ALERT:

H.R.3482 New Co-sponsors– Congressman Michael Burgess [R-TX26] and Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter [D-NH1} have signed onto support H.R. 3482 – Restoring Main Street Investor Protection and Confidence Act.

If your congressional representative has not yet signed on to H.R.3482 (click here for list of current co-sponsors), please call and write your representative urging they take action and sign on. Visit www.fixsipcnow.org to submit your letter on-line and for your representative’s contact information.

S.1725 New Co-sponsors – Senator Mark Pryor [D-AR] and Senator Bill Nelson [D-FL] have signed onto support S.1725 – Restoring Main Street Investor Protection and Confidence Act.

If your Senator have not yet signed on to S.1725 (click here for the list of current co-sponsors), please call and write your Senators urging they take action and sign on.

Click here to submit your letter on-line and for your Senator’s contact information.

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Con artist files ’suit’ for Bernie Madoff [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette :: ]

A convicted con artist formerly of Pittsburgh with a propensity for writing frivolous civil suits is believed to have filed an apparently fake motion in Manhattan federal court to dismiss charges against Bernie Madoff, the jailed and infamous Ponzi scheme mastermind. The bizarre, rambling legal document purportedly filed by “Frederick Banks, The Litigator Legal Assistant,” includes numerous misspellings and handwritten scrawl that alleges the “CIA Office of Science and Technology used bio-electric sensors and subcranial voice to skull technology to influence the court.” U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin, who as a U.S. District judge sentenced Madoff to 150 years in prison in 2009, ruled the “defendant’s argument is meritless” in an order made public Wednesday alongside the motion mailed to the court. More on Bloomberg here.

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Kotlikoff: Investors at Risk of Wipeout, SIPC a Fraud

Economist Laurence Kotlikoff is calling on all Americans to close their brokerage accounts immediately because of the risk of a total wipeout — a risk he says stems from a massive Wall Street insurance scam perpetrated by the Securities Investor Protection Corp. (SIPC). “SIPC, a brokerage ‘insurance’ arm of Wall Street, has been and remains today engaged in insurance fraud,” Kotlikoff told ThinkAdvisor in a telephone interview. “SIPC claims to insure brokerage accounts. Nothing could be farther from the truth. What it’s really doing is placing all brokerage account holders at extreme risk.” More on ThinkAdvisor here.

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U.S. judge won’t void five ex-Madoff employees’ convictions

The federal judge who oversaw the trial of five associates of imprisoned swindler Bernard Madoff on Thursday refused to overturn their convictions for helping their former boss run one of the world’s biggest Ponzi schemes. U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain found sufficient evidence for jurors on March 24 to have convicted back-office director Daniel Bonventre, portfolio managers Annette Bongiorno and Joann Crupi and computer programmers Jerome O’Hara and George Perez after the five-month trial. More on Reuters here.

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Tables turned: Madoff letter to U.S. judge appears to be fake

Bernard Madoff’s massive Ponzi scheme relied on reams of fake trading documents to fool regulators for decades. Now he may be the victim of a forgery himself, after a U.S. judge on Wednesday denied a bizarre motion supposedly filed by Madoff that claimed the U.S. intelligence agencies used “bio-electric sensors” to influence the case against him. The letter, which was made public alongside the judge’s order, appeared to be a fake. Madoff’s signature did not match his typical one, and the letter contained numerous typing mistakes and a handwritten rant. More on Reuters here.

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Ponzi Victims Can't Seek Compensation from SIPC

Victims of Allen Stanford’s $7 billion Ponzi scheme cannot seek compensation from the federally-mandated Securities Investor Protection Corporation, the D.C. Circuit ruled. In an unprecedented move, the Securities & Exchange Commission sued the SIPC in December 2011 in D.C. federal court after it refused to force liquidation proceedings in Dallas federal court that would result in victims being compensated. The SIPC is a self-regulating organization comprised of US-registered broker dealers that was mandated by Congress. It administers a fund that compensates investors in case a member fails. More on Courthouse News Service here.

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Kotlikoff: Investors at Risk of Wipeout, SIPC a Fraud

Economist Laurence Kotlikoff is calling on all Americans to close their brokerage accounts immediately because of the risk of a total wipeout — a risk he says stems from a massive Wall Street insurance scam perpetrated by the Securities Investor Protection Corp. (SIPC). “SIPC, a brokerage ‘insurance’ arm of Wall Street, has been and remains today engaged in insurance fraud,” Kotlikoff told ThinkAdvisor in a telephone interview. “SIPC claims to insure brokerage accounts. Nothing could be farther from the truth. What it’s really doing is placing all brokerage account holders at extreme risk.” More on Think Advisor here.

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Picard Can’t Appeal ‘Good Faith’ Madoff Clawback Ruling

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff refused on Monday to let the liquidating trustee for Bernard L. Madoff’s defunct firm seek appellate review of a decision weakening clawback suits against investors affected by the Ponzi scheme, saying the cases should not “languish” while the Second Circuit tackles a narrow question of law. Ruling against both Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC trustee Irving Picard and the Securities Investor Protection Corp., Judge Rakoff declined to allow an appeal of a May decision that put the onus on Picard to plead adequately that investors affected by the notorious $65 billion fraud showed a lack of good faith. Picard had asked for an interlocutory appeal on the grounds that the suits could be sent back to “square one” if the appeals court later reversed Judge Rakoff’s holding that the defendants could challenge the assumption that they were sophisticated market participants who, while not necessarily aware of the scheme, breached their duty to investigate suspicious Ponzi scheme returns. More on Law360 here.

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ALERT:

Vitter: Appeal for Stanford Ponzi Scheme Victim Fails, Highlights Need to Reform SIPC
Click here for Senator Vitter’s statement following the July 18th Appeals Court Ruling in the SEC vs SIPC appeal for Stanford Ponzi Scheme Victims. Click here for a copy of the ruling.

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Taking a Broker to Arbitration

If you have a problem with your investment broker and you cannot resolve the dispute on your own, you probably won’t get your day in court. But you will be heard, most likely in a conference room somewhere, before a panel of arbitrators. The moment people open a brokerage or investment account, they most likely — and perhaps inadvertently — waive their right to sue. The fine print of most customer agreements almost always contains a clause that says the customer agree to resolve any future disputes through arbitration, largely through the forum operated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Wall Street’s self-regulatory organization, known as Finra. The mandatory nature of these agreements — which are increasingly appearing in other consumer financial products as well and have been repeatedly blessed by the Supreme Court — is a frequent complaint of consumer advocates. And if you try to avoid brokers’ so-called predispute arbitration clause, you may have little choice but to stow your savings in a mattress. More in the New York Times here.

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Stanford Losses Not Covered by SIPC, Appeals Court Rules

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission can’t force a brokerage account insurer to pay victims of R. Allen Stanford’s $7 billion fraud because their purchases weren’t covered, an appeals court ruled. The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington said the 7,000 investors in certificates of deposit sold by Stanford didn’t qualify as customers of a brokerage who would be insured by the Securities Investor Protection Corp., as the SEC argued. The CDs were bought at Antigua-based Stanford International Bank LLC, which wasn’t a SIPC member, the court said. The Stanford case is the first in which the SEC has gone to court to force SIPC to extend coverage. SIPC, a nonprofit corporation funded by the brokerage industry, has come under criticism from U.S. senators for allegedly favoring its Wall Street members over fraud victims in recent years. More on Bloomberg here.

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