LeBron James scored 23 points and reserve guard Kyle Korver added 21 as the Cleveland Cavaliers rallied from a 24-point deficit on Monday to edge the New York Knicks 104-101.
Four-time NBA Most Valuable Player James added 12 assists and nine rebounds for the visiting Cavs, who were down by two dozen points in the third quarter before storming back for the victory.
Trailing 97-92, the Cavaliers went on a 10-0 run to grab the lead, James sinking a step-back 3-pointer to give Cleveland a 100-97 edge with 83 seconds remaining, their first lead since 25-24 in the second quarter.
“I thought his defense is what turned it,” Korver said of James. “He’s always going to get in the paint and make plays. That is where he is really special. He is able to do everything. And he showed that in the fourth quarter.”
Korver, who sank two 3-pointers in the last 4:35, made four late free throws to offset baskets by Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jnr. James missed two late free throws but Jeff Green grabbed the rebound for Cleveland to deny the Knicks a potential tying shot at the buzzer.
Dwyane Wade added 15 off the bench for Cleveland while Hardaway led New York with 28 points and Porzingis added 20.
“King” James bumped French teen guard Frank Ntilikina early in the game and New York teammate Enes Kanter, a Turkish center, stood toe-to-toe with James, continuing a spat that began on social media that extended to post-game comments.
“You can’t just come in and mess with a rookie like that. Mess with a grown man,” Kanter said. “You can call yourself King, Queen, Princess, whatever, but you can’t punk us.”
Told of the remarks, James said, “We got the win. I’m not going to say that guy’s name again.”
Even with star guard Stephen Curry out with a bruised thigh, the defending champion Golden State Warriors dumped visiting Orlando 110-100. Kevin Durant had 21 points and Draymond Green added 20 to lead the Warriors.
Sixers outlast Clippers
Joel Embiid scored 32 points and grabbed 16 rebounds while Robert Covington added 31 points and Australia’s Ben Simmons added 22 points to power the Philadelphia 76ers over the host Los Angeles Clippers 109-105.
A 10-1 Sixers’ run capped by two Simmons free throws put the 76ers ahead 105-101. Austin Rivers sank a 3-pointer for the Clippers but Covington, whose 3-pointer put the 76ers ahead for good, made four free throws in the final 10 seconds to seal the victory.
Greek star Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 27 points to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to a 110-103 victory over visiting Memphis. John Henson and Khris Middleton each added 17 for Milwaukee.
New Orleans forward Darius Miller sank four 3-pointers in the final 5:45 and netted 14 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter to lift host New Orleans over Atlanta 106-105. E’Twaun Moore led the Pelicans with 24 points and DeMarcus Cousins added 22 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists.
Jordan Clarkson scored 25 points in 25 minutes off the bench to help the Los Angeles Lakers defeat host Phoenix 100-93. Devin Booker scored 36 points in a losing cause.
Karl-Anthony Towns scored 24 points and grabbed 13 rebounds while Jimmy Butler added 21 points and 10 assists to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves over host Utah 109-98.
C.J. McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic each scored 17 points to lead the Portland trail Blazers over visiting Denver 99-82.
John Wall scored 21 points to lead the Washington Wizards over visiting Sacramento 110-92.
Behind the garb of wealth and success, white collar criminals are hiding in plain sight
Understanding the forces that motivate leaders to become fraudsters.
Most con artists are very easy to like; the ones that belong to the corporate society, even more so. The Jordan Belforts of the world are confident, sharp and can smooth-talk their way into convincing people to bend at their will. For years, Harshad Mehta, a practiced con-artist, employed all-of-the-above to earn the sobriquet “big bull” on Dalaal Street. In 1992, the stockbroker used the pump and dump technique, explained later, to falsely inflate the Sensex from 1,194 points to 4,467. It was only after the scam that journalist Sucheta Dalal, acting on a tip-off, broke the story exposing how he fraudulently dipped into the banking system to finance a boom that manipulated the stock market.
In her book ‘The confidence game’, Maria Konnikova observes that con artists are expert storytellers - “When a story is plausible, we often assume it’s true.” Harshad Mehta’s story was an endearing rags-to-riches tale in which an insurance agent turned stockbroker flourished based on his skill and knowledge of the market. For years, he gave hope to marketmen that they too could one day live in a 15,000 sq.ft. posh apartment with a swimming pool in upmarket Worli.
