News Releases


October 5, 2016 - Keith Schooley: Wells Fargo Scandal is Déjà Vu

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Keith Schooley: Wells Fargo Scandal is Déjà Vu

ENID, Okla., Oct. 5, 2016

Former Merrill Lynch star broker Keith Schooley isn't shocked at all by the antics happening over at big bank Wells Fargo. In fact, he says, "It's déjà vu all over again." A new screenplay based on Schooley's days at Merrill in '91-'92 is now circulating in Hollywood.

The screenplay written by two Hollywood pros dramatically captures Schooley's experiences as told in his book Merrill Lynch: The Cost Could Be Fatal - My War Against Wall Street's Giant. In the book, Schooley alleged extensive corruption at the firm that was covered up by senior management and the board of directors that resulted in termination of his employment and litigation that went all the way to the Oklahoma Supreme Court and Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The screenplay is represented by veteran entertainment lawyer Jay Shanker.

Schooley's 2002 book was a cautionary tale illustrating how careless and greedy stewardship of the nation's banking could lead to a collapse of the economy. The crash of 2008 has only confirmed to Schooley that blowing the whistle was the right thing to do.

Senator Elizabeth Warren recently grilled Wells CEO John Stumpf at a Senate Banking Committee hearing where she accused him of "gutless leadership."

"I only wish my efforts could have stopped the domino effect on Wall Street," said Schooley. "But, even with Senator Warren setting off sirens in the banking industry these insatiable money grubbers always seem to find new ways to circumvent the system."

"I agree with Warren that we need Congress and the Department of Justice to take action and send these guys to the slammer," said Schooley. "25 years later, it's past time to act. Wells Fargo's decision to claw back some of Stumpf's pay is laughable. Nobody from senior management has been forced to step down and I'm having flashbacks to my days at Merrill."

"While the statute of limitations may have run on the illegal behavior by Merrill," said Schooley, "there is no statute on Congressional hearings. I'd still like to see certain parties at Merrill raise their right hands."

"It's my hope that the screenplay gets made into a movie and puts a spotlight on the unending corruption on Wall Street," said Schooley. "Perhaps then, some meaningful changes will be made."

September 17, 2014 - Greed Index: Screen Adaptation of Merrill Lynch Expose′ Gets Boost From More Bad Behavior

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Greed Index: Screen Adaptation of Merrill Lynch Expose′ Gets Boost From More Bad Behavior

ENID, OKLAHOMA, Sept. 17, 2014
The screenplay based on the true story Merrill Lynch: The Cost Could Be Fatal—My War Against Wall Street's Giant, by Keith Schooley, is gaining attention from potential backers due to the recent surge of lawsuits and settlements against the firm that today is no more than a unit of Bank of America.

Greed Index, written by acclaimed investigative reporter Chandra Niles Folsom, recounts the lead up to the collapse of Merrill Lynch as told by Schooley—a former top selling broker at the company, who exposed gross fraud and corruption there.

A recent Fortune article reported that the firm is paying nearly $100 million in settlements related to overcharges to mutual fund customers' retirement accounts and to charities.

That news took a back seat when the Justice Department announced a record breaking $17 billion settlement had been reached with Merrill's parent company related to fraudulent marketing of mortgage-backed securities that led to the economic meltdown.

Let's put that into perspective. $17 billion is higher than the GDP of 102 countries.

This is the largest DOJ settlement by far. Yet, while millions of Americans lost their homes, BofA had argued it should not be held liable for the deceptive subprime mortgage products issued by its bad seed.

Taking a walk down Bad Memory Lane, Merrill's first "unprecedented" $100 million settlement was paid to the state of New York in 2002, and another $250 million to hundreds of women in a class action suit, $160 million more in another class action suit to settle racial discrimination claims on behalf of 700 black brokers, among numerous other claims and settlements. Then there was the Senate subcommittee probe that led to convictions of four Merrill Lynch executives, and the very bad thing Martha Stewart did that landed her and her Merrill broker in the slammer.

The recent nationally-publicized cheating scandals involving the Notre Dame football team, Harvard students, and the Air Force nuclear launch officers (all at institutions once touted for their honor and integrity) pale in comparison to the one at Merrill covered up by the board and uncovered by Schooley, as chronicled in his book and in the screenplay.

"The corporate culture when I was there encouraged dishonesty in pursuit of the almighty dollar and it appears that culture has not changed," said Schooley.

