Meet The Sith Lords: The 20 People Alleged To Be Part Of A Shadowy Short-Selling Conspiracy

barry ritholtz

Last week, a list of journalists appeared on the internet, along with every single one of their Facebook friends.

The list, which included John Carney, Henry Blodget, and Joe Weisenthal, was assembled by the folks at Deepcapture.com, anti-naked short selling site affiliated with Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne.

Byrne has been on a long, long crusade to expose what he sees as a naked short-selling conspiracy. He believes in a “Sith Lord” puppetmaster who coordinates the actions of traders and the media.  He spells it out in a long, infamous document called The Story of Deep Capture (.pdf).

The stated purpose of the new Deep Capture list was to show the connections between people in the investment world and people in the media.  The implicit purpose (at least from the perspective of all those who were fraudulently “pre-texted” into revealing this info) was a bit more unsettling.

In any event, we decided to do some data-mining of our own.

Basically, we found the 20 people on the list who had the most connections to other people on the list. In theory, these are the most important nodes of the network, and thus the members of the Sith Lord Conspiracy.  Anything bad that happens in the markets is probably a gigantic scheme perpetrated by them.

Now, see the names — >

Howard Lindzon

Connections: 7

This Toronto born entrepreneur and hedge fund manager lives in Phoenix. Lindzon's fund is long only, which makes his prominent role in the network infiltrated by Deep Capture somewhat ironic.

He also now has a start-up called Stocktwits, which allows users to trade investing ideas on Twitter. Howard has been critical of Overstock.com, calling it Subpoena.com on his blog.

Disclosure: He's an small investor in The Business Insider

Michelle Leder (Westchester, NY)

Connections: 7

A former newspaper reporter, Michelle Leder is the founder of Footnoted.org. Her website is dedicated to sifting through daily SEC filings looking for juicy tidbits. And tidbits a plenty; Leder has uncovered scandalous executive pay, corporate write offs, and plenty of other stuff that companies pray no one finds buried within their 8-Ks.

Photo: Footnoted.org

Roger Ehrenberg (New York, NY)

Connections: 7

Ehrenberg is currently a Managing Partner of IA Capital Partners, which is his personal investment vehicle targeting internet startups.

He has a long career throughout Wall Street, heading departments at Deutsche Bank, DB Advisors, and Citibank. The Columbia Business School graduate has a self-described passion for markets, deals, and the Internet.

Dicslosure: He's also an investor in this site.

David Einhorn

Connections: 7

David Einhorn is the well known manager of hedge fund GreenLight Capital, which takes both short and long positions.

Stephanie Landsman

Connections: 7

A CNBC producer, Stephanie Landsman is well connected with Wall Street. Her ability to book interviews makes her a key player for making or breaking a persona. Her experience includes multiple management positions throughout NBC, including Director of Business Development at NBC Interactive and Director of Advanced Development at NBC Interactive Media.

Photo: Facebook.com

Tobin Smith (Washington, DC)

Connections: 7

Tobin is the founder and editor of ChangeWave Investing, a website and newsletter dedicated to investing. He is a frequest guest who makes the rounds on all of TV's various business programs and a well-known speaker on the topic of money and spending.

Photo: Equities Magazine

Vitaliy Katsenelson (Denver, CO)

Connections: 7

This Russian-born investor is Director of Research at Investment Management Associates, a Colorado-based value investing firm. He also founded Contrarian Edge, a website dedicated to investing. A Certified Financial Planner and a professor at the University of Colorado, his cites his biggest achievement ever as 'quitting smoking in 1992.'

Photo: contrarianedge.com

Aaron Task

Connections: 8

A veteran reporter, Aaron Task is the editor of Yahoo TechTicker. He often co-hosts episodes with Henry Blodget.

Photo: Facebook.com

Dan Colarusso

Connections: 8

The former Portfolio.com and New York Post editor has really run the gamut in terms of publications. His resume includes positions at TheStreet.com, CNBC, Barron's, Institutional Investor, and our own Silicon Alley Insider.

He's currently at Bloomberg TV.

Marc Cohodes (Sonoma / Napa, CA)

Connections: 8

Cohodes, formerly of Rocker Partners, is a high-profile short seller.

An avid NASCAR fan, he enjoys spending time with his son Max. His bets on the market have made Mr. Cohodes very wealthy.

Matt Davio (Bend, OR)

Connections: 8

The former east coaster now lives in Oregon and enjoys spending time with his wife and four children. He's worked for multiple hedge funds and even ran his own fund for three years. He focuses mostly on markets and investing and looks at trading from different perspectives.

Photo: philpearlman.com

Paul Kedrosky (San Diego, CA)

Connections: 8

The Infectious Greed blogger is a jack of all trades (in a good way). Armed with a Ph.D in economics of technology and a master's in finance, Kedrosky has done speaking gigs, analyst research for CNBC, and writes for multiple blogs. He tends to reminisce about the days of yesteryear when complex derivatives were a thing of the past.

Photo: paul.kedrosky.com

Barry Ritholtz

Connections: 9

Outlandish and equally awesome, Barry Ritholtz is one of the best financial bloggers around.

His site, The Big Picture has a large readership and he is a frequent guest on CNBC, CNN and other finance television programs. Aside from being a blogger and an author, Barry's dayjob is CEO and Director of Equity Research at Fusion IQ, an online quantitative research firm.

Cody Willard (New York, NY)

Connections: 9

Mr. Willard is a youthful anchor for the Fox Business Network, co-hosting Happy Hour. He is also an investor with in CL Willard Capital and has written columns for the Financial Times and TheStreet.com. Willard also serves as an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University where he teaches a class called 'Revolutionomics' focused on technology and business.

Roger Nusbaum (Northern Arizona, AZ)

Connections: 9

Financial advisor by day and blogger by night, Nusbaum manages client portfolios based on a mix of stocks and ETF holdings. Risk management and ETFs are his specialty, as well as international markets.

Edward Elfenbein (Washington, DC)

Connections: 10

Elfenbein is the writer of Crossing Wall Street, a popular finance blog about investment advice. Ed believes in the old tradition of buying and holding shares of a company. He has a self-described love for the market and believes it is one of the best ways to make money in this world.

Jeff Matthews (Bridgeport / Stamford, CT)

Connections: 10

Author Jeff Matthews has written at length on the life and investments of Warren Buffet and also runs a blog called 'Jeff Matthews is not making this up.' Matthews is also a popular guest on Kudlow and Company as well as other television programs.

Photo: facebook.com

James Altucher (TheStreet.com)

Connections: 11

Yet another writer for TheStreet.com, James Altucher also writes a column for Financial Times' Wealth section and contributes to RealMoney.com. He founded Stockpickr LLC which was subsequently purchased by TheStreet.com. Altucher also deals in venture capital funding and is a big chess player.

Eric Savitz (Silicon Valley, CA)

Connections: 12

The Tech Trader Daily blogger is a well-known and respected technology analyst. Previously, he's written for Dow Jones newswires where he founded the Plugged In tech column. He resides in Palo Alto, California, enjoying weather that people on Wall Street can only dream of.

Photo: SeekingAlpha.com

Sam E. Antar (New York, NY)

Connections: 12

Sam is infamous for helping shamed electronics retailer Crazy Eddie's cook the books. He is a former CPA who helped create one of the largest securities fraud cases of all time. Still performing a mea culpa for his activities, Antar helped put his cousin in prison by testifying at the Crazy Eddie's trials.

In a recent presentation at Northern Illinois University (November, 2009), Sammy Antar explained how American business professors cannot possibly teach students how to prepare for scoundrels, such as those represented by the entire Antar family.

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Now read more from Byrne's perspective at DeepCapture.com -- >

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