SEC staffer stopped from asking Madoff the right questions

Genevievette Walker-Lightfoot, a Securities and Exchange Commission lawyer with an expertise in specialized trading strategies, developed a list of critical questions for Bernard Madoff in 2004 related to inconsistencies in his trading practices. Had she been allowed to pursue that line of questioning, Madoff's massive Ponzi scheme may have been exposed, but she was cut off by her supervisors, according to a report in The Washington Post today.

Inconsistencies she found included the fact that Madoff's reported settlement times were erratic. Sometimes he settled only one day after a purchase, other times seven days later. Madoff claimed to the SEC that he was using the same strategy for all investors -- trading stocks and hedging them at the same time. But when she reviewed his data she found he followed different approaches on different accounts.