Even its attempts to rebrand itself as Merrill Edge seem to have only encouraged the bad boys at Merrill to fall off the edge themselves.

Greed Index has been acclaimed by critics at, among others, Futures magazine, and Shanghai University of Finance and Economics Press has included the book in The World Classics of Investment series.

September 17, 2012 - Wall Street Screenplay Reveals Expose' Book May Have Played Role in Merrill Lynch Demise

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Wall Street Screenplay Reveals Expose' Book May Have Played Role in Merrill Lynch Demise

NEW YORK, NY, Sept. 17, 2012
A recent review in Futures Magazine of the screenplay Robber Barons of the Big Board, suggests that a former Merrill Lynch stockbroker may have played a key role in bringing "this titan of Wall Street to its knees and into the unwilling arms of Bank of America."

The script, currently being pitched to the film industry, could be the next chapter in revealing Wall Street's egregious role in tanking the U.S. economy by knowingly cheating millions of trusting investors out of their life savings.

According to reviewer Patrick Kelly, the script written by Chandra Niles Folsom, "cleverly and entertainingly charts one man's crusade against Merrill Lynch & Company."

The story's protagonist Keith Schooley, wrote his book Merrill Lynch: The Cost Could Be Fatal - My War Against Wall Street's Giant to expose an astonishing litany of wrongdoing and downright illegal acts perpetrated by the firm's management from top to bottom.

Writes Kelly: "Ms. Folsom, in full cooperation with Schooley, takes his book, adds lesbian sex, marital discord, prominent financial movers and shakers of the go-go 1990s, investors such as Martha Stewart, media commentators of the day, an investigative Wall Street reporter, symbolic bulls at a cattle ranch, ruthless Wall Street brokers and their spiteful wives to the catastrophic events of 9/11 where, she claims, stockbrokers fleeing the carnage wreaked on lower Manhattan by the fly-by-day suicide bombers stopped at nearby ATM machines to withdraw oodles of cash in case of a stock market crash."

The narrative weaves together its protagonists and antagonists geographically and is replete with flashback scenes.

An interesting part of the screenplay depicts Schooley before he was a star stockbroker, as a young millionaire oil wildcatter in Texas and Oklahoma. Also present in the script is Harold Hamm -- the billionaire Oklahoma oil tycoon recently in the headlines as Mitt Romney's top energy adviser and Super Pac contributor. His wife Sue Ann was Keith's wife Donna's BFF and several scenes in the script take place on Hamm's ostentatious ranch.

As more details about the incestuous nature of politics and big business come to light, Folsom's screenplay will undoubtedly become an increasingly valuable chapter in the history of Wall Street. Time will tell if Robber Barons joins the ranks of Money Never Sleeps, Margin Call and Too Big to Fail.

Veteran entertainment attorney Jay Shanker is representing the screenplay.

November 8, 2011 - Robber Barons of the Big Board – New Screenplay Based on Keith Schooley Book Reveals Root Causes of Merrill Lynch Downfall

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Robber Barons of the Big Board – New Screenplay Based on Keith Schooley Book Reveals Root Causes of Merrill Lynch Downfall

ENID, Okla., Nov. 8, 2011
A new feature screenplay based on the Keith Schooley classic, Merrill Lynch: The Cost Could Be Fatal - My War Against Wall Street's Giant, is being pitched to Hollywood in tandem with the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Robber Barons of the Big Board, written by acclaimed investigative reporter Chandra Niles Folsom, reveals what happens when an idealistic rookie stockbroker notices unlawful business practices at America's most trusted financial firm and turns whistleblower.

Alternating between small town Oklahoma and big city New York, a cast of unforgettable characters find their worlds colliding as the U.S. economy melts under the searing heat of greed and corruption fed on a steady drip of Bush/Cheney policy steroids.

Several top U.S. production companies, A-list actors and an independent film producer in the Arabian Peninsula have shown interest in the work, which Schooley hopes to have in production by next year. Among others eager to read the script was former "Sheriff of Wall Street" and New York governor, Eliot Spitzer.

"This screenplay is my story," says Schooley. "But, more importantly, it is an authentic American story that could have only occurred during an era when the Federal government existed primarily to serve the desires of Corporate America while ordinary citizens paid the bill."

As the Wall Street protests continue to grow in size and scope, occupying city streets from coast to coast with the message that big banks and the mega rich must be held accountable, Schooley's crusade to clean up Wall Street is one step closer to becoming a reality.

