Commencing A Distributed Effort To Outsource The SEC's Information Gathering And Processing Operations

Tyler Durden's picture

Karen Singer – The New Jersey Housewife of an SEC-Barred, Convicted Fraudster, the Most Recent 13G Filer on Primus Telecom, and One of the Most Successful Telecommunications Investors Ever?
Researched and written by:  Wally the Tiger

Primus Telecommunications Group Inc. (Ticker: PMUG.OB) provides integrated telecommunications services primarily in the United States, Australia, Canada, Brazil, the United Kingdom, and western Europe.  Primus’ stock trades on the over-the-counter bulletin board, as the company emerged from bankruptcy on July 1, 2009 and has not yet relisted on a major exchange.  The company has substantial size, with LTM revenue and EBITDA of $826 million and $86 million, respectively.  Importantly, Primus’ management estimates that the company will generate $23-28 million of annual free cash flow, or $2.38-2.89/share of FCF, representing a 34-41% FCF yield at its current $7.00 share price.  On a multiple basis, it also trades very inexpensively, at 3.1x EV/EBITDA and 0.3x EV/Revenue (as of June 15, 2010).  Potential catalysts may include: (i) listing on major exchange; (ii) continued use of FCF to retire debt; and (iii) potential sale of entire company.  The company’s exposure to Canada and Australia are large positives given their relative stability.  Per the proxy, as of May 1, 2010, Primus’ top eight shareholders collectively owned 45.3% of the company’s stock.
Yesterday (June 15, 2010), a new 13G was filed by Karen Singer reporting ownership of 931,295 shares of PMUG.OB, which are presently worth $6.5 million.  This caught my eye for two reasons:  (1) Mrs. Singer is a new filer, and her shares represent 9.6% of all shares outstanding, making her Primus’ largest shareholder; and (2) this was not an institution, but an individual listing her address as a home in suburban New Jersey (212 Vaccaro Drive, Cresskill, NJ 07626 or check out the street view here), who has sole dispositive and voting power with respect to 931,295 shares of the reported securities as the trustee of Singer Children’s Management Trust.
As an interested deep value investor and PMUG shareholder myself, I decided to do a little homework on Karen Singer, to find out who she is, why she loves this bulletin board stock so much and where she got the funds to be a major buyer.
The first thing I found was that Karen Singer apparently shares her home in Cresskill, NJ with a certain Gary A. Singer (also see here).  Googling Gary Singer + Cresskill turned up a very interesting article in the New York Times from November 11, 1992.  It turns out that Gary A. Singer of Cresskill, then 37 years old and Chairman of The Cooper Companies (an eye-care product company), was charged with 24 counts of racketeering, conspiracy, money laundering and fraud relating to “an extensive criminal scheme to profit from insider tips on junk bond trades.”  The Cooper Companies was also charged with 10 counts of conspiracy and fraud.  Further, the SEC “accused Gary Singer individually of fraudulently shifting the company’s junk bond trading profits into family accounts” and also implicated his brother, Steven G. Singer (Cooper’s then COO) of participating in the scheme.  Today, Gary would be ~55 years old, the same age listed for Karen by here.  The fact that the children’s trust was set up “for the benefit of the children of Karen Singer and Gary Singer” also clarifies that the relationship between Karen and Gary Singer was or is marital.  This is also confirmed by a filing discussed later.
Mr. Singer was convicted of 21 felony counts in the fraudulent high yield bond schemes described in the NY Times article and sentenced to 28 months in prison.  On March 10, 1997 the SEC released information stating that Mr. Singer had been barred from acting as an officer or director of a public company.  Interestingly, this release also cites Karen Sue Singer as a “Relief Defendant.”  Very notably, the release states that the SEC “previously obtained disgorgement and pre-judgment interest arising from Singer’s violations in the amount of $4,182,994” and “no civil penalty was imposed against Singer based on his demonstrated ability to pay.”  So, apparently Singer was broke in 1997 after paying the SEC.
