Bernard Madoff
Born Bernard Lawrence Madoff April 29, 1938 (1938-04-29) (age 73)Queens, New York, US
Charge(s) Securities fraud, investment advisor fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, false statements, perjury, making false filings with the SEC, theft from an employee benefit plan
Penalty 150 years imprisonment and forfeiture of $17.179 billion
Status Incarcerated at Butner Federal Correctional Institution;[1][2]Federal Bureau of Prisons Register #61727-054; scheduled date of release: 11-14-2139
Occupation Former stock broker, financial adviser, and Chairman of NASDAQ
Spouse Ruth (1959–present)
Parents Ralph (deceased) Sylvia (deceased)
Children Mark (ca. 1964–2010) Andrew (b. 1966)

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Bernard Madoff

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US Department of Justice photograph, 2008

Bernard Lawrence "Bernie" Madoff (pronounced ; born April 29, 1938) is an American former stock broker, investment advisor, non-executive chairman of the NASDAQ stock market, and the admitted operator of what has been described as the largest Ponzi scheme in history.In March 2009, Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 federal felonies and admitted to turning his wealth management business into a massive Ponzi scheme that defrauded thousands of investors of billions of dollars. Madoff said he began the Ponzi scheme in the early 1990s. However, federal investigators believe the fraud began as early as the 1970s, and those charged with recovering the missing money believe the investment operation may never have been legitimate. The amount missing from client accounts, including fabricated gains, was almost $65 billion. The court-appointed trustee estimated actual losses to investors of $18 billion. On June 29, 2009, he was sentenced to 150 years in prison, the maximum allowed.Jeffry Picower, rather than Madoff, appears to have been the largest beneficiary of Madoff's Ponzi scheme, and his estate settled the claims against it for $7.2 billion.J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. may have also benefitted from the scheme – through interest and fees charged – to the tune of a billion dollars. Trustee Irving Picard has filed suit seeking the return of $1 billion and damages of $5.4 billion. Morgan denied complicity. According to the same lawsuit, New York Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz and associated individuals and firms, received $300 million from the scheme. Wilpon and Katz "categorically reject" the charges.Madoff founded the Wall Street firm Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC in 1960, and was its chairman until his arrest on December 11, 2008. The firm was one of the top market maker businesses on Wall Street, which bypassed "specialist" firms by directly executing orders over the counter from retail brokers.On December 10, 2008, Madoff's sons told authorities that their father had confessed to them that the asset management unit of his firm was a massive Ponzi scheme, and quoted him as describing it as "one big lie." The following day, FBI agents arrested Madoff and charged him with one count of securities fraud. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had previously conducted investigations into Madoff's business practices, but did not uncover the massive fraud.

Early life

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Madoff was born on April 29, 1938 in Queens, New York City, New York. He is the son of Sylvia (née Muntner) (December 1911 – December 1974), a homemaker, and Ralph Madoff (June 1910 – July 1972), a plumber and stockbroker. Madoff's grandparents were Jewish emigrants from Poland, Romania and Austria. He is the second of three children; his siblings are Sondra (Weiner) and Peter. Madoff graduated from Far Rockaway High School in 1956. He attended the University of Alabama for one year, where he became a brother of the Tau Chapter of the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity, then transferred to and graduated from Hofstra University in 1960 with a B.A. in political science. Madoff briefly attended Brooklyn Law School, but founded the Wall Street firm Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC and remained working for his own company.

Career

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Madoff was chairman of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC from its startup in 1960 until his arrest on December 11, 2008.

The firm started as a penny stock trader with $5,000 ($37,000 in current dollar terms) that Madoff earned from working as a lifeguard and sprinkler installer. He further secured a loan of $50,000 from his father-in-law which he also used to set up Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC. His business grew with the assistance of his father-in-law, accountant Saul Alpern, who referred a circle of friends and their families. Initially, the firm made markets (quoted bid and ask prices) via the National Quotation Bureau's Pink Sheets. In order to compete with firms that were members of the New York Stock Exchange trading on the stock exchange's floor, his firm began using innovative computer information technology to disseminate its quotes. After a trial run, the technology that the firm helped develop became the NASDAQ.

The firm functioned as a third-market provider, which bypassed exchange specialist firms, by directly executing orders over the counter from retail brokers. At one point, Madoff Securities was the largest market maker at the NASDAQ and in 2008 was the sixth largest market maker on Wall Street. The firm also had an investment management and advisory division, which it did not publicize, that was the focus of the fraud investigation.

Madoff was "the first prominent practitioner" of payment for order flow, in which a dealer pays a broker for the right to execute a customer's order. This has been called a "legal kickback." Some academics have questioned the ethics of these payments. Madoff has argued that these payments did not alter the price that the customer received. He viewed the payments as a normal business practice: "If your girlfriend goes to buy stockings at a supermarket, the racks that display those stockings are usually paid for by the company that manufactured the stockings. Order flow is an issue that attracted a lot of attention but is grossly overrated."

Madoff was active in the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD), a self-regulatory securities industry organization and has served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors and on the Board of Governors of the NASD.

Government access

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Since 1991, Madoff and his wife have contributed about $240,000 to federal candidates, parties and committees, including $25,000 a year from 2005 through 2008 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. The Committee has returned $100,000 of the Madoffs' contributions to Irving Picard, the bankruptcy trustee who oversees all claims. Senator Charles E. Schumer returned almost $30,000 received from Madoff and his relatives to the trustee, and Senator Christopher J. Dodd donated $1,500 to the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, a Madoff victim.

The Madoff family gained access to Washington's lawmakers and regulators through the industry's top trade group. The Madoff family has long-standing, high-level ties to the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), the primary securities industry organization. Bernard Madoff sat on the Board of Directors of the Securities Industry Association, which merged with the Bond Market Association in 2006 to form SIFMA.

Madoff's brother Peter then served two terms as a member of SIFMA's Board of Directors. He stepped down from the Board of Directors of SIFMA in December 2008, as news of the Ponzi scheme broke. From 2000 to 2008 the two Madoff brothers gave $56,000 to SIFMA, and tens of thousands of dollars more to sponsor SIFMA industry meetings. Bernard Madoff's niece Shana Madoff was active on the Executive Committee of SIFMA's Compliance & Legal Division, but resigned her SIFMA position shortly after her uncle's arrest.

In 2004 Genevievette Walker-Lightfoot, a lawyer in the SEC's Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, informed her supervisor branch chief Mark Donohue that her review of Madoff found numerous inconsistencies and recommended further questioning. However, because of agency pressure to investigate the mutual fund industry, she had to conclude work on the probe. Donohue's boss, Eric Swanson, an assistant director of the department, married Shana Madoff, after the investigation concluded in 2005. A spokesman for Swanson, who has left the SEC, said he "did not participate in any inquiry of Bernard Madoff Securities or its affiliates while involved in a relationship" with Shana Madoff.

While awaiting sentencing, Madoff met with the SEC's Inspector General, H. David Kotz, who is conducting an investigation into how regulators failed to detect the fraud despite numerous red flags. Madoff said he could have been caught in 2003, but bumbling investigators acted like "Lt. Colombo" and never asked the right questions.

"I was astonished. They never even looked at my stock records. If investigators had checked with the Depository Trust Company, a central securities depository, it would've been easy for them to see. If you're looking at a Ponzi scheme, it's the first thing you do." Madoff said in the June 17, 2009, interview that SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro was a "dear friend," and SEC Commissioner Elisse Walter was a "terrific lady" whom he knew "pretty well."

Since Madoff's arrest, the SEC has been criticized for its lack of financial expertise and lack of due diligence, despite having received complaints from Harry Markopolos and others for almost a decade. The SEC's Inspector General, H. David Kotz, found that since 1992, there were six botched investigations of Madoff by the SEC, either through incompetent staff work or neglecting allegations of financial experts and whistle-blowers. At least some of the SEC investigators doubted whether Madoff was even trading.

Investment scandal

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Concerns about Madoff's business surfaced as early as 1999, when financial analyst Harry Markopolos informed the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that he believed it was legally and mathematically impossible to achieve the gains Madoff claimed to deliver. According to Markopolos, he knew within five minutes that Madoff's numbers didn't add up, and it took four hours of failed attempts to replicate them to conclude Madoff was a fraud. He was ignored by the Boston SEC in 2000 and 2001, as well as by Meaghan Cheung at the New York SEC in 2005 and 2007 when he presented further evidence. He has since published a book, No One Would Listen, about the frustrating efforts he and his team made over a ten-year period to alert the government, the industry, and the press about the Madoff fraud.

Although Madoff's wealth management business ultimately grew into a multi-billion-dollar operation, none of the major derivatives firms traded with him because they didn't think his numbers were real. None of the major Wall Street firms invested with him either, and several high-ranking executives at those firms suspected he wasn't legitimate.

Others also contended it was inconceivable that the growing volume of Madoff accounts could be competently and legitimately serviced by his documented accounting/auditing firm, a three-person firm with only one active accountant.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation complaint says that during the first week of December 2008, Madoff confided to a senior employee, identified by Bloomberg News as one of his sons, that he said he was struggling to meet $7 billion in redemptions. According to the sons, Madoff told Mark Madoff on December 9 that he planned to pay out $173 million in bonuses two months early. Madoff said that "he had recently made profits through business operations, and that now was a good time to distribute it." Mark told Andrew Madoff, and the next morning They went to their father's apartment and asked him how he could pay bonuses to his staff if he was having trouble paying clients. With Ruth Madoff nearby, Madoff told them he was "finished," that he had "absolutely nothing" left, that his investment fund was "just one big lie" and "basically, a giant Ponzi scheme". According to their attorney, Madoff's sons then reported their father to federal authorities. On December 11, 2008, he was arrested and charged with securities fraud.

Madoff posted $10 million bail in December 2008 and remained under 24-hour monitoring and house arrest in his Upper East Side penthouse apartment until March 12, 2009, when Judge Denny Chin revoked his bail and remanded him to the Metropolitan Correctional Center. Chin claimed Madoff was a flight risk, because of his age, wealth, and the prospect of spending the rest of his life in prison. Prosecutors filed two asset forfeiture pleadings which include lists of valuable real and personal property as well as financial interests and entities.

Madoff's lawyer, Ira Sorkin, filed an appeal, and prosecutors responded with a notice of opposition. On March 20, 2009, an appellate court denied Madoff's request to be released from jail and returned to home confinement until his June 29, 2009, sentencing. On June 22, 2009, Sorkin hand-delivered a customary pre-sentencing letter to the judge requesting a sentence of 12 years, because of tables cited from the Social Security Administration that his life span is predicted to be 13 years.

On June 26, 2009, Chin ordered Madoff to forfeit $170 million in assets. Prosecutors asked Chin to sentence Madoff to the maximum 150 years in prison. Irving Picard indicated that "Mr. Madoff has not provided meaningful cooperation or assistance."

In settlement with federal prosecutors, Madoff's wife Ruth agreed to forfeit her claim to US$85 million in assets, leaving her with $2.5 million in cash. The order allowed the SEC and Court appointed trustee Irving Picard to pursue Ruth Madoff's funds.Massachusetts regulators also accused her of withdrawing $15 million from company-related accounts shortly before he confessed.

In February 2009, Madoff reached an agreement with the SEC, banning him from the securities industry for life.

Picard has sued Madoff's sons, Mark and Andrew, his brother Peter, and Peter's daughter, Shana, for negligence and breach of fiduciary duty, for $198 million. The defendants had received over $80 million in compensation since 2001 and "used the bank account at BLMIS like a personal piggy bank." The trustee believes they knew about the fraud because of their personal investments in the scheme, the longevity of the fraud, and because of their work at the company including roles as corporate and compliance officers. Since 1995, Peter Madoff had invested only $32,146, but withdrew over $16 million. Mark and Andrew Madoff withdrew more than $35 million from a small original investment. Picards asserts Mark Madoff conspired with his father to hide $25 million in unknown Swiss accounts.

Mechanics of the fraud
According to the Securities and Exchange Commission indictment against Annette Bongiorno and Joann Crupi, two back office workers who worked for Madoff, they created false trading reports based on the returns that Madoff ordered for each customer. For example, once Madoff determined a customer's return, one of the back office workers would enter a false trade from a previous date and then enter a false closing trade in the amount of the required profit, according to the indictment. Prosecutors allege that Bongiorno used a computer program specially designed to backdate trades and manipulate account statements. They quote her as writing to a manager in the early 1990s "I need the ability to give any settlement date I want." In some cases returns were allegedly determined before the account was even opened.

Madoff admitted during his March 2009 guilty plea that the essence of his scheme was to deposit client money into a Chase account, rather than invest it and generate steady returns as clients had believed. When clients wanted their money, "I used the money in the Chase Manhattan bank account that belonged to them or other clients to pay the requested funds," he told the court.

Affinity fraud
Affected institutions include Kentucky University, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, the Elie Wiesel Foundation and Steven Spielberg's Wunderkinder Foundation. Jewish federations and hospitals have lost millions of dollars, forcing some organizations to close. The Lappin Foundation, for instance, was temporarily forced to halt operations because it had invested its entire $8 million endowment with Madoff. Affected institutions also include Stony Brook University Foundation and the James Harris Simons family foundation.

Size of loss to investors
David Sheehan, chief counsel to trustee Picard, stated on September 27, 2009, that about $36 billion was invested into the scam, returning $18 billion to investors, with $18 billion missing. About half of Madoff's investors were "net winners," earning more than their investment. The withdrawal amounts in the final six years were subject to "clawback" (return of money) lawsuits.

In a May 4, 2011 statement, trustee Picard said that the total fictitious amounts owed to customers (with some adjustments) were $57 billion, of which $17.3 billion was actually invested by the customers. $7.6 billion has been recovered, but pending lawsuits, only $2.6 billion is available to repay victims. If all the recovered funds are returned to victims, their net loss would be just under $10 billion.

The size of the fraud was often stated as $65 billion early in the investigation, but former SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt estimated the actual net fraud to be between $10 and $17 billion.Erin Arvedlund, who publicly questioned Madoff's reported investment performance in 2001, stated that the actual amount of the fraud might never be known, but was likely between $12 and $20 billion.

Plea, sentencing, and prison life

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On March 12, 2009, Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 federal felonies, including securities fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering, making false statements, perjury, theft from an employee benefit plan, and making false filings with the SEC. The plea was the response to a criminal complaint filed two days earlier, which stated that over the past 20 years, Madoff had defrauded his clients of almost $65 billion in the largest Ponzi scheme in history. Madoff insisted he was solely responsible for the fraud. Madoff did not plea bargain with the government. Rather, he pleaded guilty to all charges. It has been speculated that Madoff pleaded guilty because he refused to cooperate with the authorities in order to avoid naming any associates and conspirators who were involved with him in the Ponzi scheme.

On November 3, 2009, David Friehling, Madoff's accounting front man pleaded guilty to securities fraud, investment adviser fraud, making false filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission, and obstructing the IRS. Madoff's right hand man, Frank DiPascali pleaded guilty in August, 2009, and is awaiting bail.

In his plea allocution, Madoff stated he began his Ponzi scheme in 1991. He admitted he had never made any legitimate investments with his clients' money during this time. Instead, he said, he simply deposited the money into his personal business account at Chase Manhattan Bank. When his customers asked for withdrawals, he paid them out of the Chase account—a classic "robbing Peter to pay Paul" scenario. Chase and its successor, JPMorgan Chase, may have earned as much as $483 million from his bank account. He was committed to satisfying his clients' expectations of high returns, despite an economic recession. He admitted to false trading activities masked by foreign transfers and false SEC filings. He stated that he always intended to resume legitimate trading activity, but it proved "difficult, and ultimately impossible" to reconcile his client accounts. In the end, Madoff said, he realized that his scam would eventually be exposed.

On June 29, 2009, Chin sentenced Madoff to the maximum sentence of 150 years in federal prison. Madoff's lawyers originally asked the judge to impose a sentence of 7 years because of Madoff's old age.

Madoff apologized to his victims, saying, "I have left a legacy of shame, as some of my victims have pointed out, to my family and my grandchildren. This is something I will live in for the rest of my life. I'm sorry." He added, "I know that doesn't help you," after his victims recommended to the judge that he receive a life sentence. Chin had not received any mitigating letters from friends or family testifying to Madoff's good deeds. "The absence of such support is telling," he said.

Chin also said that Madoff had not been forthcoming about his crimes. "I have a sense Mr. Madoff has not done all that he could do or told all that he knows," said Chin, calling the fraud "extraordinarily evil," "unprecedented" and "staggering," and that the sentence would deter others from committing similar frauds. Chin also agreed with prosecutors' contention that the fraud began at some point in the 1980s. He also noted that Madoff's crimes were "off the charts" since federal sentencing guidelines for fraud only go up to $400 million in losses.

Ruth did not attend court but issued a statement, saying "I am breaking my silence now because my reluctance to speak has been interpreted as indifference or lack of sympathy for the victims of my husband Bernie's crime, which is exactly the opposite of the truth. I am embarrassed and ashamed. Like everyone else, I feel betrayed and confused. The man who committed this horrible fraud is not the man whom I have known for all these years."

Incarceration


Madoff's attorney asked the judge to recommend that the Federal Bureau of Prisons place Madoff in the Federal Correctional Institution, Otisville, which is located 70 miles (110 km) from Manhattan. The judge, however, only recommended that Madoff be sent to a facility in the Northeast United States. Madoff was transferred to the Federal Correctional Institution Butner Medium near Butner, North Carolina, about 45 miles (72 km) northwest of Raleigh; he is Bureau of Prisons Register #61727-054. Jeff Gammage of the Philadelphia Inquirer said "Madoff's heavy sentence likely determined his fate."

Madoff's projected release date is November 14, 2139. The release date, described as "academic" in Madoff's case, reflects a reduction for good behavior. On October 13, 2009, it was reported that Madoff experienced his first prison yard fight with another senior citizen inmate. When he began his sentence, Madoff's stress levels were so severe that he broke out in hives and other skin maladies soon after.

On December 18, 2009, Madoff was moved to Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, and was treated for several facial injuries. A former inmate later claimed that the injuries were received during an alleged altercation with another inmate. Other news reports described Madoff's injuries as more serious and including "facial fractures, broken ribs, and a collapsed lung". The Federal Bureau of Prisons said Madoff signed an affidavit on December 24, 2009, which indicated that he had not been assaulted and that he had been admitted to the hospital for hypertension.

Personal life

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On November 28, 1959, Madoff married Ruth Alpern (born May 18, 1941), who he had met while attending Far Rockaway High School. The two eventually began dating. Alpern graduated high school in advance and earned her bachelor's degree at Queens College, she was employed at the stock market in Manhattan before working in Madoff's firm, and she founded the Madoff Charitable Foundation. The Madoffs had two sons: Mark (born March 11, 1964), a 1986 graduate of the University of Michigan, and Andrew (born April 8, 1966), a 1988 graduate of Wharton University. Both later worked in the trading section alongside paternal cousin Charles Weiner. Several family members worked for Madoff. His younger brother, Peter, an attorney, was Senior Managing Director and Chief Compliance Officer, and Peter's daughter, Shana, also an attorney, was the compliance attorney. On the morning of December 11, 2010—exactly two years after Bernard's arrest—his son Mark was found dead in his New York City apartment. The city medical examiner ruled the cause of death as suicide by hanging.

Mark Madoff owed his parents $22 million, and Andrew Madoff owes $9.5 million. There were two loans in 2008 from Bernard Madoff to Andrew Madoff: $4.3 million on October 6, and $250,000 on September 21. Andrew owns a Manhattan apartment and a home in Greenwich, Connecticut, as did Mark prior to his death by apparent suicide on the second anniversary of his father's arrest. Following a divorce from his first wife in 2000, Mark withdrew money from an account. Both sons used outside investment firms to run their own private philanthropic foundations. In March 2003, Andrew was diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma and eventually returned to work. He became chairman of the Lymphoma Research Foundation in January 2008, but resigned shortly after his father's arrest.

Peter and Andrew Madoff remain the targets of a tax fraud investigation by federal prosecutors, according to The Wall Street Journal. David Friehling, Bernard Madoff's tax accountant, who pleaded guilty in a related case, is reportedly assisting the investigation. According to a civil lawsuit filed in October 2009, trustee Irving Picard alleges that Peter Madoff deposited $32,146 into his Madoff accounts and withdrew over $16 million; Andrew deposited almost $1 million into his accounts and withdrew $17 million; Mark deposited $745,482 and withdrew $18.1 million.

Madoff lived in Roslyn, New York, in a ranch house through the 1970s and after 1980 owned an ocean-front residence in Montauk. His primary residence was on Manhattan's Upper East Side, and he was listed as chairman of the building's co-op board. He also owned a home in France and a mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, where he was a member of the Palm Beach Country Club. Madoff owned a 55-foot (17 m) sportfishing yacht named Bull. All three homes were auctioned by the U.S. Marshals Service in September 2009.

Sheryl Weinstein, former chief financial officer of Hadassah, disclosed in a book written to recoup her investment losses that she and Madoff had an affair more than 20 years ago. As of 1997, when Weinstein left, Hadassah had invested a total of $40 million. By the end of 2008, Hadassah had withdrawn $140 million from an account valued at $90 million. At the victim impact sentencing hearing, Weinstein testified, calling him a "beast".

According to a March 13, 2009, filing by Madoff, he and his wife were worth up to $126 million, plus an estimated $700 million for the value of his business interest in Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC. Other major assets included securities ($45 million), cash ($17 million), half-interest in BLM Air Charter ($12 million), a 2006 Leopard yacht ($7 million), jewelry ($2.6 million), Manhattan apartment ($7 million), Montauk home ($3 million), Palm Beach home ($11 million), Cap d' Antibes, France property ($1 million), and furniture, household goods, and art ($9.9 million).

Philanthropy and other activities

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Madoff was a prominent philanthropist, who served on boards of nonprofit institutions—many of which entrusted his firm with their endowments. The collapse and freeze of his personal assets and those of his firm affected businesses, charities, and foundations around the world, including the Chais Family Foundation, the Robert I. Lappin Charitable Foundation, the Picower Foundation, and the JEHT Foundation which were forced to close. Madoff donated approximately $6 million to lymphoma research after his son Andrew was diagnosed with the disease. He and his wife gave over $230,000 to political causes since 1991, with the bulk going to the Democratic Party.

Madoff served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Sy Syms School of Business at Yeshiva University, and as Treasurer of its Board of Trustees. He resigned his position at Yeshiva University after his arrest. Madoff also served on the Board of New York City Center, a member of New York City's Cultural Institutions Group (CIG). He served on the executive council of the Wall Street division of the UJA Foundation of New York which declined to invest funds with him because of the conflict of interest.

Madoff undertook charity work for the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation and made philanthropic gifts through The Madoff Family Foundation, a $19 million private foundation, which he managed along with his wife. They donated money to hospitals and theaters. The foundation has also contributed to many educational, cultural, and health charities, including those later forced to close because of Madoff's fraud. After Madoff's arrest, the assets of the Madoff Family Foundation were frozen by a federal court.

In the media

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HBO is making a movie about Madoff and actor Robert De Niro is set to star.

See also

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  • Affinity fraud
  • FBI
  • Financial crisis of 2007–2010
  • K1 fund, a German ponzi-scheme
  • Participants in the Madoff investment scandal?
  • Ponzi scheme
  • Recovery of funds from the Madoff investment scandal?
  • White-collar crime
  • Michael Sabo


Some of the content on this page has been provided by the following page on Wikipedia.org: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Madoff


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