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If My Aunt Had Balls, She’d Be Mary Schapiro

Posted by Larry Doyle on July 20, 2010 7:04 PM |

“If my aunt had balls, she’d be my uncle!!”

I love that line. I first heard it on the trading desk at Bear Stearns in the early ’90s. For the last twenty years, I have used the line often to counter those who would bemoan an outcome with the standard, “If only . . .” My response typically generates a healthy chuckle and we then move on.

At this point, I feel comfortable amending the line from above to “If my aunt had balls, she’d be Mary Schapiro.” Too harsh, you say? I think not. How so?

Let’s review a recent Wall Street Journal article, Madoff’s Ghost Still Haunts SEC:

Financial executives aren’t the only folks lawmakers are pursuing. They also want to see more heads roll at the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Nearly 18 months after Bernie Madoff’s multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme was exposed and almost a year after the SEC’s inspector general issued a blistering report, lawmakers are still questioning how the SEC staffers who reviewed the Madoff firm and investigated fraud allegations were being punished.

SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro told Congress during an oversight hearing that 15 of 20 enforcement attorneys and 19 of 36 examination staffers that dealt with the Madoff matter had left the agency. The SEC was still conducting a disciplinary process, she said, but it should be concluded soon.

Republican Rep. Bill Posey of Florida –- home to many Madoff victims -– said he wants to know if those SEC employees ended up at other regulatory agencies, working for companies they were supposed to regulate, or retired with government pensions.

“There’s a necessity to know where they went,” said Posey. “It’s like letting a pedophile slink out the door or change neighborhoods. We’re dealing with the same type of problem here.”

Wow!! Representative Posey is being aggressive here, but I commend him because the nation still deserves answers to so many Madoff questions that have been swept under the SEC’s and FINRA’s rugs. The WSJ continues:

Schapiro strongly disagreed. “These aren’t bad people. In some cases they were people who were very junior and not adequately trained or supervised.” In other cases, she said, they were pulled from one project to another.

‘Junior people’ logically implies that in other cases there were senior people. In fact, the people calling the shots on the Madoff investigation were certainly not junior.

Why were the investigators pulled from the Madoff case? Were some of them getting too close for comfort? Were they asking too many questions? Were they being frozen out by the SEC’s inner circle? I do not ask these questions in a rhetorical fashion. I ask them because those were the clear cut impressions left by an SEC attorney well trained in the school of options trading who was making real progress in deciphering the Madoff scam. To whom do I refer? Longtime readers of Sense on Cents and listeners to No Quarter Radio’s Sense on Cents with Larry Doyle may recall my interview in October 2009 with Genevievette Walker-Lightfoot, a former SEC attorney who investigated Madoff. Genevievette was not bashful in excoriating the senior laden ‘inner circle’ at the SEC. Perhaps Mary may want to listen to the interview or call on Ms. Walker-Lightfoot. Maybe she’ll learn something.

What does Mary Schapiro have to say now about the impact Mr. Madoff has made on current work at the SEC?

During examinations, Schapiro said, “We don’t rely on the word of somebody like Madoff.”


Mary has some set of cojones!! Industry insiders have shared with me that Mary kept close company with Mr. Madoff at industry conferences. Now she has the balls to let America know that SEC investigators do not currently rely on the word of somebody like Madoff.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Sense on cents compels me to inquire, “Mary, how would you even know? If you were not able to detect the likes of a scam artist such as Madoff for decades, what makes you think America believes you might be able to detect another scam artist now?”

Yes indeed. If my aunt truly did have balls, she would be Mary Schapiro.


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  • Lou

    Maybe Mary and Genevievette could engage in a good old-fashioned healthy dialogue in an open forum. Think America might like to listen to that.

    You think…?? Just maybe…

  • BMB

    In a way, she’s a scam artist of her own, isn’t she? Masquerading as someone who intends to do something…

  • Digby O’Donnell

    Mary Shapiro was instrumental in the formation of FINRA to the detriment of the 5100 member firms of the former NASD. The NASD owned the NASDAQ and sold it for $1.6 billion dollars and instead of distibuting the proceeds to the members, she and a few others, in order to “feather their own nests”, bought/overpaid for the compliance division of the NYSE to benefit themselves and the largest members of the NYSE in order to avoid dual oversight. She personally pushed through a proposal by “bribing” the membership with a one-time payment of $35,000. She LIED to the members and told them that a decision by the IRS limited the payment, when in fact the IRS had not yet decided the appropriate amount! Months later the truth came out and the IRS determined that the distribution could have been as much as $85,000 leaving a $1 billion “endowment” that was managed by her old friend Bernie Madoff!! On her watch and under her nose FINRA lost almost $500 million of the “endowment”! But Mary for doing such a great job received a severance package of close to $12 million to take over the SEC.

    • LD


      I would welcome the opportunity to chat with you further offline especially in regard to your comment regarding the investment in Madoff.

  • disenchanted

    Digby-you sound like someone from the industry. What you say is all true and anyone who attended Mary’s roadshows when the NASD was pushing the consolidation can confer that you are right on the mark. Unforunately, and I keep harping on this, Mary and her cohorts have been given a free pass by Judge Rakoff. The documents and her mouth have been legally sealed. If we can get that immunity ruling repealed, heads would start to role.

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