Leading Economic Indicators

News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

By News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

Published Oct. 14, 2016

Leading Economic Indicators

Notorious French derivatives trader Jerome Kerviel was fired in 2010 after his employer (Societe Generale bank) discovered that he had made unauthorized trades worth about $55 billion and then, by forgery and fraud, covered them up. In June, however, Kerviel won a wrongful-discharge case when France's Court of Cassation concluded the bank had "no real and serious" reason to fire him. Actually, the court ordered the bank to pay Kerviel about $500,000 in "performance" bonuses, based on the profit that his rogue trades eventually earned. Even though the bank had spent the equivalent of $5.5 billion unwinding Kerviel's trades, they still made money (because, before the world economy collapsed in 2008, the derivatives business was very good). [New York Times, 6-8-2016]

Ronnie Music Jr., 45, won a scratch-off lottery prize last year of $3 million in Waycross, Georgia, and must surely have thought he was on a roll -- because he soon flipped the money into a Georgia methamphetamine gang. The "bet" went sour, and he now faces decades in prison, as he pleaded guilty in July to drug trafficking and firearms violations after his associates were found with $1 million worth of meth and a load of guns. [Atlanta Journal- Constitution, 7-26-2016]