Sunday, December 14, 2008

"Never sell your Madoff"

As the story unfolded that past few days, I couldn't help but wonder, how many people, after the collapse of Wachovia, Lehman Brothers, AIG, and the rest of the Wall Street Meltdown, let out a nervous sigh, and said;

"Thank God, we have our money with Bernie."

Ahhh ...Not happenin" ...

The "Bernie" here is Bernard Madoff (one vowel short of having the quintessential name for this scandal), who is being charged with perpetrating the largest Wall Street scam, a gigantic Ponzi Scheme, with losses of $50-Billion.

Since its founding in 1960, Madoff Securities won wealthy clients like the Wilpons by delivering steady profits through markets both bull and bear.

In January, the firm claimed Madoff's investment advisory business managed $17.1 billion for 11 to 25 clients. Madoff Securities boasted of an "unblemished record of value, fair-dealing and high ethical standards."
Man, think of how much more, how much bigger it could have been, if Charles Ponzi were alive, in his prime, operating today?

Instead, this may bring down the curtain on "Ponzi Scheme", replaced by Bernie's moniker, "Madoff Scam"

From Tyler Cowen;
Investors may have been duped because Mr. Madoff sent detailed brokerage statements to investors whose money he managed, sometimes reporting hundreds of individual stock trades per month. Investors who asked for their money back could have it returned within days. And while typical Ponzi schemes promise very high returns, Mr. Madoff’s promised returns were relatively realistic — about 10 percent a year — though they were unrealistically steady.

[Snip ...]

In reality the "fund" simply was not there and now grandmothers have been fleeced. That is a scary lesson about the financial sector as a whole (and prudential regulation) but if it is any comfort an unregulated hedge fund could not have done the same. Those funds hold their portfolios at banks and thus you can check as to whether they actually "exist."

Along with "grandmothers", a whole bevy of others got fleeced;
"Madoff's investors included captains of industry, corporations -- some of which are publicly traded -- that used Madoff almost as a high-yielding cash management account, endowments, universities, foundations and, importantly, many high-profile funds of funds," said Douglas Kass, who heads hedge fund Seabreeze Partners Management.

"It appears that at least $15 billion of wealth, much of which was concentrated in southern Florida and New York City, has gone to 'money heaven,'" he said.
One such person was New York Mets owner, Fred Wilpon.

How ironic.

Wilpon, potentially losing hundred-of-millions with "Bernie", while his team will be playing next year, in a stadium sponsored by a company that required a government bailout.

"Money Heaven?"

Say it ain't so, Bernie ... Say it ain't so!
"The one thing my father always told me was, 'Never sell your Madoff,'" said a Florida investor who believes he's out $3million he'd hoped to give to his children.

A reoccurring theme in the vast number of articles and posts on this scandal, bring up the old adage.

"If it looks to good to be true, than, it isn't"

Or, as a good friend said, over-and-over last evening, "you can't cheat an honest man".

Bonus Madoff Madeoff With The Money Riffs

Vox Popoli: Technical difficulties

NYT: Look at Wall St. Wizard Finds Magic Had Skeptics

Jennifer Rubin: The Other Major Scandal

Neptunus Lex: Hedge Funds

1 comment:

Kathy said...

When will investors learn that they should only invest in regulated investment companies. No guarantee of returns but at least not subject to Ponzi Schemes.