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Open Letter to NY Times’ Joe Nocera re: Madoff

Posted by Larry Doyle on March 30, 2012 8:01 AM |

Dear Joe,

As a longtime subscriber to The New York Times, could you enlighten me as to when the media in our nation diverted its mission of pursuing the truth to one of actively advancing agendas? Actually, Joe, hold that thought and perhaps we could have that lengthy discussion another time.

I write to you today specifically in regard to your interest in the ongoing legal battles in the recovery and restitution of funds in the Madoff scandal. In your recent commentaries (The Mets Switch Teams; March 19, 2012, and Helen Chaitman Doesn’t Know When to Quit; March 29, 2012), one does not have to read all that hard to gather you are a strong mouthpiece for SIPC trustee Irving Picard. In the process, you make what amount to ad hominem attacks on Ms. Chaitman who represents hundreds of Madoff investors.

Rather than debating the merits or lack thereof in the recent settlement crafted between the owners of the New York Mets and the SIPC trustee Irving Picard, perhaps we could dig a little deeper and address questions which remain unanswered yet central to what was really going on inside the Madoff operation. Given your position and accompanying power of the public pen, I would ask you to address the following:

1. Why is it that we have witnessed little meaningful progress and additional indictments emanating from the interrogation of former Madoff CFO Frank DiPascali? Are we to believe that the Madoff scandal truly revolved simply around Bernie and a handful of his ne’er do well nitwits inside his office? Come on, Joe. America is dying for somebody to connect the dots and expose the inevitable yet currently unreported links between those inside and outside Madoff’s lair. What tunes is Frankie boy singing?

2. Perhaps you may care to further pursue the allegation embedded in the case of Amerivet Securities v FINRA of an investment in Madoff by the Wall Street self-regulatory organization. If nothing else, digging into this allegation may provide real color on the nature of the relationship between Mr. Madoff and Mary Schapiro. You do recall that Bernie identified our current chair of the SEC as a “dear friend.” Do you think further investigation on the real nature of the Madoff-Schapiro relationship might sell some newspapers? You think?

I highlighted this case, referenced above, and the specific point regarding an investment in Madoff by FINRA back in late August 2009:

I just received a copy of the Amerivet Securities vs. FINRA complaint. See pages 8-9, points #24-28 for details regarding the allegation that FINRA was invested with Bernie Madoff.

Heckuva lead, Joe, and the allegation remains unanswered as the Amerivet v FINRA case remains in the courts. Further enlightenment on this angle of the Madoff scandal would definitely sell some papers.

3. Given your obvious interest in SIPC trustee Irving Picard — he of the many millions of dollars in legal fees in pursuing the Madoff money — I would ask you to go well beyond Picard’s work. Where should you navigate, Joe? How did SIPC find itself in a position where it could not properly protect the Madoff investors? Joe, you are aware that all of the Wall Street firms — including Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Merrill Lynch, and Madoff — paid an annual premium for SIPC coverage of $150 for 13 years, right? Yes, in order to put that SIPC stamp of approval and the perceived appearance of investor protection on their brokerage statements, these titans of finance paid a full $150 annual premium from 1996 up until 2009 . . . Joe, this is the REAL story.

Heckuva lead, Joe. If I could be so bold, dig deeper into this angle and expose the people and the process that allowed Wall Street firms — including Madoff — to play this charade on investors and I think you’re looking at a Pulitzer Prize winning story.

Put the pom-poms away Joe and break out the shovel and start to dig into these leads. Perhaps we might grab some coffee or a beer and we can work on this together. I’m buying. My calendar is flexible.

The truth Joe. . . it is all about the truth. Just to let you know, I had inducted you into my Sense on Cents Hall of Fame for prior reporting so I do think you are definitely up to the job.

You can contact me at senseoncents@aol.com.

Comments, questions, constructive criticisms always encouraged and appreciated.

Larry Doyle

Isn’t it time to subscribe to all my work via e-mailRSS feed, on Twitter or Facebook?

Do your friends, family, and colleagues a favor and get them to do the same. Thanks!!

I have no affiliation or business interest with any entity referenced in this commentary. The opinions expressed are my own. I am a proponent of real transparency within our markets, our economy, and our political realm so that meaningful investor confidence and investor protection can be achieved.

 

 

  • http://tinyurl.com/petition757 Ronnie Sue Ambrosino

    Larry,
    Once again, I must say God bless you. Once again, you have cut through the media hype and pointed out the real issues. The points you make are both factual and pertinent, as opposed to Nocera who always seems to have one motive-that being to support Picard and SIPC. He confirms my feelings that the NY Times is becoming a rag paper and its news reporting is tinted yellow.
    Please don’t give up trying to educate the public of the true facts-you are someone who can make a difference.
    Thank you.

    • Rich Long

      Good comment, except that the New York Times is not becoming a rag paper. It is, and has been for some time, a rag paper.

