Compliance Bits and Pieces for June 22

SEC Charges Florida Broker in Astrology-Based Ponzi Scheme

“Persaud preyed on people who trusted him by promising high and steady returns while hiding his unconventional trading strategy,” said Eric I. Bustillo, Director of the SEC’s Miami Regional Office. “When Persaud blatantly lied to investors and hid their losses through a Ponzi scheme, he should have known that an SEC enforcement action was in the stars.”

SEC Builds Money Fund Case by Andrew Ackerman and Kirsten Grind in the Wall Street Journal

Money market mutual funds have been rescued from financial trouble by their parent companies more than 300 times since the 1970s, about 100 more than previously reported, according to a new Securities and Exchange Commission study.

Trial is Not a Crime in America by Scott Greenfield in Simple Justice

[T]hese trials are the ones that test us.  As much as we may revile an alleged crime, and empathize with the purported victims, we have a system by which people accused of crimes are entitled, entitled as in it is their absolute right, to challenge their accusations before we punish them.  The right to a trial isn’t protected for those we favor and denied to those we don’t.  It isn’t limited to those about whom the public thinks a doubt may exist and denied to those we don’t.

Social power and morality by Dan Ariely

The following is taken from the graduation speech of Michael Lewis at Princeton in 2012. In it, he discusses an experiment that explores the relationship between power and morality.

“…… a pair of researchers in the Cal psychology department staged an experiment. They began by grabbing students, as lab rats. Then they broke the students into teams, segregated by sex. Three men, or three women, per team. Then they put these teams of three into a room, and arbitrarily assigned one of the three to act as leader. Then they gave them some complicated moral problem to solve: say what should be done about academic cheating, or how to regulate drinking on campus.

Exactly 30 minutes into the problem-solving the researchers interrupted each group. They entered the room bearing a plate of cookies. Four cookies. The team consisted of three people, but there were these four cookies. Every team member obviously got one cookie, but that left a fourth cookie, just sitting there. It should have been awkward. But it wasn’t. With incredible consistency the person arbitrarily appointed leader of the group grabbed the fourth cookie, and ate it. Not only ate it, but ate it with gusto: lips smacking, mouth open, drool at the corners of their mouths. In the end all that was left of the extra cookie were crumbs on the leader’s shirt.

This leader had performed no special task. He had no special virtue. He’d been chosen at random, 30 minutes earlier. His status was nothing but luck. But it still left him with the sense that the cookie should be his.”

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