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What Bernie Made-off With and How You Can Avoid Being Taken to the Cleaners by Unscrupulous Investment Schemes
Living Large with Bernie and Ruth
Bernie's lawyers filed a financial statement March 13 with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit listing his net worth at $823 million, far short of the $60 billion lost to investors in his Ponzi scheme. $700 million of Madoff's net worth was attributed to his ownership in his market-making business which has been seized by the trustee that is overseeing the liquidation of the firm.
Here are the Madoffs' main personal assets listed in the document filed with the court:
House on Long Island................................$3 million
Art and furniture........................................$10 million
Real estate owned by Ruth Madoff........... $19 million
Ruth Madoff's jewelry................................$2.6 million
Bull, a boat on Long Island................ $320,000
Little Bull, a boat in Florida.........................$25,000
Boat slip and yacht in France.....................$8.5 million
50% of an aircraft $12 million
Silverware at Manhattan apartment.................$65,000
The document listed liabilities of $265,000 including $100,000 in credit card debt, and $151,000 in real estate taxes which have been paid.
According to the statement the Madoffs had expenses of $346,000 for insurance premiums, maintenance charges and boat storage, monthly charges for a housekeeper at their Manhattan apartment of $2860 and a yacht captain for Madoff's boat, $5250 a month.
Madoff's wife, Ruth, owns nearly all of their real estate in New York, Florida and France as well as their automobiles and yachts. Previous news reports put her assets at $70 million.
Source: NY Times article by Zachary Kouwe 3-14-09
1-7-14NYTimes--JPMorgan Settles for $1.7 Billion in Madoff Case (JPMorgan was Madoff's primary bank.)
12-8-13NYTimes "Madoff Victims, Five Years the Wiser"
- Madoff Victims, Five Years the Wiser - NYTimes.com
Speaking from experience, victims of the Madoff Ponzi scheme advise other investors to diversify their savings, focus on what really matters in life and resist giving up.
5-27-13NYTimes--Bernie Madoff's House for Sale
- Selling a Madoff Home - NYTimes.com
The Marshals Service is offering for $4.495 million a grand Long Island home that belonged to Peter Madoff, Bernard’s brother and co-conspirator in a historic Ponzi scheme.
12-10-11NYTimes--The Lasting Shadow of Bernie Madoff
- The Lasting Shadow of Bernie Madoff
To date, almost $11 billion has been recovered, more than half of the estimated $18 billion in cash that vanished in the Ponzi scheme.
Madoff Investor's Widow Does the Right Thing--Disgorges $7.2 Billion
- Billionaire Madoff Investor's Widow, Barbara Picower, Does the Right Thing
Federal prosecutors and the trustee charged with recovering assets in the Bernard L. Madoff bankruptcy announced settlements Friday that would add $7.2 billion to the cash available to compensate victims of Mr. Madoffs global Ponzi scheme.
How to Avoid Being Taken in by Ponzi Schemers Like Bernie Madoff
Bernie Maddow perpetrated the largest ponzi scheme in history. He was extraordinarily successful in separating knowledgeable investors from their money because he was very clever had good connections and he had many years experience in managing other people's money.
The key to avoiding being taken is to approach any investment proposal with a healthy degree of skepticism--especially about claims of extraordinary, low risk returns. There is virtually no such thing as a high return, low risk investment. Exceptions to the rule that the higher the return the greater the risk are very rare or non-existent.
Be especially skeptical about claims from friends and relatives about extraordinarily high returns. They may be receiving high returns paid them from funds deposited by the latest group of suckers.
Don't believe everything you hear at investment seminars and read in investment brochures. Check with independent sources.
Check up on the individual or firm with state and federal authorities to see whether they are registered representatives and securities dealers. If not, don't give them any of your money.
Insist on monthly statements and check their accuracy. Any delays in honoring your request to withdraw funds should be viewed with great suspicion.
Deal with recognized first rate investment management firms like Vanguard or other mutual fund providers.
Where to get help
For questions about a broker, adviser or investment -- or to file a complaint, obtain information or report suspicious activity -- contact the following agencies or organizations:
• U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which was created to protect investors; maintain fair, orderly and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation. Call 800-732-033.
• U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which was created to regulate commodity futures and option markets in the U.S. Leave a message on the consumer hot line, 866-366-2382.
• National Futures Association , to find out whether a broker or firm is registered, call 800-676-4632.
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) , which regulates securities firms doing business in the U.S. Call 301-590-6500.
•Your state office of securities regulation can tell you whether the individual attempting to sell you an investment product is licensed in your state and whether an investment professional or firm has a history of disciplinary action.
You bank may offer adivce on investment proposals, and a fee-for-service (not a commission salesman) investment adviser can provide you with advice and information on an investment proposal.
