighbor is right at the heart of the matter. Combine that with a government that has sought to remove morality from the public square and what do you have? You have a growing population more inclined to believe they are “entitled” to an every growing list of “necessities of life” along with a significant increase in the morally bankrupt charlatans who think it’s OK to steal from others because after all “they got to get theirs, too!” The answer to these problems is NOT more government regulation and more government programs. It’s exactly the opposite. Less government and more individual responsibility, greater adherence to moral principles and virtues, and very severe punishment of those who commit such frauds. I unfortunately do not believe we can put this cat back in the bag, though. Not unless those of us on the right and those of you on the left can all agree individually to raise our families on morally sound ground. To me, it’s not R vs. D thing. Just my opinion.

    Have a nice day!

    • Obozo are you saying you support this new law because it is less regulated? Does this new law change your attitude about Obama because it is so business friendly and regulation free?

      • ObozoMustGo

        David, the answer is that I am not sure. I have not read the law, nor have I read a counter viewpoint to the one presented here. My post was more directed at cultural observations which I think all decent people of whatever political persuasion can agree on.

        On balance though, my hunch is that this law is likely to be another one of the useless political attempts that accomplishes nothing except “perception politics” for either side that supports it. It is also, like ALL legislation of this sort, going to have unintended consequences some of which are likely to be negative. And yes, fraud may be part of that. Maybe though, the next Microsoft or Apple comes out of it. Who can know for sure, but this we do know: the left will decry the law because of “greedy businessmen” and the right will champion the law because of the next Microsoft. In the end, neither are both right or wrong, but it will be one more thing we can fight over that, in reality, will have little or no bearing on anyone in real life. Just more politics.

        This brings up another point. Why do we constantly hear people in the media griping about how the “congress/president must DO SOMETHING”? Why do we even have an expectation that whatever they do is somehow going to be positive? Experience teaches us otherwise. Are people so friggin helplesss and stupid that they need politicians to “do something” in order to get their own lives in order? How about this…. congress and president, please DO NOTHING! How about they meet in a 30 day session 1 time per year and go home? How about the rest of us just live with consistency in the legal and regulatory environment? How about government, leave us all the hell alone? We’ll figure out our way without them constantly screwing everything up!

        Sorry… that was a rant. Have a nice day, David H. And Happy Easter/Passover.

        • mnhistoryfan

          Who in the media tells the president and congress to “do something” and what do they want done?

          • ObozoMustGo

            FYI… It’s a narrative, not an order. And it’s not necessarily from the media so much as an expectation from the public at large as reported by the media. True or not, it is there. We often hear political figures being interviewed saying things like “the American people expect us to do something about…” Does that clarify for you?

            Happy Easter!

    • BOZO MAN

      • This three-plus too late for some people that were out of jobs before and when the President, Barack H. Obama, came into office. The Barack H. Obama Administration, gave millions of dollars to the EDDs, but they either sat on that money(Lord only knows what they did with it?) because they weren’t letting people get some of it to train for short-term vocational training to get past the period where no one was hiring in any businesses in our local communities.

        They’re only push was to get people to first go out and look for employment at as many Job Fairs, as they could line up to show that the Mayor, Gavin Newsome, was doing something for those unemployed Americans in his city. Yet, again, they, the EDD, would send out as many unemployed job seekers, so they may have had one possilble job opening at htose job fairs, for 500+ Applicants or more, that were made to go see about that one job opening for the dozens of businesses that would set up tables to “talk” to people and give them “pointers” in the worst economy in more than fifty years in the USA!

        It was a plain out scam on the part of the EDD, the Mayor and business community in the private and public sectors!! Make thousands of unemployed people spend extra money that they didn’t have, time to waste at those Godless lines of desperate jobs seekers, hoping that the people in charge knew better, but clearly they didn’t know better. And, in many cases, knew less than the actual workers. So much for that lost time to train people in news jobs in the medical, educational system for reform and the chance to learn new vocational trades, that would have given us a new start, ahead of the unemployment storm that came along in the last three plus years in the USA!

