Articles Posted in Private Shares

Last week, we wrote about private shares fraud and how we think there may be significant litigation and/or arbitration in the future in this space. Today’s NY Times has a very good Dealbook piece (below) by the “Deal Professor” about the lack of disclosure in the private shares markets of SharesPost and SecondMarket. The most important sentence: “The lack of information combined with this illiquidity contributes to the volatility and mispricing of shares.” That’s spot on. We’re talking about large investments in unregistered shares within an unregulated market. Major exposure to potential fraud. Major.

November 22, 2011, 4:37 pm Private Markets Offer Valuable Service but Little Disclosure By STEVEN M. DAVIDOFF Harry Campbell

Information is the lifeblood of capital markets. In the movie “Wall Street,” Gordon Gekko demanded confidential information from a young would-be Master of the Universe, Bud Fox, played by Charlie Sheen. The value of stocks is based on information, which is why securities laws are intended to ensure that all investors have at least minimum amounts of information.

Private shares fraud? We’ve been talking about it internally for months. Unregulated space where investors buy and sell private shares often of pre-IPO companies such as Groupon and Facebook. We think the potential fraud claims will occur in the pricing of the private shares. The seller, perhaps a company insider, plays around with valuations. But the Dealbook story posted below of John Mattera is an old school fraud. He allegedly stole people’s money by promising to sell them his personal private shares in high flying pre-IPO companies. Here’s the problem for his “investors”: may be no one to collect from. Mattera likely going to jail. His fund is finished. Good luck trying to sue and collect from the unregistered Long Island firm and/or its principals and the escrow service. What a shame. Private share investors need to be careful out there. Even in the more legitimate secondary private share markets run by larger firms. Due diligence is king.

DealBook – A Financial News Service of The New York Times November 17, 2011, 4:32 pm Manager Who Claimed to Own Facebook Shares Charged With Fraud By KEVIN ROOSE John A. Mattera was arrested in Florida on Thursday.

It may be the new, new thing in fraud.