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Obama’s Failure to Reform Wall Street: “The Letter”

Posted by Larry Doyle on September 27, 2012 7:20 AM |

Yesterday’s commentary addressing the gross injustice of an SEC attorney walking away largely unscathed after having blown the cover of a whistleblower resonated far and wide. What is it about this story of the whistleblower Peter Sivere having his confidence violated that consumes me and strikes right at the core of America?

Sivere was victimized by those charged with upholding our laws, protecting our values, and promoting a system of free and fair trade. Peter Sivere’s story epitomizes the essence of the Wall Street -Washington Incest which I have railed on for the last three years.

Yet, Peter Sivere awakes again today a victim with no real justice. While he bears the brunt of the pain of being victimized, the simple fact is Sivere is every good and decent man and woman in America. As Sivere suffers, so do we all.

It does not have to be this way. How might it begin to change? 

I referenced yesterday that Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) recently intervened in this case with SEC Chair Mary Schapiro. What does Lowey have to say?

“Those who have the courage to speak up, often at risk to their career and livelihood, should be protected from retaliation. I am frustrated that after being confronted with a report by the OIG, the SEC has taken no action. It is important for the SEC to send a strong signal that the disclosure of whistleblowers will not be tolerated, particularly among SEC employees who are charged with upholding the law. As our economy continues to recover, investors will not have faith in the market if SEC employees are disclosing the identities of those who bring valuable information to light.”

Sounds like Lowey’s words are taken straight out of the Sense on Cents manual on ethical practices that somehow never got delivered to many executive offices on Wall Street and in Washington. Actually the manual is delivered daily but the practices have not been implemented.

Despite all the pain experienced by our nation over the last four years and all the trillions of dollars delivered to Wall Street to “make the game go on,” a fellow citizen remains victimized by the United States government for the benefit of the large monied interests on Wall Street.

This is America?

Might SEC Chair Schapiro look to rectify this travesty prior to her highly anticipated departure? Will Peter Sivere and every decent God-fearing citizen of our great nation who choose to play by the rules continue to suffer and remain subservient to those who buy influence and curry favor in Washington?

I welcome submitting Congresswoman Lowey’s letter (click on image to open pdf):

Your move, Mary.

America is watching and waiting . . . and waiting . . . and waiting . . . and waiting . . .

This is getting old.

Navigate accordingly.

If you share my sentiments, please share this story.

Larry Doyle

ISN’T IT TIME to subscribe to all my work via e-mail, an RSS feed, on Twitter or Facebook?

I have no affiliation or business interest with any entity referenced in this commentary. The opinions expressed are my own. I am a proponent of real transparency within our markets so that investor confidence and investor protection can be achieved.

  • Blind Justice

    Responding to Critics, S.E.C. Defends ‘No Wrongdoing’ Settlements

    “People won’t settle with us if they have to admit” wrongdoing, Ms. Schapiro said, because it opens them to liability in civil damages lawsuits. But because the settlements often carry terms that require a Wall Street firm to overhaul their compliance departments, she said, “there is a deterrent effect.”

    The settlements “serve the purpose of putting the rest of the industry on notice,” she said, “about conduct we believe violates the law and can lead to hundreds of millions of dollars in fines, which I don’t think any firm enjoys paying, or seeing their name highlighted as somebody who’s violated the law.”

  • Peter Scannell

    The only loathsome act that remains unknown in my second whistle-blowing regarding never addressed securities fraud occurring in my first whistle-blowing is who at the SEC ratted me out to my employer– almost getting me killed.

    My determination to have that question resolved by those given the duty may very well have fallen on defective hearing. My time is running out.

    Taking the bull by the horns,

    Hells bells

  • Blind Justice

    S.E.C. Chairwoman Under Fire Over Ethics Issues

    “One of the things the S.E.C. does is hold companies to a very high standard with regards to transparency and disclosure,” said Representative Randy Neugebauer, Republican of Texas, who is one of four Republican lawmakers asking Ms. Schapiro about her dealings with Mr. Becker and his disclosures. “We think it’s important that the same integrity exists within the S.E.C., ensuring that people working there do not have conflicts of interest and that here is a process to vet those issues and make sure they are taken care of in a way that gives confidence.”

  • Blind Justice

    The SEC attorney was not an Assistant Director or higher. He had no authorization to disclose this non-public information. JPM’s outside counsel, Orrick Herrington and Davis Polk knew this and disregarded the Rule.

    Regarding Disclosure of Nonpublic Information

    A. SEC Rules Relating to Investigations -17 C.F.R. Part 203
    17 CFR § 203.2 Information obtained in investigations and examinations.