"I witnessed the corruption from the inside," says Schooley. "I knew that if it was happening at Merrill Lynch, it must be going on at the other big banks and now everyone recognizes they were duped by Wall Street's big lie."

Veteran entertainment attorney Jay Shanker, who has practiced in Los Angeles for more than 25 years, is currently representing Robber Barons.

March 16, 2010 - Wall Street "World Classic" Corruption Book Hits Bookstores in China - Next Stop Silver Screen

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Wall Street "World Classic" Corruption Book Hits Bookstores in China—Next Stop Silver Screen.

ENID, Okla., March 16, 2010
Keith Schooley, a former star financial consultant with Merrill Lynch who exposed widespread corruption at the firm prior to its collapse and acquisition by Bank of America, has been added to a prestigious publishing list in China.

Shanghai University of Finance and Economics Press (SUFEP) (www.sufep.com), with annual sales of more than 90 million RMB, has just completed translation of Schooley's groundbreaking book Merrill Lynch: The Cost Could Be Fatal – My War Against Wall Street's Giant for sale in China.

Schooley's book exposes extensive corruption at Merrill Lynch including an unlawful widespread cheating scandal involving members of management and a multitude of financial consultants covered up by senior management and the board of directors—even after Schooley met with them to present his findings.

Additionally, the author indicts regulators for their abysmal failure to regulate and reveals inherent flaws in self-regulatory sponsored binding arbitration.

Joining such famous titles as The Great Crash 1929 by John Kenneth Galbraith, Understanding Wall Street, by Jeffrey B. Little and The Bear Book: Survive and Profit in Ferocious Markets, by John Rothchild, Schooley's detailed witness account of wrongdoing at the Wall Street giant is certain to become a classic in China.

"I really like my book being included in a series which has showcased notable books such as The Great Crash 1929 and I like my name mentioned in the same breath as John Kenneth Galbraith," says the author. "Also, I'm honored that my book was selected from investment books in such a large universe as the US and European markets."

The SUFEP series The World Classics of Investment is sponsored by China Universal Asset Management Co., Ltd. and published by a top Asian university of finance and economics. The series was designed to cultivate Chinese investors in their perspective and insight on the world capital markets. With solid support from academic research groups, the press continually puts out first-class quality publications and has won hundreds of awards from provincial and ministerial levels and above.

According to the publisher, their translation series "provides an overview of both the past and the present by describing the magnificent history of the development of the money market, demonstrating the rise of some of the world's richest people, as well as revealing stories behind the scenes related to investment banks on Wall Street."

Now that Wall Street has been bailed out by the Federal government and back to business as usual—handing out obscene bonuses while Main Street suffers and plotting ways to circumvent new government regulations, Schooley's account may well serve as a manual for investors in the Asian markets should they discover their own financial titans following in the footsteps of Merrill and other firms that put personal greed ahead of public trust.

"Merrill Lynch has sullied its reputation as a result of numerous scandals—despite second and third chances it was given to clean up its act," warns Schooley. "Let's hope China gets it right the first time."

Schooley's current project—a feature-length film—is in its early stages. The author says, "I believe the silver screen will provide an incredible view and dramatically capture the corruption and players involved." The cinematic presentation will depict the massive corruption on Wall Street and in particular, at Merrill Lynch.

January 27, 2009 - Merrill Lynch Cancer Spreads to Bank of America, Says Merrill Author

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Merrill Lynch Cancer Spreads to Bank of America, Says Merrill Author

ENID, Okla., January 27, 2009
Keith Schooley, author of Merrill Lynch: The Cost Could Be Fatal – My War Against Wall Street's Giant, says that Bank of America chief Ken Lewis could have benefited from reading his book before committing to purchasing the failed Merrill Lynch.

"Had he done that he would have discovered the inherent duplicity in Merrill Lynch, ranging from brokers to senior management and the board of directors," says Schooley, who first blew the whistle on corruption and unethical practices at Merrill during the 1990s.

Many in the financial world are now wondering if Merrill's former CEO, John Thain, may have intentionally duped Lewis in the just-completed transaction, and furthermore misled Merrill's shareholders regarding the condition of the firm, last year.

Schooley's landmark book, a harbinger of the ensuing culture of corruption on Wall Street, might have put Lewis on notice that something was terribly wrong at the once mighty Mother Merrill.

When Thain became Merrill Lynch's CEO near the start of 2008, his first order of business was to hire a celebrity designer to revamp his new suite of offices to the tune of $1.22 million. He also paid a chauffer almost a quarter of a million dollars to whisk him between multimillion dollar residences, during a year that his company was suffering massive losses due to faulty management.

