the paper chase

Insider-Trading Co-Conspirator Ate All Those Post-it Notes for Nothing

Lunch. Photo: Shutterstock

3M? More like 3-Yum!” is a thing that, in my dreams, was uttered by one of the participants in an alleged insider-trading scheme that was busted by prosecutors yesterday – a scheme that involved a Morgan Stanley broker, a law firm clerk at Simpson Thatcher & Bartlett, an unnamed middleman, and stacks upon stacks of delicious, delicious Post-it notes.

The scheme, which DealBook says comes “straight out of some dime store novel about Cold War operatives,” was far from the biggest insider trading ring in history. But it may have caused the most indigestion. It allegedly involved code words, Grand Central hand-offs, and edible notes containing illegal stock tips.

Here are the relevant details:

When armed with an inside tip, Mr. Metro would contact the middleman with a simple text message: “Do you want to meet for coffee?” They would get together at a New York coffee shop, where Mr. Metro would show his cellphone screen displaying the ticker symbol of the stock that should be bought.

The middleman would then head to Grand Central Terminal’s signature four-faced clock, where he would relay the stock to Mr. Eydelman on a Post-it note or napkin. Mr. Eydelman — who, according to the government, used the tips to place well-timed trades on behalf of himself, family and more than 50 other brokerage customers — would watch as the middleman “chewed up, and sometimes ate, the Post-it note or napkin.”

And for so little! One of the participants in the alleged scheme, Morgan Stanley broker Vladimir Eydelman, made enough from the dealings to afford a “2011 Maserati Gran Turismo for $117,700 and expensive jewelry,” according to prosecutors. But the middleman who ate all those Post-its? He only got “a plastic shopping bag with a cigar manufacturer’s logo on it that contained $7,000 in cash,” which isn’t much as these things go.

On the plus side, with the palate he’s developed, he can finally open that paper-tasting restaurant.

Insider-Trading Co-Conspirator Ate Post-its