by Brian Mahany
When Greg Smith quit Goldman Sachs, he did it in style. He wrote an Op-Ed in the New York Times. That piece would soon go viral and has been read millions of times.
Smith’s piece has special meaning to us. It seems that fraud is running rampant these days. We get calls every single day from people who were ripped off by crappy lenders, investors ripped off by stockbrokers, victims of Ponzi schemes who lost their life savings and whistleblowers who come to us with stories of doctors, mortgage lenders and vendors ripping off the government (meaning you & I as taxpayers). At first I thought the dramatic increase in fraud was just my imagination. Perhaps because we spend so much time in this are of life we just see more of society’s underbelly.
No. There is truly moral decay in our business and financial community.
Smith claims three basic rules for personal advancement at Goldman Sachs:
- Sell to clients whatever Goldman wants to dump (whatever junk isn’t making money for the company)
- Get clients to buy whatever generates the biggest commissions
- Find a position where your job is to sell complex, illiquid products with 3 letter acronyms (TICs or CDOs anyone?)
When I was a young securities lawyer, Goldman Sachs was an institution to be admired. Now it is just like so many of the companies we investigate and sue.
Smith says he is heard five different managing directors call clients “muppets.” That’s the same mentality I have observed in some police officers back when I worked in law enforcement. Money corrupts just like power.
Smith says he doesn’t know of any illegal behavior at Goldman but I suspect that is simply because educated people don’t admit and discuss their crimes. Placing people in unsuitable investments is illegal. So is pawning off toxic junk on unsuspecting clients. And looking for investments that maximize the return for the broker instead of the client may not be illegal for stockbrokers (it is for investment advisers who must act in a fiduciary capacity) but it certainly is unethical.
What can the average investor do? Fight back! We see so many people who get ripped off and are either too ashamed to come forward or think that it is simply impossible to go after big brokerage firms.
The little guy can win and should fight back.
Cases against stockbrokers and investment advisers are often handled by arbitration and on a contingent fee basis. You don’t pay unless your lawyer wins. And lawyers for investors do win. Just look at the arbitration statistics maintained by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
If you think you have been mistreated by Goldman Sachs or any investment bank / brokerage firm, give us a call. We proudly represent victims and whistleblowers and are honored to help hard working people get back their money.
For a no obligation consultation, give us a call. Our fraud recovery lawyers have helped people across the U.S. Chances are if we can’t help you we know someone who can. For more information, contact attorney Brian Mahany at (414) 704-6731 (direct) or by email at All inquiries are kept strictly confidential.
Mahany & Ertl – America’s Fraud Lawyers. Offices in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Detroit, Michigan; Portland, Maine & Minneapolis, Minnesota. Legal services available in many jurisdictions.