Ironically, Thain had been hired to replace the ousted Stan O'Neal, who had previously led Merrill to ruin. But the losses continued under Thain's stewardship, forcing sale of the company to BofA in mid-September in order to escape liquidation as investors began to panic.

Thain was forced to resign once it was learned that he had rushed out executives' year-end bonuses of $4 billion just before the BofA acquisition closed and Lewis' request for more government bailout money due in part to Merrill's $15.3 billion fourth quarter loss.

BofA shares began tumbling following the news, and Lewis has come under increased criticism for purchasing the troubled company and using taxpayer dollars to survive his own ill-fated business decision.

"As Americans are suffering job losses due to the meltdown of financial institutions, they are outraged to learn that their tax dollars are being used to continue the lavish lifestyles of Wall Street executives," says Schooley.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has begun an investigation into the last minute bonuses arranged by Merrill—reminiscent of the Spitzer investigations that led to hundreds of millions of dollars in fines and the company's public disgrace during the early part of the decade.

Schooley's book is indeed a case study of the dismal failure of securities regulators, which seems to have culminated in the Bernard Madoff scandal. As the author writes in his book regarding communications with the SEC, "Soon I would realize just how slumbering the Washington bureaucrats were or, perhaps more likely, how they were influenced by the 'powerful and mighty.' "

Michael L. Rustad, editor of Bimonthly Review of Law Books writes, "Schooley illustrates the ways the 'powerful and mighty' play the game inside and outside of a court of law, including employing unethical and perhaps illegal tactics…. He documents a pattern of problems at the firm ranging from brokers to senior management, and suggests that the problems could even be traced to the board of directors…. This is a book that should be read by not only Merrill Lynch clients, but all investors."

In fact, Merrill Lynch's former general counsel had predicted more than 15 years ago that the company's loss of integrity would cost them more than dollars stating: "the cost could be fatal."

"If the current indigestion in absorbing Merrill Lynch doesn't bring down the once respected Bank of America then, ultimately, Merrill's culture of corruption will," says Schooley.

October 21, 2008 - Bank of America Acquires Culture of Corruption in Merrill Lynch Purchase

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Bank of America Acquires Culture of Corruption in Merrill Lynch Purchase

ENID, Okla., October 21, 2008
Keith Schooley, a former star financial consultant with Merrill Lynch, warns Bank of America CEO Kenneth Lewis that he may soon experience buyer's remorse over his acquisition of Wall Street's fallen idol.

"I spoke out publicly last November in response to Merrill Lynch's involvement in the nation's sub-prime mortgage crisis and predicted, when no others did, that the firm was on the verge of almost certain collapse," says Schooley, whose pioneering 2002 book Merrill Lynch: The Cost Could Be Fatal – My War Against Wall Street's Giant is nearing completion of translation for the Asian market, where Wall Street bailouts have become commonplace in recent years.

As the list of failed US banks continues to grow, Schooley wonders why Bank of America would risk weakening its position in the fragile industry by merging with a company with a history of improper and unethical behavior.

"It did not take long for me to learn that profits and power trumped ethics and morality at Merrill," says Schooley. "The ultimate impact on clients and shareholders seemed to be largely irrelevant. Sadly, this attitude at Merrill Lynch has proven to be extraordinarily costly to so many doing business with the firm and, ironically, now to the firm itself."

The BofA deal is not expected to become finalized until sometime during the first quarter of 2009 and Schooley, who first exposed corruption and unethical practices at Merrill during the 1990s, believes there is still time for Lewis to withdraw the offer.

"Merrill Lynch's rescue from certain collapse may be good news for the troubled firm, but I think it's a red flag for shareholders and employees of Bank of America," says Schooley.

This delay in the merger, which must also be approved by regulators and shareholders before any deal can be sealed, may provide enough wiggle room for Lewis to back out and save his company from integration into Merrill Lynch's tainted culture.

Furthermore, with the Federal bank bailout just completed, BofA may want to instead concentrate on keeping its own good name intact.

"Merrill Lynch has sullied its reputation as a result of numerous scandals—despite second and third chances it was given to clean up its act," warns Schooley. "I wouldn't advise BofA to give Merrill a fourth chance at its own expense. The firm's corrupt culture was tolerated by its senior management and board and making it a part of Bank of America may eventually sink what will soon be, at least temporarily, the ‘leading financial institution in the world.'"