    • joyscarbo

      Bozo said….”Combine that with a government that has sought to remove morality from the public square and what do you have?”

      I’m so sick of this “our religious freedom is being threatened by government” junk!

      Church can be a very corrupt place as well. Religious charletans exist and they have the best con of all!
      And no one is telling anyone that they can’t assemble to discuss religion in the “public square.” That’s why those crazy Westboro Baptist Church folks are allowed to picket with vile signs at our soldiers funerals.
      No one can tell a kid that he/she can’t say a prayer to themselves before a test or before they eat their lunch. Many high school football games begin with a prayer in the locker room. But you can’t legislate or require that kids to pray and I like it that way. I want to guide my children’s spiritual lives- not the government, school administrators or teachers.
      Plus…here’s a news flash for you…Christianity isn’t the only religion in America and the religion you wish to practice is protected whether you like it or not. Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, etc….all protected. While my beliefs are Christian-based, I respect that other people find inspiration and comfort in the religion that they practice.
      Jesus didn’t beat anyone over the head to get them to follow him- people were inspired to do so by his example. Jesus commanded us to treat our neighbor as we would want to be treated.
      Right-wing, religious conservatives and Republicans need to remember the Bible:
      Deuteronomy 15: 7-8
      “If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs.”

      That Bible passage is soooooo not okay with Romney, Santorum or Gingrich.

    • Drew_a

      This wasn’t in reference to any fraud in government, merely the ability to exploit it. For INDIVIDUALS to see an opputunity to issue an IPO with no regulations for a fake company and take the money and run. If anything it is individual responsibility to perform the work neccessary to rob people like this. It’s not like they are collecting food stamps. I see your point, but only agree with the bipartisan part that morals are destroying the country. The cause is very different though, being attached to intangible assets lead to uncertianity in value so everyone gets so attached to money that isn’t real. Things like the stock market imposed some much greed on society, and is the only reason fraud cases are in such large amounts today. But if they simply switch up the job bills and allow lower interest bonds with a regulatory term associated with it, and an attached no bankruptcy on the debt you eliminate that risk. More regulations used in the right way allievate risk and move our society foward. Progress Obozo, progress and efficiency are the answers, not blind ignorance that comes with a smaller government.

      Have a nice day

  • You have to remember obama only has about 7 months left and he has to get some money into his friends hands what better way then to sign into law something that will make all his friends comfortable

    • mnhistoryfan

      Do you mean on top of W’s tax cuts for the rich–two of them–that cost about $2.8 trillion. And which Obama had to continue because of the repub hysteria over “No new taxes!”
      In 2010, 93 percent of the additional income created in the country that year, compared to 2009 — $288 billion — went to the top 1 percent of taxpayers, those with at least $352,000 in income. That delivered an average single-year pay increase of 11.6 percent to each of these households.

      Still more astonishing was the extent to which the super rich got rich faster than the merely rich. In 2010, 37 percent of these additional earnings went to just the top 0.01 percent, a teaspoon-size collection of about 15,000 households with average incomes of $23.8 million. These fortunate few saw their incomes rise by 21.5 percent.

      The bottom 99 percent received a microscopic $80 increase in pay per person in 2010.
      These figures are from that well-known radical institution ABC Business News.
      How do you suppose those figures came about? W called the rich “my constituency” in an address before a group of the wealthy. Talk about comfort! But everytime Obama mentions taxing the rich, the Norquist-led-by-the nose repubs get hysterical and promise to not allow any new taxes.
      There are other benefits given to the rich, of course, including subsidies (gas, oil, agriculture, dozens of others) that Obama did not institute and has been trying to stop.
      What are your facts?

  • congress, keeping the crooks…………in one place. in case you are still not shure? there is only one party in this country. it’s on wall street. obummer is just doing what he’s been told, folks. do you think he wants his family killed?

