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Just Because You’re Paranoid…

Posted by Larry Doyle on February 23, 2011 12:35 AM |

Real life is better than the movies.

I can not imagine how some people sleep at night wondering if their phones are tapped at work or at home. That said, as we all know, “just because you’re paranoid, does not mean that they are not out to get you.”

To what do I refer? The new twist in the ongoing insider trading scandal on Wall Street has the hedge fund crowd playing defense against the use of wiretaps on the part of the Feds.

Really? What kind of defense?

Bring in the firepower and check to see if your phones at home and work are being tapped. The Financial Times highlighted this story recently in writing, SEC Case Prompts Hedge Funds to Sweep for Bugs:

Hedge fund managers are hiring security firms to sweep their offices and homes for listening devices, security experts say, in reaction to the US government’s insider trading investigations. “Over the past six months, there has been a really heightened interest in electronic sweeps for hedge funds,” said Christopher Falkenberg, founder of Insite Security, a security and risk management firm in New York. “They’re working harder at clamping down on their information security and making sure the telephones are secured and the offices aren’t being bugged. We’ve also been asked to sweep traders’ homes.”

“We’re definitely getting more calls from hedge funds and smaller financial institutions related to providing services that arise out of the government’s current investigations,” said Andrew O’Connell, chief executive of Guidepost Solutions, a New York investigation and security firm that does not accept requests to search for government listening devices.

“The hedge funds calling for these services, which includes sweeps but also compliance guidance, has grown 1000% over the past year.”

“There’s definitely been an increase in people thinking that the government is bugging everything,” said Edward Stroz of Stroz Friedberg, a computer forensics and investigations company.

What a way to make a living.

I can assure you that delivering pizzas or running LD’s Lawn and Garden looks far more appealing than wondering whether somebody is listening to my calls or reading my e-mails. Said with all due respect to pizza guys and gardeners. (High five to the boys at Express Pizza and my pal Rocky and his Dad, Angelo!! These guys are the best.)

Certainly everybody is presumed innocent, but I have little sympathy for those individuals sweating bullets wondering if they have been fingered by former friends who have already pled guilty to insider trading. Remember, “you sleep with dogs, you wake up with fleas.”

This story does remind me of one of the greatest scenes in one of my favorite movies. But remember, real life is always better than the movies.

Larry Doyle

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I have no affiliation or business interest with any entity referenced in this commentary. The opinions expressed are my own and not those of Greenwich Investment Management. As President of Greenwich Investment Management, an SEC regulated privately held registered investment adviser, I am merely a proponent of real transparency within our markets so that investor confidence and investor protection can be achieved.

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