November 8th, 2007 - Former Merrill Star Player Warns of Company Collapse

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Former Merrill Star Player Warns of Company Collapse

ENID, OKLAHOMA, November 8th, 2007
Keith Schooley, author of the critically-acclaimed book Merrill Lynch: The Cost Could Be Fatal - My War Against Wall Street's Giant (Lakepointe Publishing) and former star financial consultant with the brokerage firm, warns that corrupt conditions, similar to those created by Enron's top management, are now emerging at Merrill Lynch.

Last week, shares of Merrill Lynch plunged 11.4% to $55.10 upon reports that the firm had suffered one of the largest Wall Street losses in history. The $7.9 billion write-down, resulting from its mortgage-related trouble, came after projecting a few weeks earlier that the write-down would be $4.5 billion.

Within days, the firm ousted Chief Executive Stan O'Neal.

"Merrill Lynch must do more than simply change the window dressing at the top and the board of directors needs to look in the mirror for their own failures and really clean house in order to escape almost certain collapse," said Schooley.

In mid-July, Merrill reported better-than-expected earnings with little impact from exposure to mortgage-backed securities. Two weeks later, O'Neal personally sent an email to Merrill employees assuring them the firm had such risks well in hand, according to the Wall Street Journal. The infamous collapse of Enron involved attempts by top executives to hide problems through off-balance-sheet transactions.

At the end of September, the firm reported reducing its involvement with risky securities, such as sub-prime mortgages, to $20.9 billion — half of the $40.9 billion it quoted in June. Yet, write-downs for that cycle revealed an $11 billion gap.

The question now being asked by investigators is whether there was an attempt by Merrill Lynch to cover up failures through private transactions hidden from investors. Merrill has issued an official non-denial denial to the charges, saying: "We have no reason to believe that any such inappropriate transactions occurred."

The SEC is specifically questioning whether Merrill brass engaged in deals with hedge funds meant to postpone disclosure of its losses, taking as much as $5 billion in mortgage-related securities off its books.

In 2002, former New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer (now NY Governor) revealed that the firm's analysts had intentionally deceived clients, with the number of investors hurt by their deception ranging in the hundreds of thousands if not millions. While Merrill Lynch agreed to enact a series of industry reforms, pay out fines ranging in the hundreds of millions of dollars and settle dozens of class action lawsuits, as late as January 2007 company brokers were still being convicted of fraud.

Schooley's book, slated presently for international release, cites the company's widespread cheating scandal, senior management and board cover-ups as an example of their failures — past, present, and, likely, future — which go to the heart of Wall Street's concerns.

"The new SEC investigation is likely the result of the dishonest culture allowed by senior management and the board," said Schooley. "The failure to appropriately clean house at the highest levels and change the culture places shareholders and clients at risk. Bottom line — without making these critical changes, the ship may just sink."

April 4th, 2007 - Wall Street Corruption Book Slated for International Distribution

This news release was translated and distributed by PR Newswire, the world leader in news distribution, in the following languages: Arabic, Chinese (Simple), Chinese Traditional (Hong Kong), Chinese Traditional (Taiwan), Czech, Dutch, Estonian, French (Canadian), French (European), German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malay, Polish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Portuguese (European), Russian, Slovakian, Spanish (European), Spanish (Latin America), Thai, and Urdu.

Wall Street Corruption Book Slated For International Distribution

New York, 04/04/07
Keith Schooley, a former star financial consultant with Merrill Lynch, has signed a contract with a major publishing house for the translation and international distribution of his groundbreaking book Merrill Lynch: The Cost Could Be Fatal – My War Against Wall Street's Giant (2002, Lakepointe Publishing). This expose′ of corruption and conspiracy on Wall Street strikes at America's very foundation.

According to the author, publication details will not be announced prior to distribution, due to past coercion by the brokerage house whose unethical practices were exposed by Schooley in a book that set the stage for Merrill Lynch's downfall from grace. His manuscript, too explosive for even Lloyd's of London, provides a detailed account of his struggle to expose internal misconduct and cover-ups at the firm.

Although Schooley's relentless courtroom battles have not yet rewarded him with justice, a subsequent inquiry pursued by former New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer (now NY Governor) revealed Merrill Lynch analysts had intentionally deceived clients and that the number of investors hurt by their deception could range in the hundreds of thousands if not millions. The upshot of Spitzer's probe ranked Merrill Lynch on Russell Mokhiber's (Corporate Crime Reporter) The 10 Worst Corporations of 2003.