  • oh, right, congress is , like, doing something? nah, couldn’t happen, almost thought i heard some noise over in that party room. you know the place where all our money gets stolen…….every member who hasn’t demanded the prosicution of the murderers of john,bobby and marten, needs to leave, now!

  • Increasingly, TRUST will be seen as a form of MENTAL RETARDATION, as it should be. Most Americans who graduate from POVERTY to WEALTH do so by LITIGATION. This is a declining society, in need of a radical upheaval.

  • sabahdabby

    I have been part of an angel investment group since 2000. Before we invest, we visit the propsective business and do a lot of due dilgence. The process takes 6 months, typically. We often include some covenants to protect us — because we are minority investors. Typical covenants inclulde requiring appproval for new business loans, the option to sell stock first if the majority shareholder decides to sell, 50% distirubution of taxable income, and clear reporting requiements to the investors on a quarterly basis.
    The most succesful investments are those where we offer more than money — we review contracts, business plans, etc. I often serve as the CFO and handle the realtionship with the banks in the early years. My job is to make sure the business does not run out money.

  • arakunen

    Anything can be turned into a way to swindle when greed is so rampant. The crowdfunding opportunity however has more pros than cons. Crowdfunding projects in Asheville started the first locally grown wheat & mill project and a couple of great food trucks. Having started 3 different businesses myself that averaged 4MM in annuals sales each in totally different fields, I’m glad there is an alternative to the typical Vulture Capitalists that want a 50% stake. This will be a great way to relocalize our economies. In a local market like we have here, the success of these things (and the best way to cut out scammers), is relationship and reputation. You want to go betting on something in Timbuktu that sounds to good to be true? Your choice. This at least allows communities to invest in themselves.

  • This three-plus too late for some people that were out of jobs before and when the President, Barack H. Obama, came into office. The Barack H. Obama Administration, gave millions of dollars to the EDDs, but they either sat on that money(Lord only knows what they did with it?) because they weren’t letting people get some of it to train for short-term vocational training to get past the period where no one was hiring in any businesses in our local communities.

    They’re only push was to get people to first go out and look for employment at as many Job Fairs, as they could line up to show that the Mayor, Gavin Newsome, was doing something for those unemployed Americans in his city. Yet, again, they, the EDD, would send out as many unemployed job seekers, so they may have had one possilble job opening at htose job fairs, for 500+ Applicants or more, that were made to go see about that one job opening for the dozens of businesses that would set up tables to “talk” to people and give them “pointers” in the worst economy in more than fifty years in the USA!

    It was a plain out scam on the part of the EDD, the Mayor and business community in the private and public sectors!! Make thousands of unemployed people spend extra money that they didn’t have, time to waste at those Godless lines of desperate jobs seekers, hoping that the people in charge knew better, but clearly they didn’t know better. And, in many cases, knew less than the actual workers. So much for that lost time to train people in news jobs in the medical, educational system for reform and the chance to learn new vocational trades, that would have given us a new start, ahead of the unemployment storm that came along in the last three plus years in the USA!

  • It seems to me that the president and HE’S STAFF came up with such ideas so people like you and me can continue being Independent Contractors and REALLY get paid for our work ,creative products, and so on. This is what I see this Concept was made for people like ME. I also look at ALL the Non-Americans that have come in and not only took over your Jobs ,my jobs,and everyones jobs.” ON SOMEONES TIME CLOCK ” As Americans always reminded me , “You can not STOP Mass Production”,I think of Humans as products and not people.
    I am perfectly happy to work for myself since 1987. We the people and this government had no idea that America’s population would get out of hand. The idea that the LAWS OF THIS LAND has some how disappeared,and the fact that some of our Leaders are doing exactly what they were Fighting against !!! And I am tried that every President had to be taking down by Critics,Citisen,Outsiders and Mainly the News Media. The talk they talk can they do the Walk???