Anthony Elgindy, 48, who was famous as a short-seller who claimed to be reforming the penny stock market, is dead. He died Thursday, July 23, although the county medical examiner and the sheriff's office have no record of his death, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which was deeply involved in his activities, says it would not know of such a death.
I got several emails telling me of his death. I called his cell number. A brother answered and refused to talk, and hung up after I asked him simply to confirm the death.
Elgindy's son, Adam Elgindy, says on his Facebook page, "My dad, Anthony Elgindy, passed away yesterday. He was under so much stress and panic and he took his own life." Several of Adam Elgindy's friends sent him condolences such as "I'm sorry man, "if you need anything at all hit me up man," and "I'm praying god watches over you."
Condolences on Twitter were also sent to Elgindy's brother.
Elgindy, whose questionable market activities were chronicled in the Union-Tribune, San Diego Reader, New York Times, and on local and national TV, began his career working for Melvin Lloyd Richards, a notorious penny stock tout who was in jail several times, but the last I heard was out.
The final time I talked with Elgindy was in January of last year. He admitted to being a "scumbag" while he worked for Richards (that is, selling worthless stocks to naive people), but then repeated what he claimed all along: that he went into the business of reforming the market by shorting stocks (betting they would drop) because they were overvalued, overhyped, or fraudulent, or all three.
Elgindy had an online newsletter, AnthonyPacific.com, which speculators paid a bundle to receive. In the newsletter, he would highlight the stocks he was shorting. Elgindy became rich, buying a luxurious Encinitas home and owning several vintage automobiles.
Elgindy gave testimony that helped the FBI get the goods on Richards, who went to jail in San Diego, Los Angeles, and New York, and perhaps other places. Elgindy claimed his life was in danger, and he was featured on a Barbara Walters TV show practicing at a gun range. The FBI lauded Elgindy's work on that case.
Then Elgindy really got into trouble. He was getting confidential information from an FBI agent, who would feed him the names and circumstances of companies that were under investigation. In January of 2005, Elgindy was found guilty in a Brooklyn court of racketeering and securities fraud. The FBI agent was convicted of similar crimes.
The federal government said Elgindy used the information to manipulate shares of companies, and to extort some of the firms to provide him shares if he wouldn't release what he knew.
In the trial, it came out that Elgindy was bipolar.
The government argued that Elgindy's reform claims were hooey; he was out for money.
At one point, the government suggested that Elgindy, who was born in Egypt, had advance knowledge of 9/11, and had attempted to dump stock as a result of that foreknowledge. The judge would not let that subject be used in court.
In 2005, Elgindy was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison, although he did not have to serve that much time, because he was already in custody. He had violated terms of his pretrial agreement when he lied to federal officials after trying to fly to San Diego under a phony name, with $25,000 in cash, $30,000 to $40,000 in jewelry, and prescription narcotics.
The final time I talked with him in January of last year, he seemed quite depressed and admitted his attempt to flee was a bad mistake. But he continued to insist that he was a reformer, not a manipulator.