Emails show journalist rigged Wikipedia's naked shorts

Overstock's Byrne vindicated amidst economic meltdown


AntiSocialMedia

This uncanny tale was uncovered by a former freelance journalist named Judd Bagley, who now serves as a kind of personal researcher for Patrick Byrne. For a while, he drew a paycheck from Overstock.com, before moving to a Byrne-funded company called DeepCapture. Yes, DeepCapture. Byrne has a flair for the overly dramatic.

Writing from the pages of a makeshift website known as AntiSocialMedia.net, Bagley has accused Gary Weiss of not only rigging Wikipedia but flooding countless blogs and stock message boards with anonymous vitriol meant to undermine Patrick Byrne and his views on naked shorting. And he says that Weiss has worked in tandem with several others, including a man named Floyd Schneider.

Initially, Bagley's evidence was circumstantial - a hodgepodge of email addresses, net handles, and IP addresses that pointed to certain individuals without actually pinning them down. But in April 2007, he was contacted by Floyd Schneider's brother, Roger Schneider, a New Jerseyian who ran a local branch of the mortgage brokerage house Nationwide Equity.

Roger Schneider had recently fired his brother from the Ramsey, New Jersey Nationwide office, and he was sitting on Floyd's work PC - which was packed with several thousand email messages. Patrick Byrne soon paid Roger Schneider a visit, and Schneider gave him the machine. Byrne offered $10,000 in return, but Schneider declined.

Judd Bagley, Director of Communications

Judd Bagley

Emails lifted from the PC include correspondence between Floyd Schneider and Gary Weiss, and in one exchange, Weiss clearly indicates he has just edited Wikipedia's article on naked shorting. The text of the article - including the changes he made - is attached to the message.

Wikipedia's on-site records show that these changes were made by the Mantanmoreland account, and changes made just hours earlier came from the IP address in the header of Weiss emails. In short, Weiss' first Wikipedia edits were made before he created an account, then he got wise and hid his IP behind a pseudonym.

The Register first reviewed these emails in December, just before publishing our initial story on the Patrick Byrne-Gary Weiss saga. But at the time, Roger Schneider did not want the emails made public. He has now told us he's comfortable with his story being told.


Other stories you might like

  • Datacenter operator Switch hit with claims it misled investors over $11b buyout
    Complainants say financial projections were not disclosed, rendering SEC filing false and misleading

    Datacenter operator Switch Inc is being sued by investors over claims that it did not disclose key financial details when pursuing an $11 billion deal with DigitalBridge Group and IFM Investors that will see the company taken into private ownership if it goes ahead.

    Two separate cases have been filed this week by shareholders Marc Waterman and Denise Redfield in the Federal Court in New York. The filings contain very similar claims that a proxy statement filed by Switch with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in regard to the proposed deal omitted material information regarding Switch's financial projections.

    Both Redfield and Waterman have asked the Federal Court to put the deal on hold, or to undo it in the event that Switch manages in the meantime to close the transaction, and to order Switch to issue a new proxy statement that sets out all the relevant material information.

    Continue reading
  • How can we make the VC world less pale and male, Congress wonders
    'Combating tech bro culture' on the agenda this week for US House committee

    A US congressional hearing on "combating tech bro culture" in the venture capital world is will take place this week, with some of the biggest names in startup funding under the spotlight.

    The House Financial Services Committee's Task Force on Financial Technology is scheduled to meet on Thursday. FSC majority staff said in a memo [PDF] the hearing will focus on how VCs have failed to invest in, say, fintech companies founded by women and people of color. 

    We're told Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and cofounder of Ellevest; Marceau Michel, founder of Black Founders Matter; Abbey Wemimo, cofounder and co-CEO of Esusu; and Maryam Haque, executive director of Venture Forward have at least been invited to speak at the meeting.

    Continue reading
  • Musk can't tweet about Tesla without lawyer approval – and he's still fighting to end that
    By free speech, he means freedom to flip the bird at the SEC

    Elon Musk still hopes to quash a 2018 settlement agreement with the SEC requiring Tesla-related tweets to be approved by a lawyer before he can post them: on Wednesday, he took his case to the US Court of Appeals after a lower court denied this request.

    The Tesla CEO landed himself in hot water with the watchdog when he tweeted he was thinking of taking the company private at $420 a share, and claimed to have already secured the necessary funding (sound familiar?) In reality, however, Musk did not have the funding or approval to do so. Investors, however, took him seriously and they started buying more shares, bumping up the stock price over 10 per cent.

    The SEC accused Musk of fraud, saying his tweets were false and misled the public and caused disruption in the market. Musk was sued by the US regulator; he later settled the lawsuit by agreeing to pay $40 million in penalties, step down as chairman of the automaker's board, and accepted that any tweets discussing Tesla would have to be screened from now on.

    Continue reading
  • Musk repeats threat to end $46.5bn Twitter deal – with lawyers, not just tweets
    Right as Texas AG sticks his oar in

    Elon Musk is prepared to terminate his takeover of Twitter, reiterating his claim that the social media biz is covering up the number of spam and fake bot accounts on the site, lawyers representing the Tesla CEO said on Monday.

    Musk offered to acquire Twitter for $54.20 per share in an all-cash deal worth over $44 billion in April. Twitter's board members resisted his attempt to take the company private but eventually accepted the deal. Musk then sold $8.4 billion worth of his Tesla shares, secured another $7.14 billion from investors to try and collect the $21 billion he promised to front himself. Tesla's stock price has been falling since this saga began while Twitter shares gained and then tailed downward.

    Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Barclays, and others promised to loan the remaining $25.5 billion from via debt financing. The takeover appeared imminent as rumors swirled over how Musk wanted to make Twitter profitable and take it public again in a future IPO. But the tech billionaire got cold feet and started backing away from the deal last month, claiming it couldn't go forward unless Twitter proved fake accounts make up less than five per cent of all users – a stat Twitter claimed and Musk believes is higher.

    Continue reading
  • SEC probes Musk for not properly disclosing Twitter stake
    Meanwhile, social network's board rejects resignation of one its directors

    America's financial watchdog is investigating whether Elon Musk adequately disclosed his purchase of Twitter shares last month, just as his bid to take over the social media company hangs in the balance. 

    A letter [PDF] from the SEC addressed to the tech billionaire said he "[did] not appear" to have filed the proper form detailing his 9.2 percent stake in Twitter "required 10 days from the date of acquisition," and asked him to provide more information. Musk's shares made him one of Twitter's largest shareholders. The letter is dated April 4, and was shared this week by the regulator.

    Musk quickly moved to try and buy the whole company outright in a deal initially worth over $44 billion. Musk sold a chunk of his shares in Tesla worth $8.4 billion and bagged another $7.14 billion from investors to help finance the $21 billion he promised to put forward for the deal. The remaining $25.5 billion bill was secured via debt financing by Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Barclays, and others. But the takeover is not going smoothly.

    Continue reading
  • Appian awarded over $2b after claiming Pegasystems stole its data
    Low-code platform providers' legal tussle ends with 'largest damages award in Virginia state court history'

    Appian has been awarded more than $2 billion in damages from Pegasystems for "trade secret misappropriation."

    It's an eyewatering sum, and came in a verdict received from a jury in the Circuit Court for Fairfax County, Virginia following a seven-week trial.

    Appian is all about building apps and workflows rapidly with its low-code platform. The Pega platform is similarly concerned with speedy software building with a low-code approach. However, it appears that one party was a bit too interested in the other, resulting in a violation of the Virginia Computer Crimes Act and a misappropriation of Appian's trade secrets.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022