Riveting Testimony from a Great American, Harry Markopolos
Posted by Larry Doyle on February 4, 2009 10:22 AM |
This morning I have been witnessing the Congressional testimony of a great American, Harry Markopolos, in regard to the specifics of the Bernie Madoff debacle and the state of the regulatory world at large. His service and commitment are truly heroic. I hold him in the highest regard. America needs more men like Harry Markopolos!! Mr. Markopolos and three of his colleagues dedicated thousands of hours to investigating the Madoff fraud over the course of more than ten years. His comments and condemnations are riveting. Here is a summary of Harry Markopolos’ remarks:
1. The SEC has been totally incompetent and neglectful throughout this entire process. He provided the SEC with reams of evidence and tips for them to pursue. They never fully investigated.
2. There were significant turf battles between the SEC Offices in Boston, New York and Washington D.C..
3. Markopolos claims it took him a mere 5 minutes in reviewing Madoff’s reported returns to know they were suspect. It took him approximately 4 hours to confirm his suspicions based on reviewing options trading volume.
4. He recommends one governmental financial regulator to oversee all of the other regulators so that all information is shared and tips are pursued.
5. He provided 29 separate red flags on the Madoff fraud!!
6. The largest feeder fund to Madoff was Greenwich Fairfield. This entity utilized three separate auditors for 2004, 2005, 2006. Red Flag!!
7. Markopolos was obsessed with his pursuit in order to rid the system of a criminal fraud. He received no compensation for his work!!
8. Every money manager and investment advisor MUST have separate custodians to handle investor funds.
9. He maintains that Madoff had to have had a “lot” of help in perpetrating this fraud both inside and outside of his office.
10. He maintains that there are 12 other fund of funds in Europe that have provided a significant flow of funds into Madoff. He is going to release those names to the SEC tomorrow.
11. The SEC does not have the degree of professional expertise to detect, investigate, and pursue cases. The SEC should hire seasoned financial professionals and pay them on an “incentive basis” to unearth and process financial frauds.
12. In Mr. Markopolos’ opinion, while the SEC is incompetent, the NASD and its offspring FINRA are CORRUPT!!! FINRA is in bed with the industry. He recommends that FINRA read his report. He references that the regulators missed a number of failed and fraudulent practices including the Auction Rate Preferred market. Perhaps Mr. Markopolos also read FINRA’s 2007 Annual Report which highlights that FINRA had investments in Auction Rate Securities. When Mr. Markopolos remarks that FINRA is in bed with the industry, is he referencing that they are invested in hedge funds, fund of funds, and private equity? Our new SEC chair, former FINRA chair Mary Schapiro, should be compelled to answer these questions!!!
13. Mr. Markopolos will reveal another $1 billion fraud to the SEC tomorrow.
14. Mr. Markopolos offered to go undercover for the SEC to fully reveal the Bernie Madoff fraud.
15. Mr. Madoff attracted a LOT of dirty money, including funds from the Russian mob and Latin American drug cartels!! There were times when Mr. Markopolos feared for his life.
I can not speak highly enough of Mr. Markopolos and the character, integrity, and patriotism he has displayed throughout this process. His country, in the form of the SEC, failed him and failed all of us. The question I ask is how and why did that failure occur? To think that these failures occurred merely due to incompetence and negligence is naive. Follow the money!! I can only hope that Congress has the courage to reengage Ms. Schapiro and pursue the line of questioning that Mr. Markopolos has proposed for a thorough investigation of FINRA and which I highlighted in Let’s Really Question Ms. Schapiro…