Out of My Mind About Bernie
Just have to add my (last) two cents to the Madoff affair.
First, I have to wonder what went thru Madoff's mind as he closed the door to his penthouse for the last time. At his age, he must have known that was the last moment for a LOT of things, not just the high life. If he has grandkids...no more uninterrupted contact with them. No milk/cookies dunking and quiet chatter with them. No more staggering sleepily out to the kitchen for that first cup of coffee with the day unfolding in front of him, ready for his choice of agenda. No, his days will be planned for him, and probably not to his liking. And probably having nothing to do with spreadsheets, either.
Letterman (one of my guilty pleasures) is making a huge deal out of 'where did the money GO??' Well, a lot of it was bitbucket-money. It never existed, except on Madoff's profit report. See...if you gave him $100 to invest, you got a wonderful report of what that money was doing, advancing like a fiscal pregnancy, growing by leaps and bounds. You might even get a 'dividend' or so to keep you 'on the hook.' (In reality, other investors' money.) You THOUGHT, and he told you, that it had grown to $5000; that is what you'd see as your loss. However, your actual loss was your initial deposit - nothing more. The other $4900 was your expectation. One of these days they will figure out what the real losses are, and it will be WAY lower than the beaucoup billions touted now. Did people "lose it all"? Oh, yes. But 'all' isn't the amount they think right now. Little consolation.
Another possibility regarding the 'disappearance' of the actual investment money is 'other folks' crimes.' Huh? you say...
Think about this - Madoff hired 'accountants' supposedly unsophisticated in the day to day profit/loss shenanigans going on within and around the faux accounts being massaged by Madoff. It's likely that most of them had no idea they were links in a financially diabolical scheme.
But it only takes one or two. Just suppose, in one of those over-the-watercooler moments, one of those more-savvy-than-you-thought employees sidled over to ol' Bernie and mentioned how interested the SEC, FBI, IRS, and probably NBC would be in his wonderfully creative investment abilities. However...just put some real cash in this sharper-than-average employee's hands (not in an account, please) and lips would be sealed.
In the course of 20 or so years, there could have been quite a few employee realizations of what was actually going on, all completely separate from the others.
That's quite a bundle of blackmail payouts. It could put a serious dent in one's actual unmassaged financials. And given the possible personalities of said 'employees' it could even induce an old goat like Bernie to plead guilty rather than answer questions about where 'all that money' went, rather than put himself or others at risk. Not that Bernie is a softie at heart - he asked his 'best friend' for a few million to invest just a day or so before being arrested - but an implied or actual threat to immediate family might have found a way into that stainless steel heart of his. A message such as 'you talk about our hush-money dealings and there won't be anyone left to come visit and buy you vending machine coffee' could inspire all sorts of guilty pleas to avoid pointed prosecutorial questions.
I'm just sayin....