Thursday, March 12, 2009

March 12: Madoff Plea Must Lead To More Probes

By Sylvia Gurinsky

Bernard Madoff's guilty plea does not and cannot end the story.

The federal investigation of his family and his co-workers must continue. Can one man be responsible for a staggering $65 billion swindle? It's hard to believe, and the answer is: Maybe not.

An investigation of the failings of the Securities and Exchange Commission in pursuing the case against Madoff until so much had been lost must also be done. Apparently, Madoff's scheming happened during a 25-year period, which means there's a lot of blame to go around.

The issue of restitution may be more complicated, given the list of people and organizations that lost money. Class-action suits are already being filed, and that may be the best bet.

Any efforts at laws to protect investors who have been swindled may be met by cries of "It's their choice to invest their money." However, the list of those affected is so vast - including charitable foundations - that some compensation is in order. Somehow, jail doesn't seem enough of a punishment for Bernard Madoff.

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