Thursday, September 23, 2010

SEC Official 'Misled' Congress in Stanford Case: Senator

SEC Official 'Misled' Congress in Stanford Case: Senator; CNBC

The director of the Fort Worth Regional Office of the Securities and Exchange Commission "actively misled" the Senate Banking Committee investigating the Stanford Financial scandal, a committee member charged Wednesday.

Stanford on trial. Several other former executives may also soon end up in court.
R. Allen Stanford on trial. Several other former executives may also soon end up in court.

Sen. David Vitter, R-Louisiana, whose constituents include thousands of Stanford investors, clashed with SEC Regional Director Rose L. Romero at a hearing on the SEC's handling of the Stanford case.

At issue were Romero's comments at a committee hearing earlier this year, which charged that the SEC did not begin its inquiry into Stanford until 2004. A later report by SEC Inspector General David Kotz concluded the Fort Worth office had been looking into Stanford as early as 1997, but repeatedly decided not to launch a formal investigation until years later.

"I think you actively misled me and the committee," Vitter said, suggesting that SEC officials, possibly including Chairwoman Mary Schapiro, had instructed her to be "narrow" in her disclosures to the committee at the earlier hearing.

CNBC first reported on the apparent inconsistencies in Romero's testimony earlier this year.

Romero denied trying to mislead the committee.

"I did not actively mislead you, Senator," said Romero, a former federal prosecutor before joining the SEC in 2006. "I have devoted my life to the public good."

The SEC has come under fire for its handling of the Stanford case, an alleged $7 billion Ponzi scheme that continued for years before the SEC finally sued the firm—along with its founder R. Allen Stanford and several others—in February 2009.

Read the rest of the CNBC article here.

Comment: Wow, she has devoted her whole life to the "public good;" can't be any wrongdoing there.

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