Mark McHugh

Archive for October, 2010|Monthly archive page

Trick or Treating at the SEC….

In Open Thread on Thursday, October 21, 2010 at 10:57 am

Some of you may remember that I applied for an SEC Bounty regarding Angelo Mozilo’s looting of Countrywide Financial in broad daylight in March 2007 (more than two years before the SEC charged Mozilo).  Now that Mozilo has settled with the SEC for an utterly pathetic less than 7.5 cents on the dollar, I can’t held but wonder who will get the 10% bounty on his insider trading.  The SEC can’t possibly claim responsibility – they were literally the last people on the planet to figure out what a slimeball Mozilo is.

Understand, I’d love for them to send me the money, but more importantly, I want to make sure that they pay the money out to someone (ideally the most deserving person who first applied for the bounty).  The public affairs division of the SEC knows of no such plans…

So far I’ve sent two unanswered emails, left one voicemail, and had one comically pointless conversation with an SEC employee named Kevin Callahan.

Here’s the emails:

To John Nester (

Dear Mr. Nester,
The SEC recently announced a settlement with former Countrywide Financial Corp. CEO Angelo Mozilo regarding fraud and insider trading charges brought by the SEC June 4, 2009.  It is clear to everyone that the SEC ignored repeated warnings of corruption at Countrywide, including those which I personally sent the SEC in 2007. 
The SEC has advertised a “Bounty” program for those reporting illegal insider trading for more than 20 years.  After my initial warnings about Mozilo were dismissed by the SEC, I applied for such a bounty in March of 2007.  This brings me to two very simple questions:
1. Will the SEC be awarding a bounty regarding the Mozilo Case?
2. How much and to whom will the bounty be paid?
I left a voicemail regarding this matter at the SEC public affairs phone number, (202) 551-4120.
Please reply promptly,
Mark McHugh

Easy questions, don’t you think?

Now for Kevin’s email:

To Kevin Callahan (

Dear Kevin,
I am writing you to clarify what was said during our phone conversation at 11:00 am 10/21/2010.  The points I want to clarify are:
1. The PUBLIC AFFAIRS office of the SEC knows of no bounty awards, or intention of awards regarding the Mozilo case at this point. Is that true or false?


2. The PUBLIC AFFAIRS office is unable to identify the person or department who would definitively know the status of any award regarding the case. (True or False).  If false, please identify the person I need to contact regardeing[sic] the Mozilo case.
3.You were unable to describe the process the process the SEC uses in investigating an insider trading bounty case on the telephone.  Would you care to take another shot at that?  Because one gets the impression that the SEC disregards any and all complaints.  Please respond.
4. I want to know that my application for bounty was recieved and filed with the SEC.  Who can I speak to regarding this?

5. Can you provide links to recent SEC bounty awards?

I consider these to be very simple questions and will expect a swift reply.
Thank you,
Mark McHugh


10/22 Update:   I should know better than to expect a swift response from the SEC.  Kevin Callahan, who gave me his word that he would respond personally to my written questions in writing, has decided to hide under his desk instead.  After a little reminder email from me, he sent this:

 Mark – John Nester and I forwarded your name and e-mail address to an investor assistance specialist to contact you. Take care, -Kevin

Investor Assistance Specialist?  Really?   Isn’t this kind of like having someone say “You need a tailor”  when you’re shopping for shoes?  Notice that Kevin failed to identify the “specialist.” 

Do I have to tell you that Mr. Specialist hasn’t contacted me yet?

I’ll keep you posted….