by Chris Beam
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October 9, 2006 at 11:41 am
The Aleksey Vayner saga continues this week, and we’re happy to report: It just keeps getting better. A quick preview of this entry for the Adderall set:
Vayner’s fraudulent investment firm
Vayner’s fraudulent charity
Vayner’s fraudulent book about the Holocaust
Let’s start with his investment firm, Vayner Capital Management LLC. The site is pretty basic — unassuming layout, innocuous graphics, stock photos. But take a look at the text. On the “About Us” page (Google Cache, we love you!), Vayner Capital promises to marshal “expertise,” “agility” and “passion” to all its business dealings. Here’s a sample:
Our people bring a passionate intensity to the way we invest and service our clients. This is especially true in the realm of investment research, where our competitive edge lies in our drive to identify opportunities before they become widely known, to unearth information that others overlook, and to understand the companies in which we invest to the greatest degree possible.
Why does this matter? That paragraph is nearly identical to a section from the web site of Denver Investment Advisors, who also promise “experience,” “focus,” “passion,” and “agility.” Compare here. It’s not clear if Denver knows about the homage, but we’re sure their lawyers would be flattered.
Now let’s turn to Vayner’s charity, Youth Empowerment Strategies — not to be confused, of course with this Youth Empowerment Strategies. Why are there two? Well, we’re gonna break it down real simple: one is real, and the other isn’t.
Vayner’s site has a “Charity Navigator Four Star Charity” logo from Charity Navigator, an organization that ranks good charities and weeds out frauds. We called them this morning. “Oh, we’ve heard of them,” Leonie Giles, a program analyst there, said immediately. They asked Aleksey’s site (which lists a non-existant Manhattan address on its “Donate Another Way” page, btw) to take down the fake “Four Star” logo two months ago, and are considering legal action against them. Giles recommended we contact the freaking Connecticut attorney general.
Vayner lists on his resume his self-published book, Women’s Silent Tears, which he calls a “gendered look at the Holocaust.” You can’t read the whole book online, but you can preview the first few pages. We examined a section on euthanasia, and guess what. The entire passage is lifted from the online Holocaust Encyclopedia. Scan Vayner’s book for yourself here. See the identical passage here.
(UPDATE: Vayner has removed his book from Lulu.com. Real classy.)
So let’s get this straight: Vayner created a fake charity. He named himself CEO of a non-existent investment firm. And he plagiarized a book on the Holocaust.
Forget Rahmatullah Hashemi. Why is Aleksey Vayner at Yale University?!