Madoff: SEC flunked Investigations 101

NEW YORK - JANUARY 14: A demonstrator holds a ...

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Don’t just ask a crook if he’s stolen something. Check to see what’s missing.

That obvious bit of advice comes across clearly in the transcript of a jailhouse interview with notorious Ponzi-scheme swindler Bernard Madoff, according to a fascinating account in today’s New York Times.

Reporter Diana Henriques recounts how young Securities and Exchange Commission investigators, looking into Madoff’s dealings years before his arrest, didn’t check the records of the firms he said were handling his trades. Notes Henriques, “an examination of customer records after Mr. Madoff’s arrest in December showed he made no trades for his customers for decades (emphasis added). ”  Again, no one took the time to look.

I can’t speak for you. But I find it ironic when the Republican right repeatedly screams “socialism.” Why are so many people today worried about big government when the far more pressing concern is the need for competent government?  Perhaps Congress’ growing ethics’ investigation into members of both parties is a sign that someone, somewhere, is beginning to wake up at the wheel.

About jerrylanson

I teach, write, coach and sing, though you're not required to listen to the latter. I'm a journalism professor at Emerson College in Boston. My third book, "Writing for Others, Writing for Ourselves," was published in November by Rowman & Littlefield Publishing. You can read a sample chapter at My passions are politics (generally liberal in outlook), music, mountains, golden retrievers and my grandchildren, though not in that order. Please stop by and mix it up with me. I always answer those who post.
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