The SEC: Where Are They Now?


Mandy Moody, CFE
ACFE Social Media Specialist

It is no surprise that the name Harry Markopolos, CFE, continues to make headlines for the hold-nothing-back Congressional testimony he gave to both houses of Congress in 2009 regarding the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) failures to investigate his “gift-wrapped …  largest Ponzi scheme in history.” In case you forgot, he is referring to Bernie Madoff. You know, the New Yorker who just happened to fool investors, the SEC, friends and family out of more than $50 billion.

However, since the aftermath of Madoff, Markopolos recently said, “I'm giving a lot of credit to the SEC for changing their culture to one of investigating and enforcement. When you walk through their offices now, you'll see lots of CFE credentials framed and hanging in offices. Even their lawyers are earning their CFEs these days.”

Markopolos credits the change to Mary Schapiro, the SEC Chairman who recently announced she will be leaving after four years. The Washington Post recently reported that the SEC has filed more actions in the past two years (734 and 735, respectively) than at any time in its history. Post-Madoff, Schapiro put more than 400 SEC staffers through the CFE certification process when the SEC joined the ACFE’s Law Enforcement Partnership program.

As quoted in The Post on Tuesday Markopolos said, ‘“There’s a total sea change at the agency. They are aggressive. There’s no more free passes on Wall Street. They eagerly seek out big cases. . . . They used to be industry’s lapdog and now they’re actually an investor’s watchdog.”

Part of the credit goes to the Dodd Frank Financial Reform Act, which enabled Schapiro and the SEC to go after Wall Street. Part of the credit goes to Schapiro herself for her aggressive action and leadership. And, part of the credit we give to Harry, our 2009 CFE of the Year. It is because of his relentless investigation, countless requests for action and more-than-candid Congressional testimony that the stage was set for a different kind of oversight. He made enforcement popular and the whistleblower prom king. Kudos, Harry. We are proud to have you on our team.

Photo: Harry Markopolos, CFE, speaking at the 2009 Congressional hearing regarding Bernie Madoff and the SEC.