SEC to crooks: We’ll still (sort of) be minding the store

April 9, 2011, 12:11 AM UTC

The federal government is just hours from turning out the lights, and the Securities and Exchange Commission is no exception.

In the event of a shutdown, the SEC says that it will “have only an extremely limited number of staff members available to respond to emergency situations involving the safety of human life or the protection of property, including law enforcement.

I also have no idea about the circumstances in which the SEC would be involved in securing human life. Maybe this simply means the employee fire marshals at 100 F Street will be asked to keep coming in. Or perhaps there’s something obvious I’m missing, like that Seinfeld episode in which Jerry mocked the dermatologist’s claim to having saved lives (“Skin cancer! Damn.”).

But I digress…

The SEC also addresses the issue of investor fraud:

The Division of Enforcement will have only a limited number of staff on duty to perform critical functions. However, staff will attempt to respond to certain critical matters, including allegations of ongoing fraud and misconduct. If you need to report a possible securities violation during the shutdown, please utilize the Tips, Complaints, and Referrals website and your submission will be reviewed for appropriate action.

In other words: We’ll try to help, but can’t make any promises. Perhaps the takeaway for crooks is that someone will be minding the store, but might not notice if you take items small enough to fit in your pockets…