http://www.jewishworldreview.com | (KRT) Floyd Schneider, a mortgage broker with a booming voice and boundless energy, has given three sermonettes at the small church he attends.
Two were about stock fraud.The third might have been, were it not for the pleadings of his
wife, who urged him to focus on something more biblical.Schneider
, 47, leads a second life in cyberspace as the Truthseeker, nemesis of wayward capitalists.
It is both an avocation and an obsession.Since 1998, he
has posted more than 30,000 messages on Internet stock boards, raising questions about companies and digging into the backgrounds of their officers, directors and consultants.He
has been sued by three of his
targets and racked up nearly $60,000 in legal bills.
persists, driven by the belief that government regulators are overmatched in their battle against white-collar criminals.
"It comes down to a moral obligation to society," Schneider
The information that he
uncovered or pieced together has helped the Securities and Exchange Commission and National Association of Securities Dealers
bring cases against rogue companies, financiers and promoters.
Donate to JWRSchneider
is thinking about cutting back on his
sleuthing, to spend more time with his
three children, who range in age from 4 to 6.But he
remains captivated by a case that the SEC
has declined to pursue.
"The biggest thing that's kept me going is ZiaSun," Schneider
"They wanted more than $1 million," Schneider
For instance, copies of letters that investors sent to their PT Dolok brokers after Schneider
issued a negative report on ZiaSun bear markings that indicate that they quickly were forwarded by fax to Cragun.
has been perfecting his
research methods since 1998, when he
first accessed the Internet through an America Online dial-up account at his
eventually found his
way to the stock message boards and discovered a thread where people discussed how to use search engines to research stocks.He
later taught himself how to sift through SEC filings online.He
also pulled together information on suspect companies and forwarded the dossiers to reporters.
Schneider's research has led to stories by the Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones News Service and other news organizations
For a time, Schneider
own Web site, where followers could pay $39.95 a year to read his
even put out "sell" recommendations, in the same style as the "buy" reports issued by the promoters.His
logo was a flying pig.But when Schneider learned that charging for information could require him to register with the SEC as an investment adviser, he refunded the subscription money.
"I didn't need it," he
said."I do well enough in my mortgage business."Indeed, he
generated $31.8 million in home loans last year, making him one of the top producers in his
company.The only way individual investors can overcome the limitations of the SEC and counter stock fraud is by taking charge of their own destinies and doing their own digging, he said.
"There's so much money involved, and (stock fraud is) so easy to do, and no one's preventing it," he
said. "It's legalized thievery."