In December of 2008 it was discovered that Bernie Madoff may have perpetrated a scheme that defrauded investors of as much as $50B USD. With a fraud so large, the scandal cut across a wide range of social classes, from the financial aristocracy to the merely comfortable. One of the many questions asked was "how could such a large fraud have escaped detection for so long?" It turns out that people had been trying to blow the whistle on Bernie Madoff for 10 years, but such whistle-blowing fell on deaf ears, perhaps because the regulators were simply too impressed with Madoff's self-described success to do their jobs effectively.
In the wake of that embarrassment, regulators decided they might as well follow up on tips of another fraud that had been reported since at least 1999.