The Trial Putting A Chill On Wall Street

The case against the CFO of a defunct micro-cap firm sends a message

In a cramped courtroom in lower Manhattan, 14 unhappy investors trooped to the witness stand over the past few days. From the Bronx widow to the Connecticut truck driver to the Florida retiree, each told a tale of hard-driving brokers, misleading sales pitches, and unauthorized trades. All were customers of A.R. Baron & Co., a now-defunct micro-cap brokerage, and all were ripped off. The tales were grindingly familiar, but this time the investors were venting their misfortune not before the usual regulatory hearing or arbitration proceeding but before the New York State Supreme Court. And this time, the possible sanction isn't a fine or regulatory wrist slap but as much as 25 years in jail for the man on trial--Baron's former chief financial officer, John McAndris.

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