Archived Blog Post: February 25, 2001

Jonathan Lebed: Stock Manipulator, S.E.C. Nemesis -- and 15 - "I finally came clean with a thought: the S.E.C. let Jonathan Lebed walk away with 500 grand in his pocket because it feared that if it didn't, it would wind up in court and it would lose. And if the law ever declared formally that Jonathan Lebed didn't break it, the S.E.C. would be faced with an impossible situation: millions of small investors plugging their portfolios with abandon, becoming in essence professional financial analysts, generating embarrassing little explosions of unreality in every corner of the capital markets. No central authority could sustain the illusion that stock prices were somehow 'real' or that the market wasn't, for most people, a site of not terribly productive leisure activity. The red dog would be off his leash. I might as well have strolled into the office of the drug czar and lit up a joint."