February 6, 2009 / 12:18 PM / 10 years ago

SEC searching to replace enforcement chief- NYPost

NEW YORK, Feb 6 (Reuters) - The newly-installed chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Mary Schapiro is searching to replace Linda Thomsen, the agency’s embattled enforcement chief, the New York Post said, citing people familiar with the situation.

Schapiro is actively scanning profiles of professionals in various offices of the U.S. attorney, who litigate cases on behalf of the U.S. government under the direction of the attorney general the newspaper said, citing sources.

As the head of the unit responsible for ferreting out securities fraud, Thomsen was at the center of the fierce criticism leveled by lawmakers at the SEC this week over the Bernard Madoff scandal.

Critics charge Thomsen and her team ignored obvious red flags and repeated warnings from whistle-blower Harry Markopolos, whose congressional testimony Wednesday portrayed the SEC as a vastly incompetent outfit.

Harry Markopolos, a former investment manager who tried to warn U.S. regulators about accused swindler Madoff, told a congressional hearing on Wednesday that SEC staff were neither willing nor able to uncover Madoff. [ID:nN04276274]

An SEC spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment when contacted by Reuters. SEC spokesman Kevin Callahan declined to comment to the New York Post on behalf of either Schapiro or Thomsen. (Reporting by Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay in Bangalore; Editing by Derek Caney)

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