When bankers slip up, they tend to make big headlines. The New York Post and the Guardian practically make a living off detailing the trials and tribulations of the 1%.
Last year, we had a tired German banker who accidentally transferred $293 million across accounts after falling asleep on his keyboard, an investment banker busted with a spreadsheet containing all the women he was dating, and a well-to-do financier who had his “Fifty Shades of Grey” moment captured on the front page of a newspaper.
This year has been no different. From baffling lawsuits to outlandish arrests, 2014 has had many a salacious highlight. Here are the top ten from our view.
A crappy day in court
Michael Richman, the chief compliance officer at Goldman Sachs, sued his neighbors over the smell of manure emanating from their property, despite the fact that he and his wife also own horses. When asked in court how he knew the smell wasn’t coming from his animals, Richman “basically got up in court and said, ‘My poop doesn’t stink,'” according to his neighbor.
SAC portfolio manager Paul Orwicz reportedly sped off from a police stop after being pulled over for passing an unmarked cop car. They got his license plate though, and showed up at his Connecticut home to arrest him. He said pulling away was a “stupid thing to do” but didn’t know why cops bothered showing up at his door “because he didn’t kill anyone or damage any property,” the New Canaan News said. Orwicz resigned from SAC days later.
A Ponzi life
Steven Wessel didn’t just run a Ponzi scheme. He seemed to have manufactured details both in an out of his work life. He claimed to have earned his PhD from Oxford University, then was bold enough to host a dinner with its alumni and chairman, even though he never attended the school. Wessel was arrested for running the scheme two months later.
But he aced his exams
Paul Flowers, the former chairman of the Co-operative Bank who was arrested for buying crystal meth and cocaine last year, and who had a nasty habit of accessing pornography on his work computer, was a story from last year. But not until this year did the board explain why it hired Flowers, despite him having literally no banking experience. He “did well in psychometric tests,” they said. Did he really?
Dress for success
Former investor relations executive Michael Lucarelli pled guilty to insider trading charges after a wild story in which investigators knowingly allowed him to commit the crime in an effort to catch him red-handed. But Lucarelli made bigger headlines after his arraignment, when he was photographed running down the streets shoeless and in a tank top.
Fido did it
Former Morgan Stanley banker John Kelly has been accused of secretly filming his sex romps with several women and posting them online. He blamed the whole thing on his dog.
No Evidence, no crime
Three men were arrested in an insider trading case where tips on acquisitions were shared via notes and napkins at Grand Central Station. The man who received the information would then chew up – and often eat – the Post-It note or napkin.
Perhaps the most amazing legal battle of the year belongs to hedge fund billionaire Louis Bacon, who is suing his Bahamas neighbor, clothing mogul Peter Nygard, over a long-running land scuffle. The suits claims Nygard hired journalists to run a smear campaign against Bacon, including creating fake videos aimed at painting him as a murderer, drug trafficker and a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
Nygard also allegedly paid protesters to march in the streets with signs bashing the Bacon. The whole rivalry apparently began when Bacon accused his neighbor of causing ecological damage to the area by expanding his estate, a charge Nygard denies.
The price is wrong
This time last year, Aubrey Lee Price, former director of Montgomery Bank & Trust, was legally dead. It turns out he just wanted people to think that. He faked his own suicide to get out of embezzlement charges. Price was pulled over by police for driving a car with illegally tinted windows on New Year’s Eve and was found out.
This isn’t as much salacious as it is absurd, in kind of an awesome way. A partner at an unidentified activist hedge fund has a coffee mug that he likes to drink out of when meeting with chairmen of companies that he has a stake in and is looking to make changes. On the mug are pictures of other corporate board members that he has had removed in previous activist campaigns.