After taking a beating for its supervision of the now-defunct Bear Stearns and missing Bernard Madoff’s $65 billion fraud, the Securities and Exchange Commission has really started to crack down hard on financial fraud. Last month, the SEC filed charges against Bank of America and pursued its first naked short selling case. They also settled fraud charges with General Electric and with former AIG executive Hank Greenberg. Since Mary Schapiro took over as the boss at the SEC late in January, the agency has opened 525 investigations, a 10% rise over the same period last year.
The SEC also filed 397 enforcement actions, a 30% increase from the year-ago period. The Commission is on a record pace and that’s good news for investors who have been victims of fraud. One reason for the new aggressiveness of the SEC is Robert Khuzami, a former federal prosecutor, who now holds down the job of enforcement director. Khuzami — known as tough, organized and driven – is bringing about dramatic changes, such as taking steps to speed up investigations by giving top enforcers more subpoena power. Prior to joining the SEC, Khuzami led a securities fraud task force at the U.S. Attorney’s office. It’s refreshing to see the SEC doing its job and hopefully the good work will continue.
Source: Insurance Journal
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