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Octopus: Sam Israel, the Secret Market, and Wall Street's Wildest Conby Guy Lawson
Synopses & Reviews
Octopus is a real-life thriller that tells the inside story of an audacious hedge fund fraud and the wild search, by a colorful cast of rogues and schemers, for a “secret market” beneath the financial market we all know.
Sam Israel was a man who seemed to have it all – until the hedge fund he ran, Bayou, imploded and he became the target of a nationwide manhunt. Born into one of America’s most illustrious trading families, Israel was determined to strike out on his own. So after apprenticing with one of the greatest hedge fund traders of the 1980’s, Sam founded his own fund and promised his investors guaranteed profits. With the proprietary computer program he’d created, he claimed to be able to predict the future.
But his future was already beginning to unravel.
After suffering devastating losses and fabricating fake returns, Israel knew it was only a matter of time before his real performance would be discovered, so when a former black-ops intelligence operative told him about a “secret market” run by the Fed, Israel bet his last $150 million on a chance to make billions. Thus began his year-long adventure in “the Upperworld” — a society populated by clandestine bankers, shady European nobility, and spooks issuing cryptic warnings about a mysterious cabal known as the Octopus.
Whether the “secret market” was real or a con, Israel was all in – and as the pressures mounted and increasingly sinister violence crept into his life, he struggled to break free of the Octopus’ tentacles.
"Relying on 'hundreds of hours interviewing Sam Israel in prison' and 'thousands of pages of legal documents,' Lawson (The Brotherhoods) reveals the inside story of the infamously fraudulent hedge fund trader who in 2008 faked his own suicide in an attempt to escape imprisonment. As a protÃ©gÃ© in the Ã¢Â€Â˜80s to the successful but ethically dubious Frederic J. Graber, Israel quickly learned that shirking the rules was the quickest way to a buck. But by the late Ã¢Â€Â˜90s, Israel's independent hedge fund venture, Bayou, was in serious trouble — the promise of guaranteed returns had driven the greedy financier to engage in increasingly unsavory business practices. Things hardly improved, but Israel's willingness to dissemble grew — as time went on, Israel became involved with ever shadier individuals; the job of upholding Bayou's manifold lies amounting to a kind of full-time counter-espionage. One such contact, intelligence operative and contract killer Robert Booth Nichols, informed a desperate Israel of a secret market run by the world's 13 most powerful families and for which the Fed is ostensibly 'nothing but a front.' Needless to say, things didn't turn out well for Israel, but the tale of his fraught journey makes for an exhilarating page-turner. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
GUY LAWSON has traveled the world reporting on war, crime, politics, and sports. His work has appeared in many national publications, including the New York Times, Harper's, GQ, and Rolling Stone, and he previously coauthored The Brotherhoods. He and his family make their home in upstate New York.
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