Harry Markopolos Gets His Day With The SEC

Madoff whistleblower sees "abject failure" by regulators.

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Harry Markopolos is mad as hell, and he's not going to take it anymore! The man who tried to warn the Securities and Exchange Commission back in 2005 about Bernie Madoff's massive $50 billion fraud (he called Madoff's company "the world's largest Ponzi Scheme") has been testifying today before a House Financial Services subcommittee about what regulators simply refused to do in identifying one of the largest cases of fraud in the history of finance.

Markopolos says he and others pursuing Madoff were at great personal risk given Madoff's powerful spot as a Wall Street market maker with a sterling reputation right up until his arrest in December. Also, the SEC comes off looking entirely bush-league when it came to uncovering this fraud, even with Markopolos' help. He calls his interactions with the SEC a "systemic disappointment." Highlights from the testimony:

  • ‚ÄúThere was an abject failure by the regulatory agencies we entrust as our watchdog."
  • "Every bit of information we obtained was in the public domain. We never had any secret insider documents or smoking gun e-mails."
  • "What troubles us is that dozens of highly knowledgeable men and women also knew that (Madoff) was a fraud and walked away silently, saying nothing and doing nothing."
  • The scariest feature of this entire scandal is that it's unlikely anyone would've stopped it at all had the credit crisis and market upheaval of late 2008 not sent one too many Madoff investors running for the exit. Clusterstock notes Markopolos is also set to name a "mini-Madoff" to the SEC tomorrow now that he's got their attention. Maybe next time they'll find on their own.

    (Link to Markopolos' written testimony is here, via the WSJ)

    • Kirk Shinkle

      Kirk Shinkle is a senior editor for U.S. News Money and manages the Best Funds portal. Follow him on Twitter @KirkS or email him at kshinkle@usnews.com.

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