Schapiro As SEC Chair: Can A Wolf Protect Lambs?
Schapiro did nothing but covered up these crimes. And what has all this have to do with Bernard Madoff, the Ponzi King? Madoff, like Schettino, had also produced fictitious trading records; falsified trades; and. stolen money.
[The Financial Meltdown]
President-elect Barack Obama's choice of Mary Schapiro as Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission may go down as his worst appointment.
Schapiro, in her capacity as President of NASD Regulation and later CEO of Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), was directly responsible for ensuring that Bernie Madoff's firm, BLM Securities, obeyed federal securities laws. Schapiro in her capacity as Commissioner and acting-Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission and later as President of NASD Regulation, has covered up more violations of federal securities law than Madoff has violated.
And yes, Bernie Madoff pulled off his scam when Schapiro was President of NASD Regulation and Chairperson of FINRA, which regulates NASD! Schapiro never investigated Madoff, probably because Madoff was a powerful individual, a former Chairman of NASD.
I’m privy to this information because I was a trader on Wall Street many years ago. Beginning in 1991 I had written to Steven Lister, Senior Vice President of Compliance at the American Stock Exchange (AMEX). I requested that, as a former member of the American Stock Exchange, I be granted access to my records. The American Stock Exchange never replied. Whenever I saw Lister, I asked him when he would grant me access to my records, Lister would simply state: "No."
Little background. Members of the board of AMEX had told other members that I had been evicted from AMEX for refusing to pass through a metal detector; in reality I had exposed the fact that another member of the Board had been apprehended with an unregistered pistol after he went through metal detectors at AMEX. I wanted to see whether the false information about me was in my AMEX files.
On July 26, 1993, I wrote to Mary Schapiro and requested that the Securities and Exchange Commission order the American Stock Exchange to permit me access to my files after Lister again refused to grant me access to my records. Of course this is a violation of federal securities laws, but that did not matter to Schapiro. And SEC attorney, GayLa D. Sessoms, in a letter dated August 23, 1993 claimed "the Commission does not have the authority to compel the AMEX to produce records to you."
Schapiro knew that AMEX was a hotbed of illegal activity by the Italian Mafia-but Schapiro always looked to greener pastures.
I did not expect this lack of support from Schapiro. After all, I executed orders for Frost & Sullivan, a trading firm, on the floor of the AMEX.
When the inside trading scandal in Motel 6 was exposed –a foreign company was planning to bid on Motel 6, which was a nationwide chain of budget motels, but the information leaked and Frost & Sullivan traded illegally on it— I was investigated by the SEC.
I was the only individual who was connected to the three firms involved in this insider trading scandal that did not trade on Motel 6 insider information and thereby profit illegally. I was also the only individual who possessed knowledge of the extent of the insider trading in Motel 6 who was not subpoenaed by the SEC.
Why? Because according to Joseph Greenwald, a trader with another firm, who pleaded guilty to insider trading in Motel 6, James Breeden, at the time Chairman of the SEC, and Mary Schapiro, who was then an SEC Commissioner, had ordered the SEC to limit the scope of the investigation. The intent was to protect senior members of the AMEX and Bear Stearns who had knowledge of the Motel 6 insider information.
On September 13, 1993 I met with Assistant United States Attorney Frances Fragos (who later, as Frances Fragos-Townsend was to become George W. Bush’s Homeland Security adviser) at 1 Saint Andrew Plaza, in Manhattan, to discuss the Italian Mafia's penetration of the AMEX; the insider trading scandal in Motel 6; payoffs to AMEX Compliance Attorneys by the Italian Mafia; payoffs by the Italian Mafia to members of the Board of the American Stock Exchange; the theft of $500,000 by a vice president of the AMEX; the stock fraud at a company named PNF; involvement of members of the Board of the AMEX in the stock fraud at PNF; and, a host of other crimes. I had first approached the FBI to expose these crimes and the agency then arranged for me to meet with Frances Fragos.
(When I showed Fragos the letter from Sessoms, she told me that Sessoms had lied and that in fact the SEC had the authority to order the AMEX to grant me access to my records. I was convinced that the SEC and AMEX knew that once I obtained my records, I could have forced investigations that would have exposed other major crimes; yet I needed my records as a launching point).
Of course the SEC had powers over the AMEX. For example, in 1977 the AMEX gave mild disciplinary sanctions against about 20 members for posting fictitious options trades. The SEC overruled the AMEX disciplinary actions and suspended the 20 or so members of the AMEX involved in this fraud, including future members of the Board of the AMEX, such as William Silver, Louis Miceli, and Robert VanCaneghan..
In 1995 when Schapiro was a Commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission, a huge illegal trading scandal erupted at the AMEX. Pat Schettino, a rogue trader and managing director of Spear Leeds and Kellogg, falsified trades; marked options positions; produced fictitious trading records; stole money from AMEX members; violated the net capital rule (the type of offense for which Ivan Boesky later went to prison); and, even entered trades at fictitious prices.
When I wrote numerous letters to the SEC and members of the Board of the AMEX about Schettino's illegal trading, he hired Eric Levine, an attorney at Proskauer Rose and sued me for defamation. The SEC did nothing; even after I had written to the SEC, including Schapiro, about Schettino's massive illegal trading.
By taking no action, the SEC countenanced Schettino's actions against me. The AMEX delayed investigating Schettino for years. Two attorneys for the AMEX, Steven Lister and Phil Axelrod, who were supposed to be investigating Schettino even taunted me about Schettino's defamation lawsuit and told me that they hoped that I would lose.
In 1998 NASD purchased the American Stock Exchange. At the time Schapiro was President of NASD Regulation, which was technically overseeing AMEX regulation. Then in 1999 when Schapiro was President of NASD Regulation, major violations of federal securities laws at the AMEX were exposed in a seminal article, "Scandal On Wall Street," on the front page of Business Week and it was noted that Schettino had not been disciplined four years after he had violated federal securities laws. Schettino subsequently dropped his lawsuit against me.
Schapiro did nothing, but covered up these crimes. And what has all this have to do with Bernard Madoff, the Ponzi King? Madoff, like Schettino, had also produced fictitious trading records; falsified trades; and. stolen money.
Where was Schapiro, the nominal overseer of Madoff? Now she is to become Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission?
(Schapiro did not return a phone message seeking comment; her aide said she was meeting with President Elect Obama in Chicago).
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