As discussed here, Barry Minkow’s Fraud Discovery Institute has made a business out of attempting to identify what he believes will be market-moving information about public company executives’ academic credentials and integrity, selling short on that information pre-publication, and then publishing that information expecting or at least hoping that it will push the price of the executive’s company’s stock down, allowing him to profit.
FDI has alleged inflated (or non-existent) academic credentials for numerous executives, most recently about Microsemi Corp. President and CEO and STEC Inc. (STEC) Board Member James J. Peterson. FDI claimed in a background report last week that Peterson falsified his academic credentials from Brigham Young University in reports filed with the SEC. In response, Peterson issued a press release denying this allegation, and stating:
I am working directly with the University to clarify this situation,” Peterson said. “It appears that the background check there may have mistakenly been made with the name ‘James J. Patterson,’ not mine, as stated in a Seeking Alpha report.”
Peterson further questions the reliability of tipster Barry Minkow, a convicted felon who spent seven years in prison for fraud, as the source for the reports. Minkow uses his tips as a means to profit from “put options” he buys on companies he researches. He uses a disclaimer on the factual accuracy of his reports.
“I have every reason to expect that Brigham Young will investigate this allegation shortly and officially confirm my degrees,” Peterson said.
Now Minkow has shot back after obtaining what he says is a “Verification of Enrollment” from BYU signed by the Brigham Young Registrar. Minkow says the new document verifies his prior report that Peterson had falsified his academic credentials, as it states there were “No degrees awarded at BYU as of December 9, 2008,” to Peterson.
Minkow presents his case in the video below: