In the lingo of Wall Street, the Feshbachs are ``short sellers,`` stock traders who make money betting that inflated share prices will drop. ``Shorts`` borrow stock and sell it on the open market. They make money by repaying their borrowings with stock that has cost them less to buy.
A visit to Matt's office makes the Feshbachs' involvement in Scientology pretty clear. Along with statuary of triumphant bears - symbols of a declining stock market - his office is decorated with photographs of L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology. Books by Hubbard, including Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, dot the shelves. On a coffee table in a Plexiglas case sits a limited-edition, silver-plated ``E-meter,`` a device that like a polygraph is supposed to measure the electrical conductivity of the skin. Scientologists use the machine in a process that they believe helps rid them of painful memories.
Worse, some critics charge, short sellers illegally interfere with company operations. The Feshbachs' name pops up in a $90-million suit filed by California-based Occupational Urgent-Care Health Systems Corp. that charges another short seller with telling its customers that the company was a fraud and on the verge of bankruptcy. The Feshbachs are not named as defendants in the suit, but the suit cited press reports that said the Feshbachs were shorting Occupational's stock. The Feshbachs declined to discuss the matter.
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