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Has Oppenheimer Already Violated Its Auction-Rate Settlement with NY AG Cuomo?

Posted by Larry Doyle on March 29, 2010 1:08 PM |

Is the great lie and fraud encompassing the auction-rate securities fiasco continuing even into the settlement process? Information, or the lack thereof, indicates it is. In the process, the injustice served cold to the thousands of ARS investors, especially those who purchased these so-called ‘cash’ instruments from Oppenheimer Holdings, continues.

Wall Street, Washington, and the bulk of the financial media (exceptions being author Phil Trupp, Bloomberg’s Susan Antilla, and the Washington Examiner’s Marta Mossburg) would prefer to keep the ARS fraud and fiasco neatly under the rug. I have no interest in allowing the fraudulent ARS perpetrators and their financial regulators any degree of comfort in this mess.

To wit, how is it that a so-called ARS settlement executed by New York AG Andrew Cuomo with Oppenheimer Holdings could already be violated? Let’s navigate.

Make no mistake, at point of sale the distributors of auction-rate securities were truly bending their investors over. Not that getting screwed in the back is all that pleasant, but now to be lied to their faces, the Oppenheimer ARS investors continue to be whipped. How so?

Thank you to a loyal Sense on Cents reader, who just so happens to be an Oppenheimer ARS client, for sharing the following message he sent to the New York State Attorney General’s office:

Sent: Sat, Mar 27, 2010 10:59 am
Subject: Openheimer ARS Settlement

I am a NYS resident and I am writing about the auction rate securities settlement you made on behalf of Oppenheimer & Co. I have been searching their web site for over a month now and fail to find any reference to the auction rate securities settlement. There is no telephone line or internet link. I included paragraph #25 from the settlement they made with you at the bottom of this page. Please let me know if I am reading this wrong. It says after 2 days, which would be 2/25/10, these services would be available to clients who’s money your settlement allowed Oppenheimer to hold, indefinitely. Is there another agreement between Cuomo and Lowenthal that supercedes this agreement? Has this agreement changed since 2/23/10? Is there anybody in your office in charge of verifying that Oppenheimer adheres to the terms of their agreement?

25. No later than two (2) business days after the date of this Assurance, Oppenheimer shall establish: (a) a dedicated toll-free telephone assistance line, with appropriate staffing, to provide information and to respond to questions concerning the terms of this Assurance; and (b) a public Internet page on its corporate Web site(s), with a prominent link to that page appearing on Oppenheimer’s relevant homepage(s), to provide information concerning the terms of this Assurance and, via an e-mail address or other reasonable means, to respond to questions concerning the terms of this Assurance. Oppenheimer shall maintain the telephone assistance line and Internet page through at least the last day of the Purchase Deadline, or any extension thereof.

Where is the accountability? Where is the transparency?

AG Cuomo needs to serve the ARS investors’ interests completely and not allow a settlement to serve as much as a facade as anything else. People do look at this stuff, and some other people are happy to write about it. On that note, come on, AG Cuomo! Keep Oppenheimer’s feet to the fire!

America is supposed to be better than this.


UPDATE as of 1:40pm

Wow. This is truly unbelievable!! Guess what just went up at the Oppenheimer site? Auction Rate Securities-National Settlement Offer

Maybe AG Cuomo is reading Sense on Cents? Or perhaps more likely his office read the investor’s letter. In any event, this posting is good for the Oppenheimer ARS investors. I strongly encourage them and the AG’s office to keep the pressure on Oppenheimer so investor funds can be returned in as timely a fashion as possible.

Now if AG Cuomo is reading this site, perhaps we can get him to investigate FINRA’s dumping of $647 million ARS in mid-2007.

Andrew, can you get back to us on that this afternoon as well? EVERYBODY, and I mean EVERYBODY wants to know what happened there. Did FINRA possess material non-public information when they dumped their ARS bonds. I will share with you, Mr. Cuomo, that people inside the industry have informed me they believe FINRA did just that. What say you?

Never give up!!


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