Rise and fall of America’s biggest Ponzi conman Bernie Madoff

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Bernie Madoff, the person behind the most important and most devastating Ponzi scheme in historical past that robbed tens of hundreds of victims worldwide of $65 billion, went from a high-flying Wall Road financier to dwelling out his dying days in a North Carolina jail.

For many years, Madoff – a former chairman of the Nasdaq inventory market – loved a picture as a self-made monetary guru whose success defied market fluctuations. He attracted a loyal legion of funding shoppers from Florida retirees to the wealthy and well-known together with director Steven Spielberg, actor Kevin Bacon and former New York Mets proprietor Fred Wilpon. 

But it surely all got here crashing down in 2008 after his funding advisory enterprise was uncovered as a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme that eradicated individuals’s fortunes – each wealthy and poor – and destroyed charities and foundations worldwide.

Madoff grew to become so hated he needed to put on a bulletproof vest to court docket after admitting to his crimes. 

His demise on Wednesday, whereas serving a 150 yr jail sentence at Butner Federal Correctional Complicated, brings an finish to his scandal-plagued life that noticed a really steep rise and tragic fall. 

The epic downfall from his monetary fraud not solely destroyed the lives of his 37,000 victims but additionally that of his circle of relatives, together with his two sons who ended up turning their father over to the authorities. 

For many years, Bernie Madoff – a former chairman of the Nasdaq inventory market – loved a picture as a self-made monetary guru whose success defied market fluctuations. But it surely all got here crashing down in 2008 after his funding advisory enterprise was uncovered as a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme that eradicated individuals’s fortunes – each wealthy and poor

Considered one of his sons, Mark, killed himself on the second anniversary of his father’s arrest in 2010. Madoff’s different son, Andrew, died from most cancers at age 48. His spouse Ruth continues to be alive and has since vanished to Greenwich, Connecticut.

Madoff, who was born in 1938 in a lower-middle-class Jewish neighborhood in Queens, New York, grew to become a legend within the monetary world concerning the story of his rise to prominence. 

He and his brother Peter set off for Wall Road in 1960 with a number of thousand {dollars} saved from working as a lifeguard and putting in sprinklers.  

Within the Eighties, Bernard L. Madoff Funding Securities occupied three flooring of a midtown Manhattan high-rise. 

There, together with his brother and later two sons, he ran a authentic enterprise as middlemen between the patrons and sellers of inventory. 

Madoff raised his profile by utilizing the experience to assist launch Nasdaq, the primary digital inventory alternate, and have become so revered that he suggested the Securities and Change Fee on the system. 

However what the SEC by no means came upon was that behind the scenes, in a separate workplace saved underneath lock and key, Madoff was secretly spinning an online of phantom wealth by utilizing money from new traders to pay returns to outdated ones. 

Authorities say that through the years, a minimum of $13 billion was invested with Madoff. An outdated IBM laptop cranked out month-to-month statements exhibiting regular double-digit returns, even throughout market downturns. 

As of late 2008, earlier than his arrest, the statements claimed investor accounts totaled $65 billion. 

The ugly reality: No securities had been ever purchased or bought. 

VICTIM: Kevin Bacon

VICTIM: Steven Spielberg

He attracted a loyal legion of funding shoppers from Florida retirees to the wealthy and well-known together with director Steven Spielberg (proper), actor Kevin Bacon (left) and former New York Mets proprietor Fred Wilpon

VICTIM: Former New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon

VICTIM: Nobel Peace Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel

Amongst his victims was Nobel Peace Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel (proper) and former New York Mets proprietor Fred Wilpon (left)

His shoppers, who included celebrities like famed movie director Steven Spielberg, actor Kevin Bacon and Corridor of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax, stated they’d no thought.

Amongst them was Nobel Peace Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, who recalled assembly Madoff years earlier at a dinner the place they talked about historical past, training and Jewish philosophy – not cash.

Madoff ‘made an excellent impression,’ Wiesel stated throughout a 2009 panel dialogue on the scandal. Wiesel admitted that he purchased into ‘a fantasy that he created round him that every little thing was so particular, so distinctive, that it needed to be secret.’ 

Like lots of his shoppers, Madoff and his spouse loved a lavish way of life. 

That they had a $7 million Manhattan condominium, an $11 million property in Palm Seashore, Florida and a $4 million house on the tip of Lengthy Island. Additionally they had one other house within the south of France, personal jets and a yacht.

But it surely all got here crashing down within the winter of 2008 with a dramatic confession at Madoff’s Twelfth-floor condominium on the Higher East Aspect. 

In a gathering together with his sons, he confided that his enterprise was ‘all only one large lie’. 

They turned him within the following day. 

A lawyer for the household contacted regulators, who alerted the federal prosecutors and the FBI. 

Madoff was in a bathrobe when two FBI brokers arrived at his door unannounced on a December morning. He invited them in, then confessed after being requested ‘if there’s an harmless clarification,’ a prison criticism stated. 

Madoff responded: ‘There isn’t any harmless clarification.’ 

Like many of his clients, Madoff and his wife Ruth enjoyed a lavish lifestyle. They had a $7 million Manhattan apartment, an $11 million estate in Palm Beach, Florida and a $4 million home on the tip of Long Island. They also had another home in the south of France, private jets and a yacht

Like lots of his shoppers, Madoff and his spouse Ruth loved a lavish way of life. That they had a $7 million Manhattan condominium, an $11 million property in Palm Seashore, Florida and a $4 million house on the tip of Lengthy Island. Additionally they had one other house within the south of France, personal jets and a yacht

Madoff with his two sons, Mark (left) and Andrew (center) in 2001, in the Hamptons. Mark and Andrew both worked with their father. Mark killed himself on the second anniversary of Madoff's arrest in December 2010, while Andrew died of lymphoma in 2014

Madoff together with his two sons, Mark (left) and Andrew (heart) in 2001, within the Hamptons. Mark and Andrew each labored with their father. Mark killed himself on the second anniversary of Madoff’s arrest in December 2010, whereas Andrew died of lymphoma in 2014

As he had from the beginning, Madoff insisted in his plea that he acted alone – one thing the FBI by no means believed. 

As brokers scoured data for proof of a broader conspiracy and cultivated Madoff’s chief monetary officer, Frank DiPascali, as a cooperator, the scandal turned Madoff right into a pariah, evaporated life fortunes and worn out charities.

It additionally pushed some traders to commit suicide. 

New York hedge fund government Charles Murphy, whose fund misplaced $50 million in Madoff’s scheme, jumped from the twenty fourth ground of the Sofitel New York Resort in 2017. 

French financier Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet killed himself in Manhattan in 2008 after shedding greater than $1 billion within the Ponzi scheme.

A trustee was later appointed to get well funds from Madoff’s scheme – generally by suing hedge funds and different massive traders who got here out forward – and divvying up these proceeds to victims. 

The seek for Madoff’s property ‘has unearthed a labyrinth of interrelated worldwide funds, establishments and entities of virtually unparalleled complexity and breadth,’ the trustee, Irving Picard, stated in a 2009 report. 

The report stated the trustee has positioned property and companies ‘of curiosity’ in 11 locations: Nice Britain, Eire, France, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Spain, Gibraltar, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, the Bahamas. Greater than 15,400 claims in opposition to Madoff had been filed. 

Madoff pleaded responsible in March 2009 to securities fraud and different prices, saying he was ‘deeply sorry and ashamed.’

After a number of months dwelling underneath home arrest at his $7 million Manhattan penthouse condominium, he was led off to jail in handcuffs to scattered applause from indignant traders within the courtroom at his sentencing in June 2009.

‘He stole from the wealthy. He stole from the poor. He stole from the in between. He had no values,’ former investor Tom Fitzmaurice informed the decide on the sentencing. ‘He cheated his victims out of their cash so he and his spouse… may stay a lifetime of luxurious past perception.’ 

In the 1980s, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities occupied three floors of a midtown Manhattan high-rise. Madoff raised his profile by using the expertise to help launch Nasdaq, the first electronic stock exchange, and became so respected that he advised the Securities and Exchange Commission on the system

Within the Eighties, Bernard L. Madoff Funding Securities occupied three flooring of a midtown Manhattan high-rise. Madoff raised his profile by utilizing the experience to assist launch Nasdaq, the primary digital inventory alternate, and have become so revered that he suggested the Securities and Change Fee on the system

Through the listening to, wrathful former shoppers stood to demand the utmost punishment. Madoff himself spoke in a monotone for about 10 minutes. At varied occasions, he referred to his monumental fraud as a ‘downside,’ ‘an error of judgment’ and ‘a tragic mistake.’

He claimed he and his spouse had been tormented, saying she ‘cries herself to sleep each night time, figuring out all of the ache and struggling I’ve brought about.’

‘That is one thing I stay with, as properly,’ he stated.

Afterward, Ruth Madoff – usually a goal of victims’ scorn since her husband’s arrest – broke her silence that very same day by issuing an announcement claiming that she, too, had been misled by her highschool sweetheart.

‘I’m embarrassed and ashamed,’ she stated. ‘Like everybody else, I really feel betrayed and confused. The person who dedicated this horrible fraud isn’t the person whom I’ve recognized for all these years.’

A few dozen Madoff workers and associates had been charged within the federal case. 5 went on trial in late 2013 and watched DiPascali take the witness stand as the federal government´s star witness.

DiPascali recounted for jurors how simply earlier than the scheme was uncovered, Madoff referred to as him into his workplace.

‘He’d been staring out the window the all day,’ DiPascali testified. ‘He turned to me and he stated, crying, ‘I am on the finish of my rope… Do not you get it? The entire goddamn factor is a fraud.”

Along with the tens of hundreds of victims, the Madoff household additionally took a extreme monetary hit: A decide issued a $171 billion forfeiture order in June 2009 stripping Madoff of all his private property, together with actual property, investments, and $80 million in property his spouse, Ruth, had claimed had been hers. The order left her with $2.5 million.

The scandal additionally exacted a private toll on the household: His son Mark dedicated suicide in 2010, Madoff´s brother, Peter, who helped run the enterprise, was sentenced to 10 years in jail in 2012, regardless of claims he was at nighttime about his brother´s misdeeds.

Madoff’s different son, Andrew, died from most cancers at age 48.     



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