Bottom Line - Subprime suicide: Notorious broker found dead
A disgraced securities broker who was one of the subprime mortgage market's chief magicians was found dead of an apparent suicide in his South Florida condo this week. Cliff Popper seemingly created wealth out of thin air — until it all collapsed in 2007. His firm pocketed commissions of more than $16 million in just three years, but when investments backed by risky mortgages turned sour, Popper lost $100 million of investors' money.
When he died, Popper was waiting for a federal judge to hand down a decision in a civil fraud trial brought by the the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Brookstreet Securities, where Popper was a head trader, imploded when the subprime mortgage market crashed. Investors, many of whom had sunk their life savings into the subprime mortgage-backed securities Popper peddled, were left with nothing. Two years later, the SEC charged Popper and nine of his former colleagues with fraud, and he declared bankruptcy in July of that year.