Ponzi schemes

  • 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 »

  • 06 Jun 2011 at 12:38 PM

Bernie Madoff’s Underwear, Ass Sell At Auction

Over the weekend, the US Marshals service held yet another auction of Bernie Madoff’s stuff, with the proceeds going to victims of the Ponz Master’s scheme. Previous items bought by bidders have included Bernie’s prized collection of mini-bar booze, his marital bed, and his belly button ring. This time, someone got a deal on his (used) underwear (14 pairs for $200) and a photo of an unidentified ass. Read more »

MW’s Carson Block: It’s a Ponzi scheme in that the company perpetually issues securities in order to fund itself. Even by its own fraudulent numbers, the company does not generate any free cash and has not done so in sixteen years. Were the company be unable to issue additional securities to fund itself, it would collapse. That to me is the definition or epitomizes the definition of a Ponzi. “In this situation, the company appears to be investing for the 23rd century. It’s sixteen straight years burning cash, no guidance as to what the rationale is to acquire so many trees so far ahead of customer orders. This is taking a capex fraud–we have found several of these in China–it’s taking it to the next level where you’re not constrained by the walls of a factory and no one is able to really see the movement of physical goods. It could grow to be infinite provided that the capital markets continue to fund it.” Read more »

This afternoon, the US Marshals Service will hold yet another auction of Bernie Madoff’s stuff, with proceeds going to the victims of the Ponzi scheme. Today’s lots are comprised of the liquor left behind by the Ponz Master. As previously mentioned, one lucky bidder will take home Bernie’s prized collection of low-grade mini-bar booze (including a selection of 2-ounce bottles of Smirnoff vodka, Bombay gin and Grand Marnier liqueur). Also up for grabs? A decanter containing a mystery liquid, which starts at $500. Read more »

  • 12 May 2011 at 10:26 AM

Bernie Madoff: Big Fan Of Mini-Bar Booze

In the market for some tiny bottles of low-grade vodka touched by a Ponzi scheme? Today’s your lucky day. Read more »

Irving Picard wants $43.2 million for the last four months of work on the Madoff file. Read more »

“In 2002 I had a contact with the SEC, who were concerned that I was front-running,” he recalls, referring to the practice of using insider information to inform trades. “I started laughing to myself – I knew I wasn’t because I wasn’t doing the trades.” [FT]