Bernard Madoff

Business Personality / Fraud

Born: 1938
Birthplace: New York, New York
Best known as: The Wall Street money manager who swindled $50 billion

Bernard Madoff is the investment manager who defrauded investors of up to $50 billion in what might be the largest swindle in Wall Street history. Bernard Madoff was a Wall Street legend who had been in business for nearly 50 years. According to the story Madoff told others, in 1960, at age 22, he took $5000 earned from his summer job as a Long Island lifeguard and started his own investment firm. His brother Peter Madoff joined him in 1970 in what had become a booming business with an impressive list of clients. Madoff's firm grew famous for its reliable annual returns of 10% or more; he served as president of the board of directors of the NASDAQ stock exchange, and he and his wife Ruth were popular socialites in New York and Florida, where they were members of the exclusive Palm Beach Country Club. But it was all too good to be true. On 11 December 2008, FBI agents arrested Bernard Madoff at his Manhattan apartment, and the Securities and Exchange Commission said he was charged with "massive fraud" and running a "multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme." Madoff reportedly admitted to investigators that he had lost $50 billion of investors' cash. Bernard Madoff pled guilty to 11 felony counts on 12 March 2009, and was was sentenced to 150 years in prison (the maximum) on 29 June 2009.

Extra credit:

The formal name of Madoff's company was Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC....He was turned in by his sons Mark and Andrew, who were partners in his firm. Mark Madoff committed suicide by hanging himself with a dog leash on 11 December 2010, two years to the day after his father's arrest... According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the 11 felony charges to which Madoff pled guilty were "securities fraud, investment adviser fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, false statements, perjury, false filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"), and theft from an employee benefit plan"... Carlo Ponzi was an Italian immigrant who bilked millions of dollars from investors in the 1920s; in a Ponzi scheme, old investors are paid off with money from new investors.

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