Additional Google searching turned up an incredible blog posting in Businessweek in 2005 that also describes Gary Singer and his brother Steven Singer’s alleged bad acting in the case of Motient Corp., a wireless communications company chaired at the time by Steven Singer and which, according to the blog post, had a 40% stake in Mobile Satellite Ventures, a Reston, VA based provider of mobile satellite communications that owned “valuable spectrum licenses.”  Read the Businessweek account.  Perhaps this is the origin of the Singers’ interest and expertise in telecom companies?
Back to Karen Singer.  I wanted to find out if PMUG is the first stock on which she has filed a Schedule 13G or 13D.  The answer is a resounding NO.  Mrs. Singer is a grizzled veteran of Schedule 13 filings, and has generated investment returns in small telecom companies that are literally incredible.
On June 18, 2004, Karen Singer filed a 13D with respect to her ownership of 4.9 million shares (or 9.76% of the class) of iBasis, Inc. of Burlington, Mass.  iBasis is a wholesale carrier of international long distance telephone calls, with enhanced services for mobile operators, and a provider of retail prepaid calling services.  iBasis sold a majority interest to KPN B.V. on October 1, 2007, which resulted in a $113 million dividend (or $3.28/share) paid a week later, on October 8, 2007.  Assuming Mrs. Singer still had the same number of shares, she would have cashed north of $16 million pre-tax on this transaction alone.  Five years later, in December 2009, iBasis agreed to sell the residual 44% interest not yet owned by KPN to KPN for an additional $93 million (or $3.00/share).  If Mrs. Singer retained her shares in iBasis, this would apparently have resulted in nearly $15 million of additional pre-tax proceeds.
On June 24, 2007, RCN Corp. announced that it was to acquire wholesale communications provider Neon Communications (formerly Globix Corporation) for $260 million.  A key member of Globix’s Board and former non-Executive Chairman was Gary Singer’s brother, Steven Singer, whom the NY Times reported was implicated in The Cooper Companies fraudulent junk bond scheme.  The fact that Steven was Karen’s brother-in-law was disclosed in Item 9 of an April 8, 2005 Schedule 13G filing.  In conjunction with the announcement of Neon’s sale to RCN, Karen Singer filed two 13Ds (original and amended) regarding her ownership of 4.5 million common and 699,098 preferred shares of Neon, representing 9.2% of Neon’s common stock outstanding.  In Item 2 of the 13Ds, Karen Singer represented that:  “(d) The Reporting Person has not, during the last five years, been convicted in a criminal proceeding (excluding traffic violations or similar misdemeanors); (e) The Reporting Person has not, during the last five years, been a party to a civil proceeding of a judicial or administrative body of competent jurisdiction and as a result of such proceeding was or is subject to a judgment, decree or final order enjoining future violations of, or prohibiting or mandating activities subject to, Federal or State securities laws or finding any violation with respect to such laws.”  Her 9.2% interest in the $260 million sale price appears to have been worth approximately $24 million.
On February 18, 2009, Karen Singer filed an amended 13D with respect to her ownership of 6.0 million shares (or 13.1% of the class) of LiveWire Mobile, Inc., which trades on the pink sheets (Ticker: LVWR.PK)  According to the filing, Mrs. Singer purchased these shares for an aggregate of $5.97 million, or less than $1.00/share on average, including 547,566 shares in January and February 2009 at prices ranging from $0.12 to $0.15.  Today, LVWR trades at $3.50/share, representing an apparent 3.5x return on invested capital, or another $15 million profit, for Mrs. Singer.  Whether this apparent profit is presently realized or unrealized is not determinable. 
In light of these amazing datapoints and apparent investment returns, there are a number of big questions that come to mind:

