Critics of financial regulatory agencies such as the Securites and Exchange Commission say they have not acted diligently in investigating scams like Enron. Some victims of Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme, the largest in history, blame the S.E.C. for having a blind eye to years of shady dealings. Many say the agencies do not have enough funding and power to regulate all malfeasance.
Mayo, at least, argues that companies should not be allowed to settle charges by the S.E.C. so easily, which he equates to just a slap on the wrist without admitting wrongdoing.
He applauded the dismissal this week by a judge in New York of a $285 million S.E.C. settlement with Citigroup over toxic mortgage securities. U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff criticized regulators for hiding details from the public of Citigroup's alleged bets against mortgage investments in 2007, which led to investor losses.
Mayo said the dismissal was validation that settlements are not a deterrent to future wrongdoing.
"It's certainly a milestone but the problem is much bigger than any one decision by a judge about the S.E.C.," Mayo said about the judge's dismissal.