  • http://www.bernard-madoff-scam.blogspot.com Ben Stein

    Without prejudice–Nocera, whose opinions are often at odds with those that take greater time to consider situations (hey, he’s a reporter with a deadline!)–did strike a poignant point when questioning the virtue of Ms. Chaitman’s legal pursuits–and the negative impact her efforts have had by delaying the distribution process for approved claimants.
    1. The argument that Madoff ‘victims’ (can’t we call them ‘casualties’?) should be entitled to the stated value of their brokerage accounts as of Nov 2008 is ludicrous. Aside from there being plenty of precedent to support Picard’s approach (i.e. loss amounts should be what investors actually lost, not the inflated values that had no basis of reality).
    2. Whether “Dimes” DiPascali was alone in helping to perpetuate the scheme–and otherwise used his influence to convince other co-workers/co-defendants with creative excuses in reply to purported questions that co-defendants expressed from time to time is entirely plausible..albeit, their respective compensation-amounting to millions each over the years, was certainly enough to inspire these low IQ and low in ethical/moral fiber clerks to overlook just about anything.
    3. Jeff Picower (purportedly deceased),Stan Chais (confirmed deceased),Carl Shapiro–and lets not forget the crowd over at Konigsberg (not to mention senior enablers i.e. the two Sonny’s, the Noel family, etc etc) spent years bringing clients to Madoff)–are each worth scrutinizing when considering the sums of money they received..All of these people were savvy investors–aka skeptics that were smart enough to know that NO other ‘hedge fund’ had ever delivered such consistent returns–especially one with such a simplistic strategy.
    4. OF COURSE the people over at SEC played a role at enabling Madoff. Gee whiz..one of the senior staff responsible for approving investigations was a Madoff family member! (Eric Swanson, married to Peter Madoff’s daughter–she was ‘head of compliance’ for the firm). Mary Shapiro?-She wasn’t about to question the credibility of the former NASDAQ Chairman.
    5. FINRA’s pension investment in Madoff. All true, but when considering the level of intellectual ability of those people–suffice to say they were duped, just like many other investors.
    6. Once Chaitman’s arguments to be heard by the US Supreme Court are turned down (scheduled for 2nd week of April), Picard will, in theory, be able to resume the distribution of funds that he has recovered for the estate, and many of the approved claimants will be made whole consequent to the next distribution tranche–which is expected to be as much as $4.5billion-$5billion. At the very least, those that had invested upwards of $2 million will have received back their $2million in principal with the forthcoming distribution.
    Bottom line: blind eyes, greed, avarice and a few other elements are historically the ingredients to being fleeced. Blaming the perpetrator is easy, blaming oneself is rare..
    Bernie’s blog is great.

    • Evelyn Berezin

      SG’s reply on the issue that Ben Stein calls “ludicrous” in his first comment is a fitting answer to both Stein’s and Nocera’s lack of understanding of the issue. I would add to SG’s remarks to Nocera/Stein that there exists a federal law, passed in the 1970′s, and replacing parts of the general bankruptcy laws FOR BROKERS ONLY, that quashes their idea that what if being proposed by Chaitman is a “ludicrous argument”.

      That new law was designed to eliminate the then-current requirement for delivery of documents defining the ownership of each stock sale or other financial instrument sale by defining the Broker’s Report that was sent to each investor by his Broker as a document that confirmed ownership of what was listed to the investor. (At that time, the Brokerage back offices were falling apart by the the need for paper confirmation of ownership, and they asked for a law that would permit them to LEGALLY bypass the requirement for physical (paper) documentation for each sale.)

      The problem of brokerage bankruptcy or fraud was considered as part of this bill, and SIPC was set up to provide insurance for cases when the broker could not pay the investors what they were owed as defined by the Broker’s Report. SIPC was to be financed by the Brokerage firms. The Brokerage firms clearly did not (see Doyle above) take that responsibilty seriously and now, through SIPC via Picard, are refusung to act in accordance with the law and its intent to make the Broker’s Report the “insured” document. SIPC was supposed to be responsible for making sure everyone got a fair deal, — NOT the victims of the fraud. The idea that people who HAD LOST the money they were depending on should pay for other victims is the ludicrous idea! Aren’t insurance compnanies supposed to protect us against loss?

      The fact is that now there is NO real assurance of payment to any investor in case of bankruptcy, — the claim of $500,000 insurance by brokers is a farce because Picard, who employs him, is insuring that SIPC does NOT pay. Nocera and Stein, in the absence of knowledge of the underlying facts should reconsider their positions. I would not call Nocera and Stein ludicrous, but they are guilty of jumping to a terrible solution, harmful to many hundreds of people, by letting SIPC and their owners, the financial organizations in this country, prove as they have over and over in recent years, that they are willing to distort the law and impoverish the public for their own purposes.

      Is that what Nocera and Stein want to accomplish? They probably don’t know it, but that is actually what their opinions are promoting.

    • http://tinyurl.com/petition757 Ronnie Sue Ambrosino

      Mr. Stein,

      You failed to discuss the fact that every investor was led to believe that the SEC regulated and approved BLMIS. You also failed to distinguish between Picard’s role as SIPC trustee (to distribute SIPC funds) and his role as bankruptcy administrator (to distribute funds retrieved from Madoff’s assets, Picower estate, and the like that go into a communal fund to be distributed on a pro-rata basis).

      Based on the 1970 Securities Investor Protection Act every investor who gave their savings to Madoff is entitled to up to $500,000 based on the statements they received. And, contrary to your thoughts, there IS precedence for this payment. Distribution of communal funds is a whole other issue.

      Besides, if, as you said, that relying on the stated value of the brokerage accounts as of Nov 2008 is ludicrous, then isn’t Picard being ludicrous when he is clawing back folks based on the stated value of their brokerage accounts? If the statements show no semblance to reality (as Harbeck and Picard and it seems you contend), then how can