It has been revealed that about a billion US dollars has been recovered from the investment firm of alleged fraudster Bernard Madoff. The former Nasdaq stock market chairman was accused of running a Ponzi scheme – or giant pyramid scam. Madoff was arrested last December and accused of defrauding investors of fifty billion dollars.
And now a whistle blower has been telling a US congressional committee that America’s regulatory body, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had failed to heed his warnings. Harry Markopolos said: ‘I gift wrapped and delivered the largest Ponzi scheme in history to them and somehow they couldn’t be bothered to conduct a thorough and proper investigation because they were too busy on matters of higher priority.’ Markopolos was speaking as several SEC officials sat in the packed hearing room. Those same officials heard this broadside from Democrat Gary Akerman. He said: ‘One guy, with a few friends and helpers, discovered this thing nearly a decade ago, led you to this pile of dung that is Bernie Madoff and stuck your nose in it and you couldn’t figure it out.’ Against the backdrop of the worst financial crisis since the 1930s, the SEC is being accused of further eroding investor confidence. US politicians, both Republican and Democrat, are calling for a huge shake-up of the agency.