Entries in Bernard Madoff (7)


Bernard Madoff Says Banks Had to Know He Was a Crook

Photo Courtesy - Mario Tama/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Convicted Ponzi scheme swindler Bernard Madoff says some banks and hedge funds he dealt with had to have known he was up to no good, but chose to look the other way as the former money manager swindled billions from unsuspecting clients.

In his first jailhouse interview since being sent to the federal prison in Butner, North Carolina for 150 years, Madoff contends that unnamed financial institutions showed a “willful blindness” to his crimes and were therefore “complicit.”

According to Madoff, the attitude of banks and hedge funds was “if you’re doing something wrong, we don’t want to know.”

In correspondence with The New York Times, Madoff said he was surprised by the number of people who are now saying they suspected him of wrongdoing before he came clean to authorities in December of 2008.

On other matters, Madoff exonerated New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon and his business partner, Saul Katz, who are being sued by a trustee assigned to recover money for Madoff’s thousands of victims.

While Irving Picard claims that Wilpon and Katz profited from Madoff’s scam, the 72-year-old convict insisted, “They knew nothing.”  Picard is suing the men for $1 billion.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Good News For Madoff Victims: $7.2 Billion Recovered

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In the biggest win yet for victims of Bernie Madoff, the estate of the single biggest beneficiary of Madoff's fraud agreed to pay $7.2 billion to the victims' recovery fund and the Department of Justice.

Irving Picard, the trustee recovering money for Madoff's victims, announced Friday that he had cut a deal with the estate of the late Jeffry Picower that would reap $5 billion for the victims' fund, with another $2.2 billion to be distributed to victims by the U.S. government. Picard had earlier recouped more than $2 billion for victims, meaning he has now made real headway in recovering lost funds; total investor losses have been estimated at about $20 billion.

Picard said the importance of the Picower settlement could not be overstated, "as it shows significant progress in our efforts...Every penny of this $7.2 billion settlement will be distributed to BLMIS [Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities] customers with valid claims."

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara called the settlement "historic" and a "game-changer," and praised Barbara Picower, Picower's widow, for agreeing to it.

"By returning every penny of the $7.2 billion her late husband received from BLMIS to help those who have suffered most, Barbara Picower has done the right thing," said Bharara.

Picower was one of Madoff's early investors and withdrew about $7 billion in profits from his account over three decades. The 67-year-old Palm Beach, Florida philanthropist drowned after suffering a heart attack in his swimming pool on Oct. 25, 2009, just under a year after Madoff's Ponzi scheme unraveled.

Picower's lawyers say he did not know that Madoff's investments were bogus, but the trustee claimed in court papers that Picower should have realized that his profits were unnaturally high and likely based on fraud.

In recent weeks, Picard has filed suits against hundreds of individual investors and big companies like JP Morgan, HSBC and UBS, which bring the total amount sought by Picard in the so-called "clawback" to at least $56 billion.

Through the end of September, Picard had filed 19 lawsuits worth $15.5 billion against longtime individual investors like Picower, members of Madoff's immediate family, and major feeder funds, including those operated by the Fairfield Greenwich Group and J. Ezra Merkin, a prominent Wall Street investment manager.

Picard followed by suing hundreds of individual investors believed to have profited from Madoff's multi-billion-dollar investment scheme by receiving more from Madoff than they invested. Those suits ask for amounts ranging from $500,000 to $60 million, and total $3.5 billion.

The big bank lawsuits started with UBS AG, which Picard and his team of lawyers sued the day before Thanksgiving for $2 billion, an amount later increased to $2.55 billion. JP Morgan was next, sued for $6.4 billion on Dec 2, followed by HSBC, sued for $9 billion on Dec 5. The banks have all denied wrongdoing and have pledged to fight the suits.

Picard last week filed the largest suit to date, asking Austrian banker Sonja Kohn and Medici Group for $19.1 billion, alleging that she masterminded a multinational money-laundering business for Madoff.

Picard was appointed by the court in 2008 to unravel the fraud and help victims recover losses. As of December 8, Picard and his law firm, Baker & Hostetler, have approved around 2,000 victim claims totaling $5.8 billion out of the more than 15,000 claims filed. The firm says they will continue to allow claims after the clawback deadline and by the end of the year, the value of the approved claims should soar to $18 billion.

When the fraud was discovered, there were $65 billion in profits on Madoff's books, but Picard estimates total investor losses to be closer to $20 billion. The lawsuits filed to date ask for far more than that, but they include demands for punitive damages, and the expectation that not all suits will be successful.

Prior to the Picower settlement, Picard had recovered more than $2 billion for victims through asset sales and out-of-court settlements.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Mark Madoff's Body Claimed By Manhattan Funeral Director

Photo Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The body of Mark Madoff has been claimed by the funeral director of the Gramercy Park Memorial Chapel in Manhattan's East Village. No family members were at the medical examiner's office in Manhattan when the body was claimed Tuesday, three days after Madoff's suicide. No funeral date has been set.

Madoff, the 46-year-old son of convicted Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff, was found hanged Saturday morning while his two-year-old son slept in a nearby room. The suicide was timed to the two-year anniversary of his father's arrest.

