25 Feb

The Whores Had Their Own “Hotline”

Financiers Used “Hotline” to SEC Examiners

Tuesday 24 February 2009

by: Matt Renner, t r u t h o u t | Report

Full Article

Washington, DC – In a hearing which exposed failures by the government’s financial police, Congressman Stephen Lynch (D-Massachusetts) highlighted the existence of a “hotline,” which he said could be used by Wall Street firms to call off government inspectors. The existence of a “hotline” has been confirmed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), though its purpose has been disputed.

Markopolos spent nine years trying to get the SEC to investigate Bernard Madoff for a scheme that Markopolos claims he identified in “minutes” and proved in “hours” using basic financial modeling. Despite dogged communication by Markopolos, the SEC failed to thoroughly investigate Madoff. After Madoff admitted his fraud in December 2008, the SEC publicly stated that they had received evidence of Madoff’s scheme and had failed to stop it.

During the hearing, Congressman Lynch said that current and former SEC employees complained to him about the existence of a “hotline” used by Wall Street firms to call directly to top SEC officials to “stop an investigation or slow it down.”

“The other thing that I keep hearing from some current SEC and former SEC is that there is a hotline. I was told that senior SEC management had actually gone to a financial services industry conference and basically said to the firms out there ‘If you feel that you are being too aggressively investigated, then I want you to call this office,'” Lynch said.

A February 2005 speech by then director of the SEC Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) Lori A. Richards before an industry conference appears to back up Lynch’s statement.

“One unrelated final note I want to mention, we’ve implemented what we call the ‘Exam Hotline.’ The Exam Hotline will be dedicated to receiving calls from members of the regulated community who have a complaint or a concern about an SEC examination,” Richards said to the Investment Adviser Compliance Best Practices Summit, adding “if a member of the regulated community has a complaint or a concern about an examination, they should know where to call for immediate attention.”………………………………………………….

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