Dealbook reports that Mary Schapiro has given official notice and come December 14th, she’s out of there. Names being floated as possible successors are said to include Sallie Krawcheck and the SEC’s director of enforcement, Robert Khuzami, but on the off-chance they’re not interested, want to throw yours or a loved one’s C.V. in the mix? Update: Apparently Obama plans to nominate Elisse Walter, an SEC commissioner and former FINRA VP, to take over. So you’ve probably got less of a shot at this point but anything can happen!
Securities and Exchange Commission
The Securities and Exchange Commission said Thursday it received more than 3,000 tips in the past fiscal year. The SEC said the tips — 3,001 in all — came from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and from 49 countries. It announced the findings in a report required by the Dodd-Frank Act on the activity of the SEC’s whistleblower office, which opened its doors in August last year…Under the program created by the Dodd-Frank Act, whistleblowers can receive a 10% to 30% reward if they provide original information that leads to a successful enforcement case netting a penalty of $1 million or more. The SEC issued its first reward under the program on Aug. 21 to an informant who didn’t want to be identified. The whistleblower received $50,000, or 30% of the $150,000 thus far reclaimed out of the multimillion-dollar fraud the person prevented, the SEC said at the time. [WSJ]
SEC Staffers Have Made Remarkable Progress Re: Learning What Constitutes Appropriate Use Of A Work ComputerBy Bess Levin
If you had asked us two years or two months or two days ago if we thought that there would be a time in the near future when Securities and Exchange employees would not be regularly reprimanded for watching porn on their work-issued computers for 98 percent of the workday, we would have said absolutely not. No judgment, but in our professional opinion, people do not go from, among other things:
* Receiving “over 16,000 access denials for Internet websites classified by the Commission’s Internet filter as either “Sex” or “Pornography” in a one-month period”
* Accessing “Internet pornography and downloading pornographic images to his SEC computer during work hours so frequently that, on some days, he spent eight hours accessing Internet pornography…downloading so much pornography to his government computer that he exhausted the available space on the computer hard drive and downloaded pornography to CDs or DVDs that he accumulated in boxes in his office.”
* www.ladyboyx.com, www.ladyboyjuice.com, www.trannytit.com, and www.anal-sins.com
…to living a porn-free existence at l’office. Did we think they’d take baby steps toward that goal? Sure. But when you’ve tried to log on to your websites of choice, on average, 533 times a day, assuming weekends were worked, baby steps means getting yourself to a place where you can do a solid two hours of work each week without hitting up anal-sins.com. So you can imagine (and probably share in) our surprise to hear that, according to a probe by Interim Inspector General Jon Rymer re: “misuses of government resources,” the worst offenses one office was charged with claiming they needed iPads to do their jobs when really they just wanted to watch movies on them at home and going to hacker conferences without encrypting the data on their computers. Read more »
John Paulson Pretty Sure Dodd-Frank, New Hedge Fund Disclosure Rules Are The Most Fakakta Thing He’s Seen In A Long TimeBy Bess Levin
“I couldn’t even read the whole application,” he said to guffaws from several hundred young Jewish professionals gathered sipping on spirits and kosher wine at event space Chelsea Pearl to hear his advice on how to make it in finance. “I did review part of the application, about 40 pages [out of 500], and the information we provided doesn’t make any sesne to me. How could it possibly make sense to the SEC? It’s a complete waste of time,” he added. “They don’t know what they’re looking for, the just asked for everything in every possible way…I don’t believe the Dodd-Frank law is a positive piece of legislation,” he said dryly, understating his distaste. “I ordered the bill; there are 2,000 pages. I couldn’t read the table of contents. I don’t know anyone who has read it. I think it has retarded the recovery…it’s complete gobbledygook.” [AR]
Attention Would-Be Insider Traders: SEC Undaunted By Fancy Foreign Languages, Use Of Email Outside Of Continental United StatesBy Bess Levin
Back in May 2010, a Wells Fargo employee named Waldyr Da Silva Prado Neto got a hot tip that Burger King was going to be bought by private equity firm 3G Capital Partners. Realizing he was in possession of some valuable information, Da Silva Prado Neto did what any rational person with an elastic view of securities laws would, and shared the material non-public information with some clients and friends, making about $175,000 and also putting himself in the good graces of pal he tipped off, who probably promised to return the favor. DSPN used Portuguese to communicate the message that he had information that might be of interest (“If you are around call me at the hotel,” he emailed one customer. “I have some info…you have to hear this”), which seems pretty standard, given that he’s Brazilian, though at least one person at the SEC is pretty sure it was an attempt to throw regulators off the trail, not realizing the lengths the Commission will go to fight crime. Read more »
“Today’s charges read like the final exam in a graduate school course in how to operate a hedge fund unlawfully,” Robert Khuzami, director of the S.E.C.’s division of enforcement, said in a statement. “Clients and market participants alike were victimized as Falcone unscrupulously used fund assets to pay his personal taxes, manipulated the market for certain bonds, favored some clients at the expense of others, and violated trading rules intended to prohibit manipulative short sales.” [Dealbook]
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Former Online Brokerage Chief Offers Handy How-To-Guide Re: Getting Banned From The Securities IndustryBy Bess Levin
Regardless of what you think of the Securities and Exchange Commission, a good rule of thumb is that if you are regulated by the agency, you probably don’t want to go out of your way to unnecessarily insult and/or anger it. In fact, to play it safe, you might want to just show the place complete and total deference, whether you’re violating its rules or not. This is an attitude that many investment professionals have adopted over the years, some of their own volition, others by strong advisement. Then you have Sheldon Maschler. The former chief trader of Datek Online, who in 2003 paid a $29.2 million fine and was banned from the securities industry, took a different approach. From Wall Street Journal reporter Scott Patterson’s new book, Dark Pools: Read more »
“In 2002 I had a contact with the SEC, who were concerned that I was front-running,” he recalls, referring to the practice of using insider information to inform trades. “I started laughing to myself – I knew I wasn’t because I wasn’t doing the trades.” [FT]
So, about the 10 dudes who were arrested yesterday for running a boiler room operation in Manhattan that swindled some elderly Florida folks out of $12 million. One of the guys arrested, Steven Kimmel, (no relation to Jimmy) told investors he used to work at the Securities and Exchange Commission. Now, we’re not sure if this is BS or not and the SEC hasn’t commented. We talked to a few veteran SEC folks who said they’d never heard of Kimmel. But the FBI did note it in its press release. Read more »
Yet another South Florida mini-Madoff has been nabbed by the Securities and Exchange Commission for robbing unsuspecting investors out of their hard-earned cash. Luis Felipe Perez allegedly stole $40 million from 35 investors from 2006 through 2009 until his Ponzi scheme unraveled when he couldn’t find new investors.
Like the Florida grocery scam uncovered earlier this year, Perez promised investors lavish returns, as much as 120 percent, from investments in his jewelry business and pawn shops in New York. But, that’s not exactly what he did with the cash. Read more »
Looks like Raj Rajaratnam’s complaints about leaks coming out of the Justice Department have not fallen on deaf ears. Raj’s attorney announced today that he has been informed by The DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility that it has opened an investigation into alleged leaks by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office to the Wall Street Journal and other news outlets.
The Securities and Exchange Commission’s Inspector General, David Kotz, is also probing alleged leaks from the SEC about the Galleon case as part of his broader investigation into information that appeared in various news outlets before the announcement of the SEC’s charges against Goldman Sachs. Read more »