‘Bro, I’m Going Rogue’: The Wall Street Informant Who Double-Crossed the FBI – Bloomberg
More stories by Zeke FauxMarch 23, 2017, 2:00 AM PDTOn the night he cut a deal with the FBI, Guy Gentile was on his way to a Connecticut casino for his cousin’s bachelor party. He’d jetted up from the Bahamas, where he was running an online stock brokerage that cleared a million dollars a year without much effort on his part. Then 36, he was a working-class kid who’d finagled his way into the dicier edges of finance, and he dressed the part, with neatly trimmed stubble, designer jeans, a silver Rolex, and sunglasses that hung from the collar of his tight T-shirt, just below a few tufts of chest hair.
Gentile was feeling edgy about traveling stateside. It was July 2012, and regulators had been making calls about a stock play he’d been involved with a few years earlier. He’d been part of a group that the FBI suspected had suckered investors out of more than $15 million by manipulating the market for shares in a Mexican gold mine and a natural gas project in Kentucky.
As Gentile’s plane landed in White Plains, N.Y., he saw the flashing lights of police cars on the tarmac, confirming his fears. Before passengers could disembark, uniformed men came on board. Gentile dialed his lawyer, but the men grabbed the phone out of his hands, handcuffed him, and marched him off the plane.
Soon, two FBI agents picked him up from an airport detention room and drove him to a neon-lit diner in Newark, N.J., near their office. They bought Gentile a bacon cheeseburger and a Diet Coke and told him he had two options: Either they could throw him in jail, seize his assets, and hand his case to a prosecutor with a 95 percent win rate, or he could help them catch a bigger fish—and maybe make his problems go away. Gentile didn’t need to think it over. Whatever you want, he said, I’ll do it.
Normally the identity of an FBI cooperator would be kept secret, but sometime last year, a website called Rogue Informant went live. It bore the tagline “They said he had ice flowing through his veins,” a picture of a man getting off a private jet, and no identifying information. A trader told me who was behind it.
When I called Gentile, it was as though he’d been waiting for me. He said he had an amazing story to tell, promising that it included celebrities and a government coverup. “Remember the movie American Hustle? It’s kind of like that, with way more dirt and twists and f—ed-up shit,” he said.
He told me that the information he’d gathered across three years had led to dozens of arrests and helped prevent hundreds of millions of dollars in potential fraud losses. That made sense, in a way. Most stock market scams are easy to spot but hard to prove—even promoters of the most dubious schemes can operate for years, taking advantage of legal loopholes, offshore hideouts, and anonymous shell corporations. Yet the Department of Justice often claims in its press releases that since fiscal 2009 it has “filed over 18,000 financial fraud cases against more than 25,000 defendants.” Gentile offered a rare chance to see how the FBI is making these cases—even though, if his website is any indication, something went dramatically wrong.