February 4th, 2009 13:56 EST
Markopolos made every effort to sound alarm
The man who repeatedly tried to warn officials about what might be the largest fraud in U.S. history says the country`s financial regulatory system needs a complete overhaul.
Harry Markopolos told a congressional hearing Wednesday he contacted regulators several times over a nine-year period about financier Bernard Madoff to no avail.
Madoff ran an investment firm that appeared to reap consistently high returns when others did not. He has been arrested in connection with an alleged fraud that may cost investors $50 billion.
Markopolos says employees at the Securities and Exchange Commission did not understand the complex nature of the financial instruments Madoff was using, and did not bother to ask questions.
He suggests consolidating the many U.S. agencies that regulate financial markets, and paying higher salaries to attract the top talent needed to oversee complex investments.
Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.