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U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Richard Wessel, District Administrator of the SEC's Atlanta District Office, to Retire


Washington, D.C., April 13, 2006 - The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that Richard Wessel, the District Administrator of the SEC's Atlanta District Office (ADO) for the past 19 years, intends to retire at the end of June.

"The ability of the SEC to enforce the securities laws and to protect investors derives from the dedicated efforts of people like Richard Wessel," said SEC Chairman Christopher Cox. "Rich has made a significant contribution to the work of the Commission during his 32 years of service as the District Administrator of the Atlanta District Office, as an Associate Director of the Division of Market Regulation and as a member of the Division of Enforcement in Washington, D.C. I know that the SEC staff and other members of the Commission join me in wishing him well in all of his future endeavors."

SEC Director of Enforcement Linda Thomsen stated, "Rich Wessel has had a long, varied and distinguished career at the SEC. For the past two decades, he has led our Atlanta Office and been instrumental in the growth and success of that Office. Throughout his tenure, the Atlanta staff has brought important enforcement cases that have made our markets safer for investors. We wish him all the very best."

SEC Director of the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations Lori Richards said, "The Atlanta District Office is responsible for carrying out the Commission's examination responsibilities for broker-dealers, investment advisers, investment companies and transfer agents in the Southeast. Rich Wessel has been dedicated to the Commission's mission to protect investors for more than 30 years. He brought an enormous amount of experience and capability to the job and, under his leadership, the Atlanta Office's examination program grew in size, and in the number of examinations conducted. His contributions will be lasting."

Wessel said, "It has been an honor and a privilege to have served the Commission and the investing public over the course of the past 32 years. I will be forever grateful to have had the opportunity of working with such an outstanding group of dedicated and talented individuals as those who have served as Commissioners and staff in the pursuit of the Commission's important mission."

Wessel joined the Commission in 1973 as an attorney in the Division of Enforcement where he served until 1983 in positions of increasing responsibility as a Special Counsel, Branch Chief and later as an Assistant Director. From 1983 until 1987, he served as an Associate Director in the Commission's Division of Market Regulation in charge of the rule making and interpretative functions of the Office of Chief Counsel and the Office of Trading Practices. Since 1987, Wessel has been the District Administrator of the SEC's Atlanta Office responsible for supervising the Commission's enforcement and regulated entity examination activities in seven Southeastern states.

During the course of his tenure, Wessel and the Atlanta staff have been successful in bringing a number of highly significant cases spanning a broad spectrum of violative conduct. Among such cases were those against Prudential Securities, Olde Discount and Dean Witter (broker-dealer sales practice abuses and failure to supervise); Health Care Centers of America, Inc., Professional Transportation Group, Inc., HealthSouth Corporation and Just for Feet Inc (corporate financial frauds); Coahoma County MS, Derryl Peden, and the City of Moorhead MS (municipal bond frauds); International Heritage, Inc., ETS Payphones and Mobile Billboards of America (fraudulent sales of investment contracts); International Management Associates (financial collapse of a hedge fund); as well as numerous other cases involving false performance advertising by investment advisers, insider trading, penny stock abuses, micro-cap fraud, market manipulation, internet fraud and misappropriation of client funds.

Wessel and the Atlanta staff also have maintained an effective examination program that both detected compliance deficiencies and led to their correction.

Wessel is a recipient of the Commission's Distinguished Service Award. He is a graduate of Oberlin College and obtained his law degree from Boston University School of Law.

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Modified: 04/13/2006