inter. Artikel: Mortgage banker on a mission for truth on the Internet

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inter. Artikel: Mortgage banker on a mission for truth on the Internet

              Mortgage banker on a mission for truth on the

              By Aaron Elstein

              Internet message boards teem with people spouting opinions about the
              prospects of stocks they love, or love to hate. And then there is Floyd
              Schneider, who says he is on a mission to "expose the underbelly of Wall

              Schneider, 42, an executive at a New Jersey mortgage bank, spends most of his
              day — up to 15 hours, he estimates — at his computer prowling the Internet in
              search of stocks he deems overvalued or hyped.

              He publishes his findings in a weekly online newsletter called "The Truthseeker

              "My role is to find rigged stocks and expose them as the scum they are," says
              Schneider, who is vice president at Real Estate Mortgage Network in Rochelle
              Park, N.J.

              Though he lacks formal training as a stock analyst, he's developing a reputation

              online as Wall Street's "truth police."

              Schneider's amateur status has won him a following among short sellers —
              investors who hope to make money on stocks that deflate. He claims 300
              people pay to get his Truthseeker Report, which costs $9.95 a month. Others
              closely track his postings on Internet message boards.

              His newletter was launched in August.

              A month later, Schneider also began issuing "investment opinions" over
              Business Wire, paying $350 per release, in which he recommends investors
              sell, or short, stocks researched by him. He insists he never takes positions in
              stocks about which he writes.

              His outspokenness has drawn some corporate ire.

              ZiaSun Technologies, an Internet holding company in San Diego, is suing him
              for defamation because of remarks he posted about the company's executives.
              The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle in July, is pending.

              Another company, Sara Hallitex, an Internet venture-capital firm, responded to
              allegations by Schneider with postings on its corporate Web site that accused
              him of a "smear campaign."

              Schneider's critics say he's obsessed and needs a new hobby. He has posted
              more than 5,000 messages on Internet bulletin boards at Silicon Investor, or an
              average of 14 per day since he signed up in November 1998, plus hundreds
              more on Raging Bull.

              Schneider counters that he's providing a crucial service to investors — and he
              has a lot of supporters.

              Although short-sellers are his biggest fans, Schneider also has drawn attention
              from a few securities lawyers, who sometimes find his information useful in
              pursuing fraud cases against companies on behalf of shareholders.

              Schneider "is very prolific," says Michael Braun, a lawyer at Stull, Stull &
              Brody in Los Angeles. The lawfire recently sued, a company
              that had been profiled by Schneider.

              Braun, however, declined to comment on the accuracy of Schneider's research.

              Schneider, who says his only investment is about $2,000 in a mutual fund, said
              his interest in the stock market began in about 1996, when he opened an
              American Online account and discovered its "Shark Attack" chatroom, where
              people discussed stock picks.

              He read participants' tips on how to use Internet search engines to unearth
              public records, such as SEC filings and state incorporation documents, and
              decided to strike out on his own.

              "The more I did, the more I learned and the better I got," he says.

              In November 1998, he signed up as a member of Silicon Investor, a popular
              online message board service and, using the alias "Floydie," started writing
              about small companies for which share prices seemed to be rising without

              These days he maintains an "Unfortunate 100 Index," an index of companies
              that he believes will fall in value.

              Schneider says that one day he hopes to make cyber-sleuthing his full-time job.
              Ultimately, he'd like to sell ads on his site, so he can publish his reports for

              "What I really love doing is investigating companies. I mean, this is fun," he
              says. "And there is always more out there."


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