Is Overstock Behind Hedge Fund Testimony?

Remind me never to piss off Herb Greenberg:

“Herb Greenberg, in his blog on, raises an eyebrow about the testimony delivered at today’s Senate hedge-fund hearing by Demetrios Anifantis, a former employee of Gradient Analytics. “How independent is Anifantis? Did he write and/or edit his own testimony? If not, who did? For a clue, look no further than a copy of the transcript he provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee,” he wrote. (The testimony can be see here (45K Word file). “Scroll down the ‘file’ menu at the top of the Word document to ‘properties.’ Click on ‘summary.’ It says the author of the report is ‘mgriffin.’ Company: ‘Overstock.’ Who is ‘mgriffin’? Hard to say, for sure, but one attorney representing Overstock is Mark Griffin, the former director of the Utah Securities division.

Why is ‘mgriffin’ of ‘Overstock’ named as author of the report?”



More questions about a key witness
Jun 28, 2006 – 12:13:50 AM Eastern
:: Written by herb

Blog Roll — Morning Edition

David A. Gaffen
WSJ, June 28, 2006

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. chris commented on Jun 29

    damn !! thats insane.

  2. sell_the_ten_year commented on Jun 29

    I think Herb is in over his head. It looks like this Gradient is involved in some murky business:

    NEARLY a year after this column exposed the Central Intelligence Agency’s murky and surprising involvement in the penny-stock market, the Securities and Exchange Commission has confirmed that it is pursuing an investigation involving one of the CIA-linked penny stocks in The Post series.

    This story dovetails with Gradient getting investigated by the SEC.

  3. wcw commented on Jun 29

    While I’m bearish on US bonds, too, I can’t agree that Greenberg is in over his anything. When Barry links to Greenberg defending Gradient (which I believe he’s done), then play your hand. In this case, Herb caught Overstock red-handed stirring the pot. It’s a nice catch, and he deserves some credit.

    Moreover, while Gradient may be shady as all heck, that hardly excuses the current hearings. Whatever report comes out of this thing, it’s going to look more like than like

  4. sell_the_ten_year commented on Jun 29

    These overlapping stories are honestly too complicated for me to really get a clear understanding of the details. What I can pull out is:

    * Herb seems to be a stand-up journalist who is under assault by these Overstock crooks, who apparently are friends with someone powerful enough to get him investigated.

    * Another bunch of crooks who also somehow fit into this story are hooked up with a CIA penny stock scam.

    * The SEC itself is obviously filled with crooks, as evidenced by the Gary Aguirre SEC whistleblower gaffe this week.

    Bottom line, Washington/Manhattan are filled to the brim with shady dealings. One wrong move, and we’ve got another Enron on our hands.

  5. C commented on Jun 29

    This exposes a privacy flaw in MS Office that somebody in mgriffin’s office should have known about. I’m sure they’re smacking their foreheads saying “D-oh!” right about now. So much for document collaboration.

    You nailed it, sell_the_ten.

  6. Dave Patch commented on Jun 29

    The amusing thing about Herb’s allegations – He has no ammo to refute the statements made instead he attacks the computer in which the draft was written.

    In any testimony before Congress it is a good rule of thumb to have the advice of counsel critique what it is you are about to say to INSURE that you do not make statements that could come back to haunt you. What Herb never gets into is that while this witness did show up and speak – SAC Capital, Gradient, and Rocker never appeared to even be questioned about claims of perjury even though they were invited. Instead they spoke publicly outside the Congressional implications of perjury.

  7. Anonymous commented on Jun 29

    Lord alive, Dave, do you go from board to board covering every discussion with this? I know it’s an interesting story, but don’t you have anything better to do with your day? Work maybe?

  8. RW commented on Jun 29

    Or maybe this IS “Dave’s” work Anon – what do you think?

    MS Office records the originator of a document as the author, it does not replace that author’s ID with that of a reviewer. Io ipso, the original author was “mgriffin” and not “Danifantis” and, a fortiori, Herb Greenberg was spot on: Good catch.

  9. teraflop commented on Jun 30

    There’s no telling from File->Properties who typed the words. For proof, try this party trick:wind
    – create a Word document at work
    – type “hello world”, save it, bring file to party (somehow)
    – have anyone, selected at random, open up the file on a home PC that has Word on it
    – replace “hello world” with “goodbye cruel world”, save it, close Word
    – have anyone else re-open the file, take a look at File->Properties

    Voila! The chap that typed “goodbye cruel world” gets no credit for the work. This happens all the time when re-using documents as templates, it’s easier to delete all than to import some *.dot file or whatever.

  10. 2L commented on Jun 30


    no shit. the whole point is that the original ‘template-creater’ was mgriffin.

    what’s so hard for you to understand?

    if you’d like, i could draw you a diagram… in crayon

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