Remember when the Feds were thisclose to finally arresting Bernie Madoff's sons and confirming all of our suspicions that the biggest Ponzi scheme ever was a family affair? Well, they still haven't done that. But they have arrested Bernie's IT guys.
The U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan has arrested two computer programmers who formerly worked for BLMIS. According to the SEC, they provided the 70-something-year-old Madoff with the technical support needed to keep a three-decade long fraud going.
Jerome O'Hara and George Perez "used their special computer skills to create sophisticated, credible and entirely phony trading records that were critical to the success of Madoff's scheme for so many years," the SEC's George Canellos said. They have been charged with conspiracy and falsifying documents.
"Special computer skills?" Is it any wonder that the SEC can't catch swine flu at a New York City public school?
Much of the criticism of the agency since the Madoff scandal--and the three million other frauds and alleged frauds that have collapsed since then--has been of its investigators, who apparently can't wrap their heads around some of the more complicated trading strategies and instruments which the crooks aren't actually trading anyway. It hardly takes "special computer skills" to run an investment scam; many of those who do so are barely literate.
It's time to throw away the typewriters and start running Excel classes at the SEC.
S.E.C. Accuses 2 Programmers of Aiding Madoff [NYT]