Sunday, December 21, 2008

He Made Off

I can't get enough of the Bernie Madoff story. He's the financier who somehow swindled hundreds (thousands?) of very rich investors by an elaborate Ponzi scheme. There are so many angles to follow. His own sons turned him in (or have they been acting along with him?). Luminaries in sports, entertainment, and academics have been damaged in the wake of his scheme. And on top of these is the most important angle of them all: where's the money?

While the simple answer is that the money's "gone", one lawyer says "there are funds to be found and captured." My wife says that people at the beginning of the scheme get paid first, but I think she's confusing Madoff's "fund" with a pyramid scheme.

Part of me revels with schadenfreude. Madoff's funds are not for "ordinary investors" (i.e. you've got to be "connected", or "introduced" to the fund), certainly not for people like me. There's a feeling of people being taken down a notch or two that's grimly amusing to me.

Another small part of me is thinking "I'm not caught up in this, am I?" Madoff's funds relied on "feeder funds", and who's to say that my money hasn't been bundled up with other people's money to be fed into Madoff's scheme. Maybe I'm being paranoid. Or not.

Forensic accountants say it will be months before the full extent of the fraud can be known. With every new prominent victim that's announced, the story becomes more and more compelling. How did Madoff get away with this? And even though he got caught (he confessed to it, actually), how did Madoff run this ruse for as long as he did? I'm waiting for the answers.

No comments:

Post a Comment