February 9th, 2009
03:31 PM ET
11 years ago

SEC enforcement chief to resign

The SEC announced Monday that Linda Chatman Thomsen will be leaving the federal agency.

The SEC announced Monday that Linda Chatman Thomsen will be leaving the federal agency.

NEW YORK (CNN) - The top enforcement officer of the Securities and Exchange Commission is stepping down, the commission said Monday.

Linda Chatman Thomsen, who came to the SEC in 1995 and took over the
Division of Enforcement 10 years later, plans to return to the private sector.

During Thomsen's four-year tenure, the SEC saw the second- and third-highest number of actions in a single year, including large investigations into Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Merrill Lynch, the commission said in a news release.

But Thomsen and the entire commission came under sharp criticism for their handling of the Bernard Madoff case. Madoff, 70, faces a charge of securities fraud in connection with an international scheme that has cost some investors their life savings. Madoff estimated that investors lost $50 billion, according to the criminal complaint against him.

Related video: Madoff whistleblower slams SEC

Members of the House Subcommittee on Capital Markets raked Thomsen and the SEC over the coals last week during a hearing on the Madoff matter. Former investment banker Harry Markopolos testified that he tried to warn the commission about Madoff but was rebuffed.

"I gift-wrapped and delivered the largest Ponzi scheme in history to them and somehow they couldn't be bothered to conduct a thorough and proper
investigation," Markopolos told the committee.

Markopolos said he was told the SEC didn't want to go after players as big as Madoff, but Thomsen said that simply wasn't true.

"There is nothing that makes a member of my staff happier than bringing a case," she told the committee. "The only thing that makes them happier is a big case. And if it's against someone of some notoriety or fame, that makes them happier still. We live for bringing those cases - we hate the fact that people lose money - and we bring hundreds of them every year."

But several members of the committee - notably Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-New York - ripped the agency for its failures in the Madoff matter - and for declining to answer many questions because of ongoing investigations.

"You've told us nothing, and I believe that's your intention," Ackerman said. "I figured you'd leave your blindfolds and your duct tape and your ear plugs behind, but you seem to be wearing them today. And, instead of telling us anything, you read from the preamble of your mission statement and broke it up into five segments.

"You have totally and thoroughly failed in your mission," Ackerman said.

Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (96 Responses)
  1. Sarty

    .Run, run- the Obama govt. might catch you.

    February 9, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  2. Gracie, MD

    Jesus, just look at this woman's face. That's enough to SCARE anyone, this woman looks like a complete cuckoo!!

    Ms. Thomsen has a better chance of getting a job in Iraq than the private sector. Anyone willing to hire this incompetent fool deserves to be robbed blindly again!!

    I mean seriously, would YOU hire this fumbling idiot?

    February 9, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  3. Mike O'Brien

    One word.., 'good'. Good riddance. Hope you don't become a 'CEO' of a Wall Street Investment company. Talk about the "Peter Principal" in practice. Look at SEC Chief.., Linda Chatman. If I, my family and friends see your name 'affiliated' with any investment firm.., we are going to run. Mike in Montana

    February 9, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  4. Darth Vadik, CA

    as to my gov't, business and SEC comment before (if CNN posts it), if the SEC is filled with profit only people, they will lobby to change the regulations which have pulled this country out of the depression once already (THE NEW DEAL).

    Once the regulations are gone, its free for all (at the top).

    February 9, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  5. Brendose, Oceanside CA

    Looks like "resigning" is the easiest way in govenment to avoid any sentance or jail time.

    Add her to the long list of political criminals in the US.

    February 9, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  6. Molly

    Yes...and I'm sure she is heading off to a multi-million dollar career with Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Merrill Lynch.

    February 9, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  7. Gracie, MD

    Where is that orange jumpsuit, will someone please put one on this woman! She outta be in jail yesterday.

    February 9, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  8. Ray Fisher, Albuquerque, NM

    It's about tme she leaves after fallng on her sword and ruining our investment markets with her incompetence, a complete failure!!!

    February 9, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  9. Mississippi Mike

    I wish every crappy bureaucrat and crooked political appointee would resign. Well, it's a start.

    February 9, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  10. Sye the Pychic

    Whats the latest fashion in womens prison wear?she should be wearing it.

    February 9, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  11. Thomas

    She was just an unqualified yes woman given an appointment to look the other way .

    I'm sorry to see her cash out her chips as the casino burns .

    February 9, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  12. BB

    Thank you for resigning. Why did you not do your job?

    February 9, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  13. Ula Nejad Sacramento, Ca

    The gall. Leave her alone. SEC protects the heart of the country's economic life. What's irritating is the federal govt's ability to execute the right moves at those crucial times when the deficit figures were bearable. Yet Obama is more concerned of saving his presidential existence making speeches to the American people. American want swift action and the kind of leadership that trusts the future. HOPE is dead as far as Iam concerned. He is not good at golf. What makes him think he is friggin good at poker?

    February 9, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    We need to re-institute personal legal responsibility. At the very least she is criminally incompetent and should have to repay her salary
    for failing to carry out her job duties unless an investigation shows criminal behavior or a cover up then it's jail time. Whoever she answers to is also responsible equally.

    February 9, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  15. Chaston

    All the SEC were getting paid for putting a blind eye. They just don't want to admit it. Look into their financial record and you will see. The should be trailed and put into jail.

    February 9, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  16. Ken

    It is way past her time and the sooner the better. Hopefully the next one will provide accountability and transparency so that we do not find ourselves in this type of mess again.

    February 9, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  17. paul (staunch Moderate)

    Party Differences February 9th, 2009 4:13 pm ET

    Madoff was a HUGE contributor to Democrats and Democratic causes… do your homework. Wow, the economy was going pretty good for a while, what happened? Oh yeah, all the Democrats took their seats in early 2007.. Coincidence? Hardly, but the media likes to refer to it as the GOP excesses of the past 8 years, glossing over the recession we were in when Clinton left and the Democratic control of BOTH House and Senate for the past two years.

    I dearly wish people like you would get a clue regarding the Congressional Democratic majority from Jan 2007... You spout all kinds of nonsense about this time period – but you haven't done your homework. Will you EVER understand the US was NOT in a recession when Clinton left office? And there was a Budget SURPLUS – not a Budget DEFICIT? Oh.... probably not.... sigh....

    But to the topic at hand – This woman needs to be thrown into an investigative spotlight even if she is stepping down. No corner of the room should be left in shadows. People want to know what happened to their money – and they have a right to know the facts of it all. So, let her go back to the private sector and shine a klieg light on her and her actions since she came into the position. That's the only responsible thing to do at this point.

    February 9, 2009 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  18. RAID


    February 9, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  19. Perusing-through


    February 9, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  20. Tia

    Jackie in Dallas, I'm a little offended at your implication that we're too dumb to have never seen or used the word moot...and you spelled Madoff wrong.

    February 9, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  21. Ellie, MD

    This woman is a disgrace and the biggest crook in the SEC.

    Please take this cuckoo bird off the blog, she's NOT worth mentioning anymore.

    February 9, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
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