Bernard Madoff thought regulators had caught him in 2006 and was “astonished” U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigators never followed up on information he gave them, the agency's internal watchdog said. Madoff told Inspector General H. David Kotz’s office this year that after being questioned in May 2006, “I thought it was the end game,” Bloomberg News reports. That never happened, and his Ponzi scheme continued for 2 1/2 years.
“This was perhaps the most egregious failure in the enforcement investigation of Madoff,” Kotz's report said. The report detailed repeated missed opportunities by the SEC after being alerted to Madoff's Ponzi scheme activities at least six times dating back to 1992. The SEC assigned inexperienced lawyers to the investigation, supervisors denied requests of examiners to expand their review, and staff withdrew a request for information from a third party on grounds a review of the data would be “too time-consuming,” Kotz said.