The SEC's new $21 million "Tips, Complaints, and Referrals"
(TCR) Database recently made headlines for its role in a complaint filed
against several China Voice executives accused of defrauding investors
out of $8.6 million in a
Ponzi scheme. (See Reuters: "EXCLUSIVE - SEC builds new tips machine to catch the next Madoff.")
As reported by Reuters, the SEC had been investigating China Voice Holding
Corp., a small telecom firm, for more than three years, but had been unable
to build a solid case against the company. Last November, a single phone
call routed through an initial version of the TCR Database enabled the
Commission to file a suit against the China Voice executives within five months.
The Database is widely viewed as the SEC's response to accusations
that the Commission flubbed its role in the investigation of the catastrophic
fraud perpetrated by Bernie Madoff. As reported in the article, the SEC
received early tips about the investment scheme, but mismanaged the information.
Now, SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro hopes the TCR Database will help redeem
the Commission's reputation. The Database is designed to allow approximately
2,300 SEC employees to view and add to a tip or complaint once it has
been entered into the system.
A "key tool" in enforcing securities violations, the official
version of the TCR Database was launched in March. So far, whistleblowers
and investor advocates are pleased with the streamlined process. Most
tipsters who have submitted tips under the new process report that they
received a call back from an SEC attorney within a few days, sometimes sooner.
For more information, read the Reuters article