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Monday, November 9, 2009

Former SEC Lawyer Admits Role in Marc Dreier Ponzi Fraud; Do We Have a Corrupt SEC?

The Marc Dreier disgrace continues.   Just reported by the Wall Street Journal (link here) is that one of Dreier's "partners" at his eponymous law firm (Dreier LLP, headquartered at 499 Park Avenue), Robert Miller, has pleaded guilty to his role in the massive fraud.

Crime, Politics and Policy predicts there will be additional heads to roll in the Dreier fraud, involving other "partners" (lawyers) and employees of the Dreier firm.  

What is noteworthy is that Miller is a former Securities and Exchange Commission lawyer.  These credentials typically are the gate-opener to lucrative private sector legal positions, as companies presume that experience is valuable.   Perhaps some companies or law firms need to dispense with the presumption that past government agency employment is an assurance of honesty, integrity and character, never mind basic competence.

The Miller guilty plea will be more grist for the SEC's detractors who already have accused it of gross incompetence (see the SEC's inspector general's report, also provided on this site in an earlier post from August 2009, which you can find on the right column).   Now, if it wasn't open season before, it is now open season on the integrity of the staffers and attorneys who worked at the SEC.  

When will someone ask the questions:  Were there people within the SEC who deliberately allowed fraud to continue?   Did they do more than that -- did they actively assist the fraud?   And, were certain fraudsters trying to deliberately populate the SEC (or other agencies) with their "sleeper agents" as part of their business plan?   In other words, how extensive was the corruption and fraud within the SEC?   Do we have a corrupt SEC?   Is the SEC itself a "racketeering enterprise"?  Was the SEC just flat-out complicit in certain frauds?  

What does the plaintiffs' bar think about all this?   Maybe we'll hear real soon.   Any minute now.

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