ICYMI, MarketWatch interviewed Scott London the other day — which I suppose was a good idea since interviews might get a bit more difficult after London heads off to prison to serve his 14 month sentence next month.
In the interview, London comes off as approachably remourseful, almost like a grandma apologizing to her heirs for blowing their future fortune on lottery tickets and Nigerian prince scams. He's sorry for what he did, alright? He never liked that Rolex. Oh, and he wanted to stay friends with Brian Shaw up until the moment Shaw cooperated with the FBI to bust London.
As we already know, London first met Shaw in 2005 at a country club they both belonged to. It wasn't until the economy tanked in 2008 that Shaw, his jewelry business hurting from the recession, turned to London for "help."
MarketWatch: How did the subject of giving him stock tips first come up?
London: The individual came to me after the 2008 recession. He asked me, “Can you help me out?” I agreed to do so. It’s not like he said, “Let’s do this!” I would have said, “No way.” [According to the original Securities and Exchange Commission complaint, Shaw’s family-run jewelry business in Encino, Calif. was “faltering” during the economic downturn.]
MarketWatch: I find this fascinating: There was never a moment where you decided, “This is where I am going to break the law.”
London: It happened so slowly, there wasn’t really a moment. It was about a year and a half from when it went from him asking for public information, saying, “Would you be willing to…” to, “Can you give me non-public information?” Then I thought, ‘Oh, s***. I really shouldn’t be doing this.’ I thought, ‘Would the friendship withstand me saying no?’ I think we still would have been friends today. I was not sticking up (for myself) when I should have. But I agreed to do that. I take the blame.
MarketWatch: You were friends?
London: Yes, we were good friends.
MarketWatch: And now?
London: What do you think? I haven’t seen or spoken to him since he participated in the sting to lead the FBI to me.
So this guy he's known for four and a half years that he hangs out with sometimes starts asking for non-public information and London was more worried about his friendship than he was ruining his career?
Interestingly, it appears as though that is exactly what London wanted to happen. When he started hating his job and hating his life yet no one listened to his pleas for a break, perhaps a little self-sabotage came into play:
MarketWatch: What else was going on with you at the time?
London: I had some serious issues in my job that I was keeping to myself about being in the same position for so long, working extensive hours. The burnout factor was a significant contribution. I didn’t value my job as much. I was managing some high-profile accounts and managing the second/third largest practice in the firm. We travelled a lot. We worked 60 hours a week. But I don’t want to come off as somebody who is blaming anyone else but myself.
MarketWatch: There’s a very valuable lesson there for employers and employees.
London: I was asking to get out of this position for three years. I had been in a leadership position for nine years. My psychologist said, “You should have quit. You had pretty much run your course.” I don’t buy it 100%. I’m an accountant not a psychologist, but I did bottle that stuff up inside.
The entire interview is worth a read, due in part to MarketWatch's ridiculous questions ("Do you ever Google yourself?") and London's equally ridiculous answers (when asked if he liked wearing the Rolex watch, London responds "You know what? I never really did. I always preferred a watch with a leather band.").
Scott London begins his prison sentence on July 18.