The disgraced New York hedge fund manager responsible for bilking investors out of some $50 billion in the world’s biggest Ponzi scheme has until New Year’s Eve to provide a detailed list of his investments, assets and financial holdings to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). For investors duped by Bernard (Bernie) Madoff, the financial catalog may at least give them some idea as to what they stand to potentially recover from their losses.
As reported Dec. 26 by Bloomberg, Madoff’s firm, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, began liquidation proceedings immediately following the money manager’s arrest on Dec. 11. If convicted on securities fraud charges, Madoff faces up to 10 years in prison and a $5 million fine.
Already lawsuits have begun to pile up against 70-year-old Madoff, who confessed to federal agents that his investment advisory business was nothing more than a giant Ponzi scheme in which he paid off old investors with money garnered from newer ones.
Investigators have since uncovered a who’s who list of individuals and entities scammed by Madoff. Oscar-winning film director Steven Spielberg, the owner of the New York Mets professional baseball team, charities, global hedge fund managers, universities, Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel and L’Oreal cosmetic empire heiress Lilliane Bettencourt among others all lost fortunes in the Madoff fraud.
Last week, the Madoff scandal took an even deadlier turn. Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet, who lost more than $1 billion of his clients’ money to Madoff, as well as his own family’s fortune and that of friends, was found dead in an apparent suicide.
Meanwhile, investment brokerages that conducted business with Madoff and Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC may have legal issues of their own to contend with from clients who incurred losses because of Madoff’s fraud. On Dec. 20, Celfin SA, a Chilean brokerage firm, became one of the first firms to accept accountability in the Madoff case by agreeing to repay a total of $10 million to clients who lost money with Madoff.
As more details unfold in the Madoff story, it’s likely the lawsuits will continue to grow, as well. In addition to investment firms, accounting firms also may be targeted – including PricewaterhouseCoopers and KPMG, which oversaw many of the feeder funds that channeled billions of dollars of investors’ money to Madoff yet failed to take note of the many red flags surrounding his business over the years.
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