One such marketman was Ketan Parekh who took over Dalaal Street after the arrest of Harshad Mehta. Ketan Parekh kept a low profile and broke character only to celebrate milestones such as reaching Rs. 100 crore in net worth, for which he threw a lavish bash with a star-studded guest-list to show off his wealth and connections. Ketan Parekh, a trainee in Harshad Mehta’s company, used the same infamous pump-and-dump scheme to make his riches. In that, he first used false bank documents to buy high stakes in shares that would inflate the stock prices of certain companies. The rise in stock prices lured in other institutional investors, further increasing the price of the stock. Once the price was high, Ketan dumped these stocks making huge profits and causing the stock market to take a tumble since it was propped up on misleading share prices. Ketan Parekh was later implicated in the 2001 securities scam and is serving a 14-years SEBI ban. The tactics employed by Harshad Mehta and Ketan Parekh were similar, in that they found a loophole in the system and took advantage of it to accumulate an obscene amount of wealth.
Call it greed, addiction or smarts, the 1992 and 2001 Securities Scams, for the first time, revealed the magnitude of white collar crimes in India. To fill the gaps exposed through these scams, the Securities Laws Act 1995 widened SEBI’s jurisdiction and allowed it to regulate depositories, FIIs, venture capital funds and credit-rating agencies. SEBI further received greater autonomy to penalise capital market violations with a fine of Rs 10 lakhs.
Despite an empowered regulatory body, the next white-collar crime struck India’s capital market with a massive blow. In a confession letter, Ramalinga Raju, ex-chairman of Satyam Computers convicted of criminal conspiracy and financial fraud, disclosed that Satyam’s balance sheets were cooked up to show an excess of revenues amounting to Rs. 7,000 crore. This accounting fraud allowed the chairman to keep the share prices of the company high. The deception, once revealed to unsuspecting board members and shareholders, made the company’s stock prices crash, with the investors losing as much as Rs. 14,000 crores. The crash of India’s fourth largest software services company is often likened to the bankruptcy of Enron - both companies achieved dizzying heights but collapsed to the ground taking their shareholders with them. Ramalinga Raju wrote in his letter “it was like riding a tiger, not knowing how to get off without being eaten”, implying that even after the realisation of consequences of the crime, it was impossible for him to rectify it.
It is theorised that white-collar crimes like these are highly rationalised. The motivation for the crime can be linked to the strain theory developed by Robert K Merton who stated that society puts pressure on individuals to achieve socially accepted goals (the importance of money, social status etc.). Not having the means to achieve those goals leads individuals to commit crimes.
Take the case of the executive who spent nine years in McKinsey as managing director and thereafter on the corporate and non-profit boards of Goldman Sachs, Procter & Gamble, American Airlines, and Harvard Business School. Rajat Gupta was a figure of success. Furthermore, his commitment to philanthropy added an additional layer of credibility to his image. He created the American India Foundation which brought in millions of dollars in philanthropic contributions from NRIs to development programs across the country. Rajat Gupta’s descent started during the investigation on Raj Rajaratnam, a Sri-Lankan hedge fund manager accused of insider trading. Convicted for leaking confidential information about Warren Buffet’s sizeable investment plans for Goldman Sachs to Raj Rajaratnam, Rajat Gupta was found guilty of conspiracy and three counts of securities fraud. Safe to say, Mr. Gupta’s philanthropic work did not sway the jury.
The people discussed above have one thing in common - each one of them was well respected and celebrated for their industry prowess and social standing, but got sucked down a path of non-violent crime. The question remains - Why are individuals at successful positions willing to risk it all? The book Why They Do It: Inside the mind of the White-Collar Criminal based on a research by Eugene Soltes reveals a startling insight. Soltes spoke to fifty white collar criminals to understand their motivations behind the crimes. Like most of us, Soltes expected the workings of a calculated and greedy mind behind the crimes, something that could separate them from regular people. However, the results were surprisingly unnerving. According to the research, most of the executives who committed crimes made decisions the way we all do–on the basis of their intuitions and gut feelings. They often didn’t realise the consequences of their action and got caught in the flow of making more money.
The arena of white collar crimes is full of commanding players with large and complex personalities. Billions, starring Damien Lewis and Paul Giamatti, captures the undercurrents of Wall Street and delivers a high-octane ‘ruthless attorney vs wealthy kingpin’ drama. The show looks at the fine line between success and fraud in the stock market. Bobby Axelrod, the hedge fund kingpin, skilfully walks on this fine line like a tightrope walker, making it difficult for Chuck Rhoades, a US attorney, to build a case against him.