BusinessWeek previously reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, and the Florida Office of Financial Regulation all are investigating the high-yielding CDs sold by Stanford’s offshore bank, as well as the investment strategy behind them. FINRA and Florida regulators began investigating Stanford Financial and its banks within the past several months. But people familiar with the probes say the SEC investigation goes back at least three years and possibly longer.
It’s all well and good being meticulous. But the amount invested in SIB CDs has increased by billions of dollars over the course of the period the SEC has been investigating the bank. Anybody who bought a Stanford CD within the past three years has every reason to be furious at the SEC.
But it gets even better: a certain Lawrence J. De Maria filed a lawsuit in 2006 specifically alleging that Stanford "was operating a Ponzi scheme or pyramid scheme". De Maria got bought off with an out-of-court settlement in December 2007; law enforcement more generally didn’t seem to care in the slightest, either before or after the case was settled.
Could the SEC — not to mention the FBI — really have been this incompetent for years? Actually, don’t answer that. There’s no need.