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But let’s not dwell on Marc Cohodes’s pastured chickens, or his show-jumping horses, or even his homemade apricot jam that, on special occasions, San Francisco’s Una Pizza Napoletana puts on its pies in lieu of tomato sauce.Some of the most respected people in the investing industry say that, dating back to the 1980s, nobody has had a better nose for sniffing out fraud than the 56-year-old Cohodes.They have many natural enemies, including investors betting shares will rise, analysts issuing buy recommendations, and executives whose whole careers are suddenly called into question when short sellers level charges against them.And they’re not regulated the way Wall Street analysts are, so they aren’t as accountable.They spread false rumors to profit when stocks fall, a practice dubbed “short and distort” that has sometimes gotten them into trouble with regulators.They conspire to torpedo share prices in “bear raids.” They destroy good companies and cause people to lose their jobs.Short-biased funds managed only .5 billion in assets as of the end of September, a tiny fraction of the roughly trillion the hedge fund industry oversees, according to Hedge Fund Research.

Cohodes says he’s been betting against embattled Valeant Pharmaceuticals International since the summer of 2015.Cohodes wants to make sure the “old-school” craft gets passed along to a new generation of people with—he jokes—that “genetic defect” that makes them want to take on all of Wall Street.As the bounty hunters of the stock market, short sellers have uncovered some major failings over the years.That can mean losses for the short seller, not to mention psychological despair.Then there’s the vilification—and the lawsuits, four of which Cohodes has experienced.He’s exposed suspect accounting at a number of high-profile companies, including the Belgian speech-­recognition software developer Lernout & Hauspie, which went bankrupt in 2001 after being valued at about billion, and mortgage lender Nova Star Financial, where his efforts earned him a Harvard Business School case study published in 2013.“I would not want to be his adversary if I was still a criminal today,” says Sam Antar, who was sentenced to six months of house arrest and 1,200 hours of community service for cooking the books at New York consumer-electronics chain Crazy Eddie in one of the largest securities frauds unearthed in the 1980s.“A character like Marc”—the two crossed paths later in his life when both were focused on detecting fraud—“you stay away from.”And that’s been relatively easy for at least part of the past eight years.In 2008 the hedge fund Cohodes worked at for more than two decades went out of business under controversial circumstances.He maintains that Goldman Sachs, its prime broker, closed it too hastily by making needless margin calls, a claim Goldman disputes.The fallout spurred a bout of what Cohodes likens to post-traumatic stress disorder.“What happened to me would put the average person under,” he says.

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