While Merrill Lynch agreed to enact a series of industry reforms, pay out fines ranging in the hundreds of millions of dollars and settle dozens of class action lawsuits, as late as January 2007 company employees were still being convicted of fraud.

Schooley believes that the corporate boards of directors involved in virtually all other major scandals of recent years have plausible deniability, but not so at Merrill Lynch. In fact, after two senior management cover-ups, Schooley brought the widespread wrongdoing directly to the attention of the firm's directors and affirms that had the board heeded his warnings, perhaps many of Merrill Lynch's clients would not have been duped in the numerous scandals which followed.

Today, Schooley's uncompromising volume can be found in university libraries across the United States including at Princeton, the University of Chicago, the University of California at Berkeley, and in law libraries nationwide. Additionally, Schooley has been profiled in Bimonthly Review of Law Books as well as in Ethikos and Corporate Conduct Quarterly and in numerous other publications.

June 10th, 2003 - Merrill Lynch's Silence is Tantamount to Admission of 'Guilt'

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Merrill Lynch's Silence is Tantamount to Admission of ‘Guilt'

ENID, Okla., 06/10/03
The one-year statute of limitations for a defamation action by Merrill Lynch against author, Keith Schooley, has run. In his book, Merrill Lynch: The Cost Could Be Fatal–My War Against Wall Street's Giant (2002, Lakepointe Publishing, 282 pp.), Schooley alleges wrongdoing at Merrill Lynch ranging from brokers to senior management, including two cover-ups of a widespread cheating scandal. He also alleges that the firm employed deceptive practices during a judicial proceeding; made misrepresentations to regulators; and has a corrupt corporate culture.

"Merrill Lynch's silence concerning my allegations is, in my opinion, tantamount to an admission of ‘guilt'," Schooley says. "Why else would a company that people are supposed to trust with their money not defend the reputation of its franchise name?"

Schooley recently sent a letter to the SEC urging it to examine what he believes is the clear failure of Merrill Lynch's outside directors to appropriately respond to his warning that they had been deceived by the firm's senior management and/or inside directors concerning alleged wrongdoing.

"I understand that the SEC's stated policy is to take action against outside directors who seriously neglected their duties," Schooley wrote. "While the underlying wrongdoing that I reported may not be on the scale of Enron, nevertheless, it is disturbing. The question remains – at what point do you hold the directors responsible? Is it only after an Enron-like debacle, or prior to?"

Schooley's book has generated controversy. Nationally known publishing legal guru, Ivan Hoffman, a Los Angeles attorney, advised Schooley prior to publication not to go forward with the book because he would likely be a defendant in lawsuits in multiple jurisdictions. All primary underwriters of media perils insurance declined to provide coverage for the book. Famed Oklahoma attorney, Stephen Jones, has called the book dangerous because it "names names, takes no prisoners, and is explosive." And, a publicized booksigning event was recently cancelled because of pressure brought to bear by Merrill Lynch employees.

As to Merrill Lynch's behavior and silence, Schooley says, "Corporate integrity, or the lack thereof, flows from the top down. As they say, ‘The cover-up is worse than the crime.' Frankly, the disinfectant of sunlight seems to make these guys run for cover."

May 14th, 2003 - Merrill Lynch Has Failed to Answer Allegations. Time is Running Out.

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Merrill Lynch Has Failed to Answer Allegations. Time is Running Out.

ENID, Okla., 05/14/03
Lloyd's of London would not insure it for media perils exposure. Famed Oklahoma attorney, Stephen Jones, has called it dangerous because it "names names, takes no prisoners, and is explosive." And a publicized booksigning event was recently cancelled at a bookstore in Tulsa because of pressure brought to bear by Merrill Lynch employees. Keith Schooley's controversial book, Merrill Lynch: The Cost Could Be Fatal - My War Against Wall Street's Giant (2002, Lakepointe Publishing) is at the center of this storm.

In late May of last year, Schooley sent each of Merrill Lynch's 11 directors a copy of his book. Now, almost a year later, the statute of limitations for a defamation action is about to expire. Schooley has not heard from Merrill Lynch, even though his controversial book has received national attention. He has been featured in an author interview in Bimonthly Review of Law Books and interviewed by the Chicago Tribune.

