In Season 3 of "Seinfeld," (episode 12, "The Red Dot"), George Costanza's boss confronted him about having sex with the cleaning lady on the desk of his office:
Mr. Lippman: It's come to my attention that you and the cleaning woman have engaged in sexual intercourse on the desk in your office. Is that correct?
George Costanza: Who said that?
Mr. Lippman: She did.
George Costanza: [pause] Was that wrong? Should I not have done that? I tell you, I gotta plead ignorance on this thing, because if anyone had said anything to me at all when I first started here that that sort of thing is frowned upon... you know, cause I've worked in a lot of offices, and I tell you, people do that all the time.
Mr. Lippman: You're fired!
George Costanza: Well, you didn't have to say it like that.
The Costanza Defense ("Was that wrong? Should I have not done that?") did not work out well for George, but that was 1991 in New York City. Who is to say that it won't work out better nearly 25 years later and many continents away for Nathan Stromer of Bondi, Australia?
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Stromer made more than $180,000 in trading profits after receiving confidential information from a close friend (who was an analyst at Moody's) about two proposed company takeovers and an announcement by the Australian Wheat Board. Stromer and his friend who provided the tips both pleaded guilty in December 2014 to insider trading.
In his sentencing hearing this week, Stromer broke out the Costanza defense, arguing that he did not know that the inside information he received from his friend was confidential and not to be traded upon. Prosecutors countered that it was "inconceivable" that Stromer did not know that trading on this information was illegal, as he was an intelligent man "with degrees in commerce and law with majors in banking and finance who had worked in a large corporate law firm for two years."
In case the Costanza defense does not work, Stromer, age 36, has also offered up another explanation: that he was merely trying to win the approval of his "quite abusive" father. "Trading was always something that him and his father shared, a common interest," Stromer's partner told the court. "It was almost like an attempt to gain his father's approval and respect and his father encouraged him to pursue trading."