  1. Is Karen Singer presently married to Gary Singer and what role, if any, does Gary, as an SEC-convicted fraudster, racketeer, conspirator and money launderer, play in her investment activities?
  2. What role, if any, has Steven Singer, Gary Singer’s brother and Karen Singer’s brother-in-law, played in Karen Singer’s investment activities?
  3. If Gary Singer was effectively broke at the time of his settlement with the SEC, where did the Singers get the money to start speculating in these stocks?
  4. Is the SEC fully aware of the Singer family’s investment activities, or by filing in Karen Singer’s name alone have the Singers remained under the radar?
  5. How did Karen Singer become such an expert in telecommunications stocks, particularly very small companies trading on the pink sheets or bulletin board?  What education and professional background trained her for this success?
  6. Is there another telecom investor in the world with a track record of speculative investment returns that can match Karen Singer’s?
  7. How does Karen Singer pick which companies to buy and how did she identify PMUG as her most recent investment?
  8. Is Karen Singer properly disclosing all relevant family history with the SEC in her 13D filings?


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Madcow's picture

This is a Pulitzer Prize in the making. 

I look forward to watching 20 years of class action lawsuits against the banks, the financial intermediaries, ratings agencies and regulators.


Shameful's picture

Judges like criminals are a cowardly and superstitious lot (H/T to Batman).  What makes you think that with our legal system that anyone will find justice?  Sure they might have to pay out a few shillings and a few junior lackeys get put away to get some headlines, but the big boys are not going to jail or having their fortunes taken by a system they bought and paid for.


Roy Bush's picture

What kind of culture breeds this kind of behaviour?  The Chutzpah is just incredible.

AssFire's picture

This burns my ass. When will they blow up the whole convulted mess. So sick of everyone gaming the system as though it costs nothing to the honest working people.

No More Bubbles's picture

No shit man.  I really can't understand how this whole fucking joke of a system manages to hold itself together. 

ghostfaceinvestah's picture

This is great research, but did any of you read David Einhorn's book?

The SEC just doesn't give a fuck about securities fraud.

buzzsaw99's picture

The SEC just doesn't give a fuck about securities fraud.


The SEC just doesn't give a fuck about large scale securities fraud operations.


Fixed it.

chinaguy's picture

or by filing in Karen Singer’s name alone have the Singers remained under the radar?

More a question, I think, of giving the SEC an excuse not to pursue the matter, rather than not noticing.

Mactheknife's picture

>4. Is the SEC fully aware of the Singer family’s investment activities, or

You're joking, right??   No, seriously you're joking, right?  Not sure the SEC is "fully aware" of where New York city is.

A Nanny Moose's picture

But they have bookmarks to all the goood p0rn sites. They are probably "investigating" why they made all the money in the .B0mb bubble, when everyone else busted.

mynhair's picture

I wonder who they vote for...not.

Next on deck:  Johny Terzakis, batting for Chicago.


Clayton Bigsby's picture

her track record sounds about as good as Hillary C's....

Sweetbread's picture

She is simply the best fundamental telecoms analyst out there, and all ya'll are jealous.

[Sarcasm Off] Wow! Just wow……


Gully Foyle's picture


"Wow! Just wow" Alistair is that you?

Clycntct's picture

I'm wondering by the appearance of it all that they probably had signed on to Bernie Madoffs double down advanced course.

MayIMommaDogFace2theBananaPatch's picture

So should we assume that the existence of this post moves the ETA for Internet shutdown up by at least a few minutes?

Nice work.

Slash's picture

unfortunately, probably. can't have the sheeple doing their own HW....


so I'm just the larget sucker in the world for believing that lying, cheating, and fraud are wrong right?

It's the american way :(

buzzsaw99's picture

Can we report all the bloggers who claim to daytrade and make enormous positive returns year after year but who probably don't?


edit: probably don't trade &/or don't profit from it if they do.

Let them all fail's picture

Let me translate into SEC-speak: After you are done surfing porn go onto your brokerage account and buy PMUG.OB!!! 

buzzsaw99's picture

Because I have a lengthy list of suspects.

-Michelle-'s picture

Hey, hey, hey!  Karen Singer of Cresskill, NJ is a homemaker who likes to contribute to Chuck Schumer.

Rusty_Shackleford's picture

Nice finds.

Gotta love it.


Complete and utter lawlessness on all levels.

Chippewa Partners's picture

Tyler, Marla and all of you.......thank you for providing this forum.

You do what the SEC hasn't a clue of......working to expose the scum and scams everywhere. 

Gully Foyle's picture

Chippewa Partners

"You do what the SEC hasn't a clue of......working to expose the scum and scams everywhere."


Show me the perp walks? Show me the Orange jump suits?

Knowing something means nothing unless actions are taken.

And that is the real problem. Everyone knows but is powerless to act.

Rainman's picture

I would like to participate in this information gathering. However, all my info involves crooked politicians, pension fund placement agents, plumbers, bank fraudsters, auto dealers, developers, stockbrokers, card cheats and sports bookies.

SEC cover any of dat ??

Any reward ?? 

calltoaccount's picture

It's not about clues.  It's about cash.

SDRII's picture

More interesting is the coming Euro bank Fraud/Stress test which was pushed by none other than Turbo Tim on his recent visit. ECB's Italian Viceroy Lorenzo Bini Smaghi assures us that the individual banks results will show that there is marginal peripheral need to raise capital around the fringe.

Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me...Time will tell if the latest act of the kabuki theater will show itself to have the same diminishing return as dollar purchasing power

Mitchman's picture

And now, on the "you can't make this up" front, SPAIN is actually calling for the release of the test results because it is calling out the German banks!