Schooley alleges in his book and recent press releases that Merrill Lynch has a corrupt corporate culture that has allowed for: two senior management cover-ups of a widespread cheating scandal; conspiracies; misrepresentations to regulators; and, in a judicial proceeding, the failure to disclose important documents during discovery, the producing of witnesses who gave false testimony, and an attorney who had difficulty with the truth. Furthermore, Schooley believes that Merrill Lynch's board of directors has failed to take appropriate action concerning the senior management cover-ups. He has called for the removal of certain members of senior management and directors.

Schooley believes that Merrill Lynch has an obligation to its clients and shareholders to respond to his allegations. He finds it curious that the firm has neither addressed nor denied his charges. "Maybe that is because they know I speak the truth and hope everything will just go away," Schooley says. "Frankly, this is a company that people are supposed to trust with their money. I think it is time for Merrill Lynch to come clean."

March 5th, 2003 - Bookstore Signing Cancelled under Pressure From Merrill Lynch

Bookstore Signing Cancelled under Pressure from Merrill Lynch

TULSA, Okla., 03/05/03
A well-known Tulsa bookstore called off a scheduled book-signing by whistle-blowing author Keith Schooley, as a result of pressure from the company whose practices were exposed by Schooley, Merrill Lynch.

Schooley's book, Merrill Lynch: The Cost Could Be Fatal (2002, Lakepointe Publishing) charges the Wall Street giant with a corrupt corporate culture that stretches back more than a decade, when he worked for the firm as a financial consultant.

Today, Schooley revealed that a book-signing, scheduled in late February at Steve's Books and Magazines in Tulsa, was abruptly cancelled. Schooley says he was told by the owner, Steve Stephenson, that he had received "too much static" from employees of Merrill Lynch, including two brokers and their supervisor at a local Oklahoma branch.

Schooley, who lives in nearby Enid, Okla., said he was extremely disappointed by the cancellation at the highly regarded local bookstore. "I don't blame the bookstore," he commented. "A bookstore owner has a right to decide whether or not to welcome any author. But I find it very troubling when a major, wealthy corporation uses its power and resources to silence its critics in this manner."

He said he will continue to publicize the book in any way he can, including signings at bookstores that are willing to stand up to the pressure from Merrill Lynch. He added that he is consulting with his attorney to determine his legal options if Merrill Lynch continues to exercise its economic muscle to suppress the book at bookstores.

October 7th, 2002 - Merrill Lynch Executives and Directors Need to Go Says Whistle-Blowing Former Employee

Merrill Lynch Executives and Directors Need to Go Says Whistle-Blowing Former Employee

ENID, OKLAHOMA, 10/07/02
A former employee of Merrill Lynch says a major shake-up of the company is needed if it is to avoid losing the confidence of shareholders and clients.

Keith Schooley, author of a new book that blows the whistle on what he calls an unethical corporate culture within Merrill Lynch, notes that the company has been accused of improprieties in several recent financial scandals, including one last May that ended in a $100 million settlement with New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.

"The reports of wrongdoing keep coming, and I'd bet they won't slow down because dishonesty seems ingrained in the way business is done at Merrill Lynch," Schooley alleges. "I believe a good number of senior executives and directors of the firm need to step aside for their failure to responsibly act. In light of the recent spate of scandals at Enron, Arthur Andersen, WorldCom, Adelphia, and others, shareholders and clients now demand integrity at the highest levels."

Schooley's book, Merrill Lynch: The Cost Could Be Fatal (Lakepointe Publishing, 282 pp, hardcover, $27.95), exposes a litany of wrongdoing, including a widespread cheating scandal that was twice covered up by senior management of the largest firm on Wall Street. It recounts the author's almost ten-year war with the firm in an effort to establish truth and justice. The book shows how the "powerful and mighty" play the game inside and outside of a court of law.

Schooley says he is well aware of the risks of taking on the giant corporation, a point driven home when Lloyd's of London declined a request to insure his book. Stephen Jones, the famed Oklahoma lawyer who represented Schooley early in the conflict, has called the book dangerous because it "names names, takes no prisoners, and is explosive."

May 14th, 2002 - Former Employee Alleges Merrill Lynch Misdeeds

Former Employee Alleges Merrill Lynch Misdeeds

ENID, OKLAHOMA, 05/14/02
A former employee of Merrill Lynch, Keith Schooley, said today he is not surprised by recent allegations of conflicts of interest in the company's advice to investors. According to Schooley, the company had a business climate that led to dishonest practices at least as long as ten years ago.

