Sweeping The Mob Off The Street
"The Mob on Wall Street" (Cover Story, Dec. 16) is an excellent and courageous report. I say "courageous" because the media, businesses, and government have hidden or ignored organized crime for many years.
George N. Knudtzon
After reading "The Mob on Wall Street," I was struck by the amount of information Gary Weiss accumulated during his investigation. I was also struck by the implication that regulators do not regard illegal activity--particularly potential criminal activity--as serious. We do.
Enforcing securities laws and overseeing NASDAQ are NASD Regulation's top priorities. This year, it has brought a record number of disciplinary actions.
The NASDAQ stock market is moving to increase its listing standards in the small-capitalization sector. NASDAQ has delisted 300 companies so far this year to protect and strengthen the market's quality.
Allegations of market manipulation, illegal behavior, and actions contrary to our rules are investigated. The results are swift and sure.
Barry R. Goldsmith
NASD Regulation Inc.
You say "The Mob on Wall Street" was based on a three-month investigation involving the review of "a mountain of documentation" and interviews with "traders, brokerage executives, investors, regulators, law-enforcement officials, and prosecutors." Despite all this, you were unable to substantiate the assertion that Mr. Philip Abramo, "the most active reputed mobster on the Street," is "the hidden control person behind Sovereign." This statement is both false and defamatory. We categorically deny that Mr. Abramo has--now or in the past--had any financial interest, ownership, or control in Sovereign.
Thomas W. Hands
Director of Compliance
Sovereign Equity Management Corp.
Boca Raton, Fla.
The NASD expends considerable effort daily on the issues raised in your story. The regulators are aware of the problems and are working to get these people in prison. However, the law-enforcement community is not generally trained in this area. Other regulators claim they either do not have jurisdiction or do not have the manpower to do what's needed.
I am an examiner at the NASD, and I can tell you that I've spent many hours with the FBI and with district attorneys and Securities & Exchange Commission people working on just these issues.
Good article. My compliments to Mr. Weiss.
If there is one thing true about the stock of Osicom Technologies, it is that it's undervalued. We currently rank as the fifteenth largest manufacturer of computer networking equipment, with products that have garnered recent awards from Data Communications, Communications Week, and Telecommunications Magazine, to name just a few.
It therefore seems reasonable that our stock should trade at or near the same multiples as our competitors'. That would be anywhere from 3 to 12 times trailing revenues for publicly traded companies, and significantly higher multiples if we count prices paid for recently acquired private networking firms. By contrast, our stock currently trades at roughly 0.5 times trailing revenues. And even at its 1996 peak, our stock traded no higher than 1.5 times trailing revenues. So if there is someone out there "running up" our stock price, they're doing a pretty lousy job.
Osicom Technologies Inc.
A problem for Corporate America is that small investors may avoid investing in initial public offerings and small companies for fear of Mob-influenced pricing. Thinking large companies are safer, small investors will continue to drive large-cap stock prices even higher.
Investing must relate to value. Otherwise, we might as well play the slots in Las Vegas. Losing trust in the stock market is bad business.
I am an investment professional employed by Greenway Capital Corp. and an Italian-American. I have worked in the securities industry for 33 1/2 years. The cover story in which you allege that certain brokerage firms, including Greenway, are controlled by "mob, organized crime, the Mafia, or wiseguys" insults me and many of my fellow Italian-American traders and brokers.
Journalism of this nature portrays all Italian-American men and women working in the securities industry as dishonest and members of organized crime.
Michael P. Pisano
Your Dec. 16 editorial ("Get the Mob off Wall Street") says the SEC should try to root out the "mobsters." The last time the government tried to define that term in the RICO [racketeering-influenced and corrupt organizations] statutes, all the crooks turned out to be Republican bankers, brokers, lawyers, and CEOs.