Wednesday, Mar. 07, 2012

Bernie Madoff

The modern face of financial evil is Bernie Madoff, the former Nasdaq chairman who was convicted of running a $50 billion Ponzi scheme. Madoff, a Wall Street bigwig, used his credentials to gain clients' trust, easily maintaining it with an average 10.5% annual return for nearly two decades. But according to the SEC, the returns made by his self-founded firm Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC were fudged: Madoff was paying off old investors with money received from new investors. The fraudulent fund impacted not only thousands of individuals but charitable organizations, university endowments, and even publicly-traded banks. After admitting to his sons that he was struggling to pay investors, they turned him in. Madoff was arrested on December 11, 2008 and charged with criminal securities fraud. SEC documents quote him explaining the scheme was "all just one big lie, though he had kept it up since at least 1991. But he said in court, "As the years went by, I realized that my arrest and this day would inevitably come." Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 felony counts and was sentenced to 150 years in prison. "I cannot adequately express how sorry I am for what I have done," he added, though his bilked investors likely had little reason to believe him.