Conspiracy Watch: The Wisest Guys in the Room

Did the Mafia kneecap Wall Street?

Illustration: Peter Hoey


the conspiracy: In the 1970s the Mafia started laundering its dirty money on Wall Street. With the help of unscrupulous hedge fund managers, the Mob gutted companies whose stock it had sold short, making a killing—the high-finance equivalent of taking out an insurance policy on a grocery store and then torching it. This “financial heist of monstrous proportions” eventually got so big that it triggered last October’s stock market collapse.

the conspiracy theorists: In 2007 Patrick Byrne, ceo of Overstock.com, launched DeepCapture.com to expose “a scandal that may make Enron look like an afternoon tea.” The site recently posted a nearly 40,000-word treatise exposing the alleged conspirators, who go beyond mafiosi to include former New York governor Eliot Spitzer, Mad Money host Jim Cramer, and Wikipedia, which has rubbed out entries that reveal details of the scheme. DeepCapture readers can support Byrne’s “investigative reporting” by shopping on Overstock. And he’s offered a whopping $75,000 to those who can “Crack the Wall Street Cover-Up.”

meanwhile, back on earth: Byrne is part of multiple lawsuits charging that naked short selling—investors selling stocks they didn’t own or intend to buy—cut into Overstock’s share price. Naked short selling didn’t affect only Overstock, and while it didn’t help the ailing economy, it probably didn’t kill it. (Regardless, the sec banned it in September. Byrne’s response: “There. Was that so hard?”) And that stuff about the Mafia whacking the world financial system? Fuhgeddaboudit.

Kookiness Rating: tin foil hattin foil hattin foil hattin foil hat (1=maybe they’re on to something, 5=break out the tinfoil hat!)

TELLING IT LIKE IT IS.

The Mueller report might not say it, but David Corn will. So amid the swirling headlines and cable chatter, David provides a clear and honest assessment of what we really know about Trump's actions: “Trump Aided and Abetted Russia's Attack. That Was Treachery. Full Stop.

Even though Mueller may be done with his investigation, Mother Jones is not. David and his team in Washington have been digging deep on the Russian connections and other corruption scandals since before the 2016 election, and we're not stopping now. If you agree there's more to dig into and expose, please help our team do it with a tax-deductible donation today.

  • Elizabeth Gettelman is a former managing editor and public affairs director at Mother Jones. To follow her on Twitter, click here.