Madoff: The Legitimate Years

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. Read more »

  • 22 Feb 2012 at 1:55 PM

When Life Gives You Lemons, You Give Out Rebates

Faithful Assistant passed me a cellphone. “It’s for you…it’s a woman.”

My stomach knotted. Women calling a bookie’s office? Bad news. I don’t have any female customers, but they’re usually a headache: most of the time they’re not betting for themselves, but for some sharp guy who wants to stay anonymous. If they’re not customers, they’re somebody’s wife complaining that her husband blew Junior’s college fund on the Mets and what was I going to do to make them whole? Read more »

  • 28 Jun 2011 at 2:07 PM

Bernie Madoff Feels Like A Piñata

When one is serving a 150 year sentence for running a massive Ponzi scheme, he tends to find himself with time on his hands to think about things. Take Bernie Madoff, for example. He has a job in the joint (working in the commissary) and he gets in daily walks on the track but other than that, the hours are usually spent reflecting. His reflection time over the last couple years has lead to a few big conclusions and chief among them? That he’s been on the receiving end of a bum rap, in more ways than one, which he’s mentioned during several stops on his Legitimate Years Tour. In February, he griped to New York:

“Does anybody want to hear that I had a successful business and did all these wonderful things for the industry?” Bernie continued. “And got all these awards? And so did my family? I did all of this during the legitimate years. No. You don’t read any of that.”

Last month, he reminded New Yorker reporter Jeffrey Toobin that he “was worth a billion dollars before any of this nonsense started” but does anyone ever mention that? No they only care about the net worth accrued from his ill-gotten gains. On the same tour stop, he also suggested that he should be getting credit for his later work (the legitimacy of which is still an open-ended question in his mind), if only for the fact that its complexities could only be understood by the most sophisticated of investors (him).

Still, he speaks about his financial acumen with unmistakable pride. “The strategy that I was using for them, whether it was real or not, was not something that anyone would understand if you were not an expert,” he said. As he put it in an e-mail, “Fred was not [at] all stock market savvy and Saul was not really either. They were strictly Real Estate people. Although I explained the Strategy to them they were not sophisticated enough to evaluate it properly, nor were most of my other individual clients. They were not in a position to perform the necessary due diligence and did not have access to necessary financial info or records.”

Which leads us to Berns’ latest. In an interview with the Times he reasons that he got such a raw deal because the judge, like all of his feeble-brained haters, doesn’t understand how “the industry” works. Read more »

  • 08 Apr 2011 at 3:43 PM

Bernie Madoff Has A Dream

The Legitimate Years, Part 2. Read more »

Bernie Madoff recently called New York reporter Steve Fishman collect, from prison. Berns had rebuffed Fishman’s previous attempts to chat but apparently had been feeling like there were a few things he wanted to get off his chest and in print, for all the haters to see. Lately, you see, the Ponzi Master is feeling a bit misunderstood. Angry. Cheated. He takes the blame for what he did (though he thinks the banks that enabled him should take a little themselves) and admits that Ruth is pretty ticked off with him of late. That’s not what’s getting his goat though. What he’s feeling miffed about these days is the fact that okay, yes, he ran a multi-billion dollar scam that had some pretty serious consequences. Fine. But what about all those years he was doing things by the book? People rightfully thought he was pretty great then but do we ever hear about that? No! All we hear is monster this and criminal that. What gives? Read more »