Rainman's picture

..beautiful. Now Spain is implementing the " we'll prove we ain't broker than you " scheme.

Nothing is more worldclass amusing than the weenie measurement trick as the castles fall.

Clayton Bigsby's picture

fucking wow - Spain is all in with 2-7 off-suit and jack fucking shit on the board - remember, don't look at the first flash and hide behind something heavy for the shockwave

Muir's picture

Just relax everyone!

You peons should just be greatful and eat the f*cking cake already!

BP: "We care about the small people." [said twice towards the end of the tape]

nmewn's picture

Yeah I heard that...incredible...he's actually sittin around thinking money can buy off anyone...he's never met little ole me.

This is the kinda guy I'd love to run across as a survivor after his private jet crashed ;-)

Muir's picture

We think feel/act the same.

nmewn's picture

I believe there are many more than just us fact I would say a large majority, who ask nothing from no one and expect to be left alone...when we are not left alone we get...agitated.





Clycntct's picture

Looks like Bernies double down course was good for cooking. Seems one of the top ingredients was $Grease$.

SINGER, BRAD C, (Zip code: 07626) $1000 to HOLLINGS FOR SENATE on 11/05/03
SINGER, KAREN SUE, (Zip code: 07626) $1000 to HOLLINGS FOR SENATE on 11/05/03

Singer, Brad, (Zip code: 07626) $2500 to NATIONAL LEADERSHIP PAC on 08/20/04

Senate - NJ
primary 04/20/08
Senate - NJ
primary 10/28/07
Senate - NJ
general 10/28/0SINGER, SUSAN
Senate - NJ
general 09/17/08
Senate - NJ
general 04/20/08

Senate - NY
primary 11/30/09
Senate - NY
general 11/30/09

Eally Ucked's picture

Do we have anybody else as canditate or donor not beeing jewish? Even our new expert for oil spill is the same guy who regulates bankers pay, he must be really talented guy don't you think so? 

buzzsaw99's picture

It's not a conspiracy, they just have a nose for money.

Ted K's picture


Beings that FINRA, (the self-regulating organization of securities dealers) hasn't caught any more acts of securities fraud than the SEC, are we to assume FINRA workers also spend large amounts of time reading porn, or just assume that it is a joke organization with an incestuous relationship with the Investment services and brokerage industry??????

Rusty_Shackleford's picture

I'm pretty sure it's the second thing.


(In addition to being incestuous, it also has a fetish for ass-play, water sports, and pregnant Asian chicks.)

StarvingLion's picture

This makes me so angry that I'm going to go to a ballgame tonight.  And when I get back I'm going to come back to ZH and demand the restoration of the gold standard. 

Cheeky Bastard's picture

OT, but IMHO, main page post-worthy

* Greece's central bank is preparing to conduct a series of tough stress tests on all Greek banks in order to distinguish the ones that are financially stable from the ones that are not. The banks that fail the test and cannot raise the required capital will be automatically put under the supervision of the Financial Stability Fund (FSF), an entity that is to be formed expressly for that purpose. [12:48 ET]

Rick64's picture

Thank God. This eases my mind. LOL

lizzy36's picture

CB, and then what? 

Under the supervision of an entity designed to maintain the status quo?

I am going to assume that there is not one Greek bank  that is financially stable (cannot survive w/o the ECB) until it is proved otherwise.

See no need for completely irrelevant "who gives  a flying fuck" stability whatchumacallit.

Cheeky Bastard's picture

OK OK you humorless fucks; this was meant to serve more as the topic of an Onion-esque post than a real story. JFC. 


Still love ya babe.

Tyler Durden's picture

Timmy G's pitch to Europe's most insolvent banks to get the stamp of approval of their governments that they are, actually, very much solvent, must have been amusing. We refuse to dignify this farce as news.

Cheeky Bastard's picture

Sarcasm; not real news; something along the line of "500 000 new jobs added" kind of "news".

nmewn's picture

Saved or created sounds even better...tastes great, less filling.

My sarcasm button broke fifteen months ago ;-)

Sancho Ponzi's picture

Steven G Singer, 49, is now the CEO of American Banknote. From their website:

'As the #1 plastic card manufacturer in the world, we offer customized secure and non-secure card solutions that fit your specific needs. We're Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, and Diner's Club certified, and an approved ID supplier for governments across North and South America, Oceania, North and Central Africa, and the Middle East.'

Is this the kind of person you want manufacturing your AMEX Black card?