My name is Jay Robert Guy, III. I was one of the most successful hedge fund managers on Wall Street until I was sentenced to three years in federal prison on 10 counts of securities fraud, along with the usual seven-figure fines for engaging in insider trading.
The judge called me a white-collar sociopath, and that was one of the nicer things she said about me. My attorney objected and said it depended on how you define sociopath. The judge suggested, “A person who knows the difference between right and wrong but doesn’t care.”
Over-zealous prosecutors employed wiretaps, subpoenaed millions of documents, tried to flip former employees and used other heavy-handed methods to convict me of receiving material, non-public financial information from a network of highly paid independent experts my firm had retained. I was too busy to ever question them about the source of their research. How was I to know that the information was not public?
I paid a big chunk of the fines by selling our duplex on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, with its multi million dollar art collection. I also sold the obligatory house in the Hamptons with the barn I had converted into a spa for my wife, Muffy. It was the only way to get her out of Manhattan, along with the custom Porsche in the three-car garage. Poor Muffy felt martyred by the whole business.
Then there’s the Caribbean island hideaway. We actually spent just half a dozen weekends during the years we owned it. And various condos in Miami Beach, San Francisco and a couple of other cities where I did enough business to justify having my own pad.
I bought the 110-foot Feadship yacht from the previous owner’s estate when it was sitting in a Miami repair yard. It was halfway through a full hull and engine overhaul that had been suspended when the owner’s money ran out. I have written enough checks to complete the overhaul and get it back into the water, where it was moored at a dock in the repair yard while ‘the interior was being re-done.
Question: What is the definition of a yacht? Answer: A big hole in the water into which you keep pouring money.
And of course there was the Lear Jet based at Teterboro airport in Jersey with the full-time pilot ready to fly me anywhere on a moment’s notice.
You get the idea. I lived a life too rarified for the average working stiff to even imagine. All the usual grown-up toys Wall Street money mavens tend to accumulate more or less automatically when the big dollars are rolling in.
I paid the rest of the penalties by liquidating most of my domestic investment accounts. So in a short period of time, I went from being ridiculously rich to merely “financially independent.” According to an article by some smart-aleck college professor, that is supposed to be the worst punishment society can inflict on a white-collar felon.
At least my numbered and password-protected offshore accounts are still intact. They will enable me to set up shop again once my high-priced attorneys get the court to vacate my original conviction.
Why am I so confident? Because of a decision by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York that overturned the conviction of two hedge fund managers because prosecutors had not proved that the defendants knew the original source of the inside information and whether the source benefited from sharing the information. Thank God the court finally realized that these reckless trading prosecutions have gone too far. They hurt real people like Muffy and me.
We are in the process of making the same argument on appeal. After that it will be time to get back to business as usual. Actually, it should be even better now that insider trading has gotten a whole lot harder to prove.
originally published: January 24, 2015