Schooley's forthcoming book, Merrill Lynch: The Cost Could be Fatal (Lakepointe Publishing, 282 pp. hardcover, $27.95) exposes wrongdoing - including cheating and cover-ups - involving the company that thrives on its reputation as "the broker of Main Street, not Wall Street." The book, ten years in the making, is scheduled for release in August, but the publisher has rushed advance copies into print because of the recent headlines involving the company.

Schooley began working in Merrill Lynch's office in Enid, OK a decade ago, eager to embark on a career with the huge, widely respected company. Almost immediately, he says, he was dismayed by a pattern of unethical activities, ranging from cheating on insurance exams to misuse of a proprietary mailing list, misrepresentations in a company-wide new-accounts competition, and falsification of expense reports.

Buoyed by an official company policy that not only encourages but theoretically requires employees to report improper behavior, Schooley informed Merrill Lynch's New York office about the questionable events, expecting that corrective action would be taken. Instead, efforts were made to keep him quiet, and management denial and cover-ups became more entrenched as the complaints were taken to new levels.

The book recounts in detail the David vs. Goliath battle between Schooley and Merrill Lynch over a period of years. What started as a promising court challenge was forced to proceed as binding arbitration, a contest in which the company held all the cards. The famed lawyer Stephen Jones, who represented Schooley in the early stages, comments in the book that "Keith's experiences set forth dramatically everything that is wrong, unwise and indeed unhealthy and unfair, about arbitration proceedings."

This is a behind-the-scenes account that will raise new concerns among Americans who trust Merrill Lynch with their investments. The book should be widely available in bookstores in August. Those wishing to purchase advance copies may do so by telephone, 1-800-247-6553, or on the Web at www.TheCostCouldBeFatal.com.

May 10th, 2002 - Wall Street Facade Revealed

Wall Street Facade Revealed

ENID, OKLAHOMA, 05/10/02
When financial consultant Keith Schooley took a job with one of the largest, most respected securities firms on Wall Street, he had high hopes for a successful career. He was proud to work for a company of such high integrity as Merrill Lynch. It didn't take long, however, for Schooley to realize Merrill Lynch's well-cultivated reputation was not based on what went on behind the facade.

Merrill Lynch: The Cost Could Be Fatal—My War Against Wall Street's Giant is Schooley's detailed account of the disturbing incidents that eventually led him to a courtroom battle with the behemoth firm.

The story follows the chronological events of his experience, beginning with Schooley's background and employment at Merrill Lynch. Schooley encountered a number of questionable events within the firm, including cheating on insurance exams. When Schooley approached his manager on how he was representing certain securities to his clients, the manager's superior soon intervened: "He pulled a chair up to my desk, put his face within inches of mine and reprimanding me, said, 'Don't worry about product knowledge. Just sell.'"

Disappointed in this less-than-honest attitude and armed with new information regarding misrepresentation of broker contest results, Schooley made several "anonymous" phone calls to the company hotline. But rather than offer him protection, those Schooley spoke to in confidence reported his calls directly to his bosses. Realizing his concerns were not being taken seriously, Schooley wrote a memorandum to Merrill Lynch management and then a lengthy letter to board members.

"I had bought the image Merrill Lynch had sold me, and millions of others. I fell for it hook, line, and sinker," Schooley confesses. "This story needs to be heard. If you buy into Merrill Lynch's public campaign about the importance it puts on integrity and that the client comes first, well, you are sorely mistaken. I know this from my own experience."

There were several attempts made by Merrill Lynch to quiet the whistle-blower, which were followed by Schooley's controversial dismissal. The ensuing litigation had shocking results that didn't bring the resolution Schooley craved.

The author hopes this book will provide valuable insight to investors, members of the financial and insurance communities, as well as to anyone in the field of employment law and human resources. He hopes too this story will inspire those with a strong sense of perseverance and a belief in standing up for what he or she believes in.

"I am not a bitter person looking to profit from revealing this story," Schooley says. "I am just a man of conviction and principle who feels compelled to do whatever it takes to see that things are put right."

Says well-known Oklahoma attorney Stephen Jones: "Merrill Lynch is 'every man's broker.' Its reputation has, for the most part, been favorable, and it is the broker of Main Street, not Wall Street. Keith's story, however, sheds an entirely different light on what occurred and may offer an entirely different explanation for Merrill Lynch's success.... Keith's experiences set forth dramatically everything that is wrong, unwise, and indeed unhealthy and unfair, about arbitration proceedings."

Merrill Lynch: The Cost Could Be Fatal is an impressive chronicle of one man's fierce determination to stand up for what he believes is right.