    Information or documents obtained by the Commission in the course of any investigation or examination, unless made a matter of public record, shall be deemed non-public, but the Commission approves the practice whereby officials of the Divisions of Enforcement, Corporation Finance, Market Regulation and Investment Management and the Office of International Affairs at the level of Assistant Director or higher, and officials in Regional Offices at the level of Assistant Regional Director or District Administrator or higher, may engage in and may authorize members of the Commission’s staff to engage in discussions with persons identified in § 240.24c-l(b)3 of this chapter concerning information obtained in individual investigations or examinations, including formal investigations conducted pursuant to Commiss;on order.

    These persons identified in 17 CFR § 240.24c-1 (b) are: (I) a federal, state, local or foreign government
    body or instnimentality; (2) a self-regulatory organization (SRO); (3) a foreign financial regulatory authority; (4) the Securities Investor Protection Corporation; (5) a trustee in bankruptcy; (6) a trustee, receiver, master or special counsel; (7) a bar association, state accountancy board or other federal, state, -local or foreign licensing or oversight authority; and (8) a duly authorized agent, employee or representative of any ofthe above persons.

  • Blind Justice

    Conclusion

    The OIG investigation uncovered testimonial evidence that definitively shows that SEC\NYRO Staff Attorney disclosed non-public information about an informant during the course of an ongoing Enforcement investigation. In addition, we uncovered evidence that he not only gave outside counsel for JPMorgan permission to use the non-public information about an informant against him, but actually encouraged such use. While the investigation determined that he was counseled by his supervisor about the importance of not disclosing non-public information in December 2005, we are referring this matter to management in light of the additional evidence for consideration of further disciplinary action.

    Remind you, Jill Rosenberg and Dennis Glazer took this as business as ususal. They did not think twice about it or run it through SEC ethics. Now we know why it took them so long to cough up the name… Cover up gone bad…

  • jim wells

    Right on, Larry.

    Hard to believe that the grossly inept Christopher Cox could have been followed by the equally ineffective Mary Schapiro. Even on those rare occasions when her agency prosecutes a case and then wins, the penalties make even the judges wince at how puny they are.

  • Chris

    Please identify the flaw in my thinking.. but if corporations wish to be treated like personages, then give it to them 100%. If I get convicted of fraud, I go to jail. Why not allow Corps to suffer the same punishment. Close up shop, for the length of your time and when time is up, pick up and start again. Let the executives and shareholders suffer together. Maybe just maybe we can shift the tide.

  • Joyce

    But Mr. Doyle, the SEC represents and protects Wall Street and their crimes, for which others would be in jail.

  • Dick

    Larry, Is Obama the reason for all our problems?

    • LD

      Thanks for writing.

      No, the President is certainly not the reason for all our problems BUT he is the leader of the country and he appointed Ms. Schapiro and he tells us so often how he has reformed Wall Street so he deserves the derision directed his way.

      The case I highlight here screams of corruption. Our current SEC did NOTHING to rectify and the IG’s report was issued during this administration.

      I have railed on both parties over the last three years but I personally do not think the current administration has any real idea as to how the economy really works nor is economic growth the top priority. Redistribution is.

      I find both parties to be largely disingenuous when it comes to reform on Wall Street which is why I have designated my disdain the Wall Street Washington Incest.

      Obama is particularly disingenuous though in promoting that he and the Democrats reformed Wall Street. They did nothing of the sort. They feed at that trough as much as the Republicans.

  • Peter Scannell

    LD, many of the reforms that were voted into law under the Dodd-Frank Act have yet to make it to market. Haven’t republicans been fighting tooth and nail, along side the big banks and mutual fund industry, to through a wrench into the regulating engine.

    And could you please print a quote from any D.C. politician of either party dumb enough to suggest Wall Street has been cleaned-up.

  • LD

    Peter,

    Yes, the Republicans are certainly no paragons of virtue on this front. My support for Romney is based upon my views as to what will be best for our economy and because I think he is a good and decent man. Why do I say that? Personal dealings a family member had with him and many of his colleagues. Good people.

    Let’s play a little game. Where did this statement come from?

    It has now been two years since the collapse of Bear Stearns and more than a year since the financial crisis peaked. Trillions of dollars in household wealth were erased and over 8 million jobs were lost, in large part, because of failures in our financial system. That failed regulatory system will now come to an end.

    Wall Street Reform will hold Wall Street accountable, protect and empower American consumers with the strongest consumer protections ever, increase transparency in financial dealings — including in the derivatives market — and end taxpayer bailouts once and for all.

    The answer is at this link.

    • Peter Scannell

      To my point LD, the passing of Dodd-Frank and the formation of the Consumer Protection Agency which the White house was referencing two years after your old firm went under were mandated by Congress to reform Wall Street and to protect taxpayers (to the extent that is possible).
      Wall Street’s has spent millions and millions lobbying congress to give them a do-over with a promise not to behave badly again.
      Wall Street’s millions have been very successful delaying many reforms and taking a number of critical planks of the deck entirely.
      Now back to the game.
      What party do you suppose benefited most from the bag-men?
      Isn’t that the kind Washington – Wall Street incestuous relationship that you abhor?

      • LD

        Peter,

        To be perfectly frank I see ABSOLUTELY no real difference between the Ds and the Rs when it comes to the incest. The Ds would project something different but believe me they have their face as deep into the feedbag as the Rs.

        Here is a great site to review a whole host of “incestuous” material. The Rs are collecting more Wall Street dough this year but that was not the case 4 years ago.

        Plus this guy has always been good at shaking down the crowd on Wall Street.

        • Peter Scannell

          It now or never LD to rein in Wall Street. For me it all about regulatory reforms proactively enforced! Anything less is one big f-ing do over!

          Keepen it simple.

  • LD: recommended

    Fascinating story of an IRS lawyer who blew the cover of a whistleblower and is now facing real hard time . . . as in 20 YEARS!!

    Yet the loser who blew Sivere’s cover walks totally unscathed?

    No wonder why nobody in our nation trusts our financial regulators.

    READ ON!!

    A former U.S. Internal Revenue Service examiner was charged with having an illegal conflict of interest by getting a job at a bank he audited and revealing the identity of a whistle-blower who triggered the audit.

    David Lerner, 59, of Edgewater, New Jersey, was accused today in a criminal complaint of four criminal counts and faces as long as 20 years in prison if convicted, prosecutors said.

    Lerner appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel Gorenstein, who freed him on a $300,000 bond secured by two co- signers. Lerner and his lawyer, Jonathan Marvinny, declined to comment afterward.

    “Lerner’s violations of basic conflict-of-interest laws were brazen,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan said in a statement. “Not only did he flout those laws in order to curry favor with a prospective employer, but he also illegally disclosed the identity of a whistle-blower.”
    According to prosecutors, who didn’t identify the bank, the audit was triggered when the IRS received confidential information regarding unpaid tax liability related to an “international bank.”

    Untaxed Income
    The whistle-blower alleged that the bank had received “in excess of $1 billion in untaxed income related to the transactions,” Erik Wood, an agent with the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, alleged in the complaint.

    While employed at the IRS from June 2010 to August 2011, Lerner helped calculate and structure a tax-fraud settlement between the agency and the bank valued at $210 million, prosecutors said.

    On Aug. 10, 2011, the bank wired the funds to the IRS. A day later, Lerner was offered a position there as tax director, prosecutors said. The bank wasn’t charged with any criminal wrongdoing.

    Lerner “actively negotiated the settlement without the presence of any other IRS employees” during the previous month, prosecutors alleged. The accord reached with the bank and IRS was about 62 percent of the total theoretical tax liability linked to the transactions at issue, prosecutors said. Bank executives “believed any settlement valued between $200 million and $300 million would have been considered a favorable disposition,” they said.

    No Talking
    After giving his notice to the IRS, Lerner was advised by his supervisors on Aug. 17 that there was a “lifetime prohibition” against his communicating information about work which he had participated in. Lerner was also told he’d be barred from attempting to influence former colleagues while working in the private sector, the U.S. said.

    While Lerner still employed at the IRS, he participated in a meeting on the bank’s still-pending settlement. He began working for the bank on Sept. 1, 2011, the U.S. said.
    In his new position, Lerner allegedly made repeated inquiries to former colleagues about the status of the pending settlement.

    In October 2011, Lerner allegedly disclosed the identity of the whistle-blower to someone who worked at the bank, the U.S. said.

    “We will not tolerate breaches of public trust by IRS employees, as alleged in today’s complaint,” the IRS said in a statement.

  • Mark J. Novitsky

    How they roll…In my own tragic case as a Corporate / National Security Whistleblower (I HATE that term) I have documented prima facie evidence within the Congressional, Fed Court, FBI / FBI FOIA, SEC, SEC OIG, SEC FOIA and public record about the govt. & congress protecting (Quid Pro Quo) my former employer / govt. contractor Tele Tech Holdings (TTEC) illegal & malicious lawsuit and corresponding financial fraud / crimes, resulting shareholder “losses” of est. (+/-) $250,000,000.00 and HUNDREDS of jobs and explaining ALL this to major media…they all cowered under their desks in fear while the “editor” pulled the story. In 2005 one nationally syndicated Business / Financial “reporter” wrote/called me “Too much of a hero”. I told him (Al Lewis) I was embarrassed by that…he told me I didn’t understand what he meant. This is what happens when someone becomes “Too much of a hero”. You become a target, alienated, isolated, BK’d, divorced, career & reputation destroyed (how they roll)…as a signal to others people just trying to do their job & tell the truth / “hero’s”.






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