This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Afghan Shooter Was Penny-Stock Cold-Caller for Mob-Linked Firm

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Robert Bales, accused killer of 16 Afghan civilians, at one time had ambitions to become a Wall Street Master of the Universe the old-fashioned way: by ripping off the public, working alongside Mob-linked stockbrokers.

It's not clear to what extent Bales' life was influenced by his days as a stockbroker for marginal-to-sleazy brokerages in Florida and Ohio. But it must have been significant, because he spent four years in the armpit of the securities industry.

In recent days, attention has focused on an NASD arbitration award from 2003, which he did not contest, stemming from his days as a stockbroker in the 1990s. It found Bales and other brokers liable for ripping off an elderly Ohio couple, and ordered him and others to pay $1.5 million. That turns out to have been just one episode from Bales' four-year journey through the bottom-feeding netherworld of the microcap market -- the world of boiler rooms, overvalued stocks and systematic investor rip-offs.

Bales worked for five brokerages from 1996 to 2000 -- including one firm, the Hamilton-Shea Group, whose undisclosed principals later pleaded guilty to felonies and had Mob ties. Their firm was subsequently expelled from the securities industry. Interestingly, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority records show that three of the firms where Bales worked were interconnected, and linked -- through personal or corporate ties -- to Hamilton-Shea. That would seem to indicate that Bales may have been part of a "crew" of brokers who moved from place to place during the 1990s. However, that could not be independently confirmed.

Though Bales himself had no known connection to the mob, a person intimately familiar with the players of the era tells me that Hamilton-Shea was under the undisclosed control of two heavy-hitter penny-stock brokers who had connections to Philip C. Abramo, a capo in the DeCavalcante crime family and one of the leading Mafia figures involved in microcap brokerages during the era.

According to FINRA records, Bales began work at Hamilton-Shea in Pompano Beach, Fla., in July 1996, the same month in which he passed his Series 7 broker license. It was customary in those days for brokers to work for firms as unlicensed cold-callers before they obtained brokerage licenses. However, it's not known if Bales worked at Hamilton-Shea before getting his license.

1 of 3

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 17,804.80 +26.65 0.15%
S&P 500 2,070.65 +9.42 0.46%
NASDAQ 4,765.38 +16.9840 0.36%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs