For about a year now, Bernie Madoff has been holding court with various members of the press about something that’s been plaguing him: the fact that few people if any are willing to give credit where credit is due. Yes, he may have pleaded guilty to a $50 billion crime that ruined countless people’s lives, including those of his wife and children, one of whom committed suicide as a result, but he did a lot of other stuff too, like run a “successful business” for which he won lots of “industry awards” during his “legitimate years.” And, yet, everyone seems to forget all that when his name comes up, much like they conveniently forgot about how Mussolini made the trains run or time, or how Hitler built those wonderful autobahns, or how Ted Bundy made women feel special. And since he’s serving a 150 year sentence, Berns has had lots of time to ponder why his years of legitimate achievements go unmentioned and the one thing he keeps coming back to? Irving Picard, who’s pulled a fast one on you all, by suggesting that Bernie’s crime started wayyyyy before it did, when, in fact, Madoff Securities was only running a Ponzi scheme for barely even 20 years. Examine the evidence Madoff shared with Forbes contributor Diana B. Henriques via email:
Jan. 17, 2011 11:05 A.M. … Also remember that the U.S. Attorney admitted that they had no evidence that the crime started in the 80’s and could establish that Montauk and the N.Y. homes in Ruth’s name were not purchased with tainted funds …
Mar. 10, 2011 7:35 A.M. … I would love to know what evidence [Picard] has to date my crime back to 1983 … THE FACT IS THAT THERE IS NONE.
8:05 A.M. … I say once again the fraud started in the 90’s …
Mar. 18, 2011 9:26 A.M. … I guess I’m obsessed with this START OF CRIME ISSUE.
Don’t you see, idiots of the media?! That’s the real issue here. Not the crime itself but the start of the crime. Do the math.
Oct. 11, 2011 7:20 A.M. … You can do a back of the envelope calculation as follows. From 1963 I made substantial arbitrage profits for the Picower, Shapiro and Chais families joined by the Levy family in 1970. [M]ost of these profits were reinvested and the amounts compounded. In 1970 Saul Alpern formed his partnerships later [run] by Avellino and Bienes. In 1980 I started trading for [French banker] Albert Igoin and his French and Swiss banking associates. All of these accounts averaged about 20% annually and were involved in various forms of convertible arb using bonds, pfds [preferreds], Rts. [rights] and units. [A]nd ALL WERE LEGITIMATE TRADING. THIS CONTINUED THRU THE EARLY 90’S.
Nov. 24, 2011 6:51 P.M. … When you look at my RIDDLE [in the Nov. 23 letter], consider the fact that there was in fact no crime until I did not have enough capital in the firm to cover the losses. There is your real STORY.
The interesting thing here is not that there was an 11-figure fraud, okay? The interesting thing is how long the 11-figure fraud went on. And it stinks to high hell that that slippery fuck Picard and Co. are claiming it dates back to 1983 when it was as recently as 1990 and that you’re all buying it, hook, line and sinker. Come on, people. They’re lawyers. Who are you gonna trust, them or a Ponzi schemer? But don’t feel sorry for Bernie. Feel sorry for yourselves, for what could have been and what never was.
Near the end of that e-mail the clouds of self-deception close in again, and Madoff turns himself into a pitiful martyr: “I made the tragic mistake of trying to change the way money was managed and was successful at the start, but lost my way after a while and refused to admit that I failed at one point.”
HE WAS TRYING TO CHANGE THE WAY MONEY WAS MANAGED! A legitimate way to make Ponzi scheme payments, before it was tragically snuffed out.
Oct. 11, 2011 7:36 A.M. … I will never get over the distortions being presented by everyone as to the poor and now homeless when in fact they all signed documents when opening their accounts that they were sophisticated and had enough wealth to withstand the possible losses of short term trading. I wish I had saved the hundreds of letters I received thanking me for how I was responsible for their happiness over the years and their pleading with me to keep their accounts open when I tried to close them … when I worried about the wreckage I might cause if I couldn’t recover.
You want to know the REAL STORY? The REAL STORY is that the investor agreements specifically authorized BLMIS to make Ponzi scheme payments (which Bernie was trying to get the industry to view as a totally legitimate type of securities transaction, a short term trade if you will) until the money ran out, at which time the actual crime started. And it will haunt Bernie until is final days that the world has been fed lies vis-à-vis the specific time he crossed over from revolutionary to crook. If you want to be part of the solution rather than the problem, consider making the decision to WAKE UP, people. All caps.