Wednesday, December 17, 2008

SEC Probes Its Conflicts with Madoff

I cannot believe this is going on. I really thought I have seen everything in my 27 years of securities regulatory, compliance and litigation. I have seen frauds; outrageous frauds. I have seen extreme churning, outright unsuitability, flagrant market manipulation, and even a conflict of interest or two.

But never have I seen a fraud this massive, with so many side stories.

And just when you thought it was over, the SEC drops a bombshell - Cox admits that the SEC staff was aware of numerous red flags but did nothing, and in the next moments we learn that Madoff's niece, WHO WAS MADOFF'S COMPLIANCE OFFICER, is married to an attorney who worked at the SEC for 10 years, including positions as a senior inspection and examination official.

You get one guess what a senior inspection and examination official does.

But wait...there is more. According to the WSJ, a spokesman for the attorney admits that a compliance team under his supervision made an inquiry at Madoff's firm.

Did you get that? The SEC senior attorney, who married Madoff's neice and former compliance officer, supervised an team who made inquiries at Madoff's firm. And we know that the SEC never did anything about Madoff as a result of any investigation or inquiry.

OK, I get it. We are going to learn that he didn't know her at the time of the inquiry, he started dating her in 2006 when he was leaving the commission, they married after he was gone, etc. I get it. It is all innocent and a massive coincidence.

I get it. But you gotta admit, this is one tangled story. I still haven't figured out if Madoff's securities firm was separate from his investment advisory firm, or where the accounts were housed, or who sent out confirmations and account statements. I know the SEC staff had credible accusations that they did nothing about (and I know this because Cox told me so), no I have to figure out if the Staff had a conflict of interest?

This is going to be one heck of an investigation.


SEC to Probe Its Ties to Madoffs - WSJ.com
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