Bernie Madoff will not attend his son's funeral and will instead hold a private service from behind bars, his lawyer announced Monday. The confirmation that Madoff would be absent from his son's burial came after debate over whether the Bureau of Prisons would allow him a furlough to begin with.

Madoff is currently serving a 150-year sentence at the Butner Federal Correctional Complex in North Carolina.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Suicide of Bernard Madoff's Son Will Not Stop Lawsuits

Photo Courtesy - Mario Tama/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Mark Madoff's suicide will not stop the legal proceedings against him or his family, according to lawyers in the case.

The bankruptcy trustee tasked with recovering money for victims of Bernie Madoff's massive investment fraud says Bernie Madoff's eldest son and his children received tens of millions of dollars stolen in the fraud scheme.  Even in death, Mark Madoff will continue to be the target of efforts to recover the money.

Madoff timed his suicide Saturday to the two-year anniversary of his father's arrest, almost to the very hour.  Police say his father-in-law found the body hanging from a pipe, with his two-year-old son, Nick, asleep in another room.

"It hurts me because that's not who he was," said Eleanor Squillari.  "He was in a very bad place."

As Bernie Madoff's secretary for 25 years, Squillari saw Mark and his brother Andy grow up and come to work in the family business.  In an exclusive interview, Squillari told ABC News she knew Mark was having a hard time with the shame of being a Madoff.

"I always knew that Mark wore his heart on his sleeve, and he wanted to be liked," said Squillari.  "I could see him thinking that his family would be better off without him, and it makes me so sad because that's not true. But when you're that depressed you don't see it."

Mark Madoff was more interested in fly fishing than Wall Street, and even when he joined the family firm he was never part of what turned out to be the illegal side of the business.

Hours before he died he sent an email to his lawyer that said, "No one wants to hear the truth."

"He had to live for the last two years under the scrutiny and the innuendoes and people alluding to the fact that he should've known or he had to have know," said Squillari. "Well, you know what, he didn't."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Bernard Madoff's Son Found Dead of Apparent Suicide

Bernard Madoff. Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A son of jailed Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff was found hanged inside his New York City apartment Saturday in what sources tell ABC News is being investigated as a suicide.

Mark Madoff's body was discovered by his father-in-law at approximately 7:30 a.m., two years to the day -- and at almost the precise hour and minute -- that Mark Madoff's father was arrested by the FBI. One of his children, a 2-year-old, was home asleep when the body was found. Madoff's wife, Stephanie, and the couple's second child were not home at the time.

Madoff had used a black dog leash to hang himself, police said. His labradoodle was found nearby.

He left behind a short email message to his wife, but no explanation of why he chose to take his life.

Mark Madoff is the older of Bernard and Ruth Madoff's two sons, who worked with their father in the family investing firm.  The father's huge fraud against clients of that firm came to light almost exactly two years ago to the day, when it was revealed he had swindled investors out of billions of dollars.

Mark Madoff and his brother Andrew were under investigation but were not tried in the case that sent their father to prison and saw the family's assets, right down to used clothing and household linens, auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Sources close to the family said no one could have seen the suicide coming, although Madoff, 46, had been distraught, felt unemployable, and was sure that he would never be able to extricate himself from the thickets of notoriety.

"Mark was an innocent victim of his father's monstrous crime who succumbed to two years of unrelenting pressure from false accusations and innuendo," Mark Madoff's attorney, Martin Flumenbaum, said in a statement. "We are all deeply saddened by this shocking turn of events."

Bernard Madoff pleaded guilty in March 2009 to federal crimes that landed him a 150-year sentence in federal prison.

Saturday is the deadline for so-called "clawback" lawsuits aimed at recovering funds lost through Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme. On Friday a suit was filed against Austrian banker Sonja Kohn for $19.6 billion - the largest lawsuit launched to date to recover money for victims of Madoff's decades-long fraud.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Madoff Belongings Bring Big Bucks at Auction

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- People who lost money to convicted fraudster Bernard Madoff may take some consolation from the fact that he is in prison, and perhaps even more from the result of a government auction held this weekend in New York.

The highest priced item was a 10.5 carat diamond ring worn by his wife, Ruth Madoff, which brought in a half-million dollars.  One of Bernard Madoff's "Moon Phase" Rolex watches, expected to bring in $60,000, sold for $67,000.  Ten pairs of used designer shoes brought in $900.

The proceeds of the auctions go to the victims of his scams.  The government-run sales have brought in millions, but it's a small fraction of the billions he was convicted of swindling from thousands of clients.

One more sale is planned to auction off the contents from his former Florida home.

Madoff is spending life in prison in North Carolina.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Madoff's West Palm Beach, Fla. Home Sold

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) –- The West Palm Beach, Fla., home once held by jailed ponzi-schemer Bernard Madoff sold for $5.65 million this week, according to the U.S. Marshals.

“This sale marks the final disposition of all the properties related to the Bernard L. Madoff case,” said Roland Ubaldo, Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal. “We will continue to dispose of the remaining assets with the goal of receiving maximum gain for the victims of this crime”.

The former financier is serving a 150-year prison term for the $65 billion fraud that devastated his many victims.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio