Madoff’s last scam
The SEC’s decision to let Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff off with a “no admission of wrongdoing” settlement could be defended on a number of levels, but none will be very satisfying on a day when the Obama administration is set to give the much-maligned regulatory body sweeping new powers to oversee U.S. securities markets.
Madoff pleaded guilty to a $65 billion investment scam in a separate criminal case and faces sentencing on June 29. There is no way he is ever returning to Wall Street, and he is probably going to jail for the rest of his life.
One might consider it a waste of SEC resources to pursue the case any further. And there’s poetic justice in the agency, which for decades missed the biggest fraud on Wall Street, being denied any satisfaction in the courtroom. SEC sources said the deal with Madoff is in line with a February settlement that also included no admission or denial of the findings.
But with the president just hours away from unveiling his plan to boost the SEC’s resources and widen its mandate to catch future Madoffs, it may have been worth keeping a lawyer or two on the case — for appearances’ sake.