The bottom line for most investors is to investigate all investments carefully, deal only with reputable firms; and don't put all your eggs in one basket because, as the article linked below on the recent $180 million fraud settlement by Securities America shows, even the most reputable firms sometimes sell bad fish to their clients and put their own interest ahead of their customers.
[Securities America bills itself as one of the nation's largest broker/dealers, supports over 1900 independent financial professionals with investment and advisory products ...It's parent Ameriprise's home page says the following:
1-10-14NYTimes "In Fund Expenses, Those Tenths of a Point Mean a Lot" Conrad de Aennle
- Log In - The New York Times
“Expenses always matter,” said Christine Benz, director of personal finance for Morningstar. “Fund buyers have no control over interest rates or the economy or how markets perform, but they do exert some control over investment-related fees.”
4-24-11NYtimes "In CitiGroup Case, a Crack in Wall Street's Defenses"
- In Citigroup Case, a Crack in Wall Streets Defenses - NYTimes.com
In a case involving Citigroups Smith Barney unit, arbitrators say the financial crisis cant be blamed for all losses. TWO investors just scored a remarkable $54.1 million win against Citigroup.
11-23-11NYTimes "The Madoff Masquerade" Review
- The Madoff Masquerade - Scenes From the Final Year - NYTimes.com
Bernard L. Madoff remained calm and seemingly in control as the financial crisis closed in around him, a new book says.
4-13-11NYTimes--Securities America Is Said to Reach $180 Milliojn Settlement in Fraud Case
- Securities America Is Said to Reach Settlement - NYTimes.com
The financial advisory firm plans to pay $180 million, or 45 cents on the dollar, to clients who lost money on two private placements that turned out to be frauds.
12-11-10WallStreetJournal--"2 Years on, Life after Madoff's Big Lie"
- Life Goes on 2 years after Madoff Ponzi Blowup
Two years ago, Bernard Madoff told his sons that his multi-billion-dollar business was "one big lie." That confession unleashed one of the biggest fraud investigations in history. Since then, the wheels of justice have turned slowly.
12-11-10NYTimes--Madoff Trustee Seeks $19.6 Billion From Austrian Banker
- Madoff Trustee Seeks $19.6 Billion from Prominent Austrian Woman Banker
A prominent Austrian banker who portrayed herself for two years as one of Bernard L. Madoffs biggest victims was accused on Friday of conspiring for 23 years to funnel more than $9 billion into his immense global Ponzi scheme.
12-11-10NYTimes--Madoff Son Dead, Apparent Suicide
- Madoff Son Aparently Hanged Himself
A law enforcement official tells The Associated Press that a son of Bernard Madoff has been found dead in New York City of an apparent suicide. The official says Mark Madoff was found hanged in his Manhattan apartment. A family member notified poli
10-30-09 NYTimes--Madoff Surprised that S.E.C. Didn't Catch On to His Ponzi Scheme
- Madoff Surprised the Nobody Caught On to His Scheme
Nobody was more surprised that the Securities and Exchange Commission did not discover Bernard L. Madoffs enormous Ponzi scheme years ago than Mr. Madoff himself.
10-25-09 Big Madoff Investor Dead in His Swimming Pool
- Jeffrey Picower, Madoff Investor Found Dead in Pool
Jeffry Picower, a prominent philanthropist and one of the largest investors in the vast Ponzi scheme run by Bernard L. Madoff, was found dead in the pool at his Palm Beach, Fla., home on Sunday afternoon.
7-29-09 Ruth Madoff Sued for $44.8 Million NY Times 7-29-09
- Trustee Sues Ruth Madoff for $44.8 Million
The trustee recovering assets for victims of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme filed suit on Wednesday against Madoff’s wife, Ruth, seeking the return of $44.8 million she received from her husband’s former company before he confessed to authorities.
6-29-09 Madoff Gets 150 Years!
- Madoff Gets 150 Years!
A federal judge sentenced Bernard L. Madoff to 150 years in prison on Monday for operating a huge Ponzi scheme that devastated thousands of people, calling his crimes “extraordinarily evil.”
Madoff's Accomplices by Joe Nocera in the NY Times 3-14-09
- Madoff's Accomplices
“These were people with a fair amount of money, and most of them sought no professional advice,” said Bruce Greenwald, who teaches value investing at the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University. “It’s like trying to do your own dentistry."
Massachusetts Sues Madoff Feeder Fund
- Massachusetts Sues Madoff Feeder Fund for Fraud - DealBook Blog - NYTimes.com
Mass. top securities regulator has sued Fairfield Greenwich Advisors, which directed billions of $ clients’ money to Madoff's firm before it was revealed a Ponzi scheme. The complaint alleges lack of due dilligence & misrepresentation amtg to fra