When Mary Jo White was appointed head of the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) by Pres. Obama, there were a lot of people who were worried by the fact she had represented many firms that had gotten in trouble with the Sheriff of Wall Street. Now we discover she's the toughest person who ever headed up the SEC.
Yesterday Philip Falcone, a hedge fund manager who never seemed to know what the law required him to do, plead guilty to improper actions in running his hedge fund, Harbinger Capital Partners.
"So what," you're going to say? What's the big deal?
You'll probably be surprised to know that lawbreakers never were forced to plead guilty in front of the SEC before. You used to get a slap on the wrist and a fine and never had to admit you'd done illegal things.
The SEC was a joke. People broke the law and weren't required to admit guilt. No wonder all the miscreants and shady CEOs walked around with their head held high after paying huge fines and having been accused of misconduct and said. "Hey, I never said I was guilty of anything. Get off my back."
You thought somebody was really watching the hedge funds and stockbrokers. That really wasn't true if you never had to admit guilt for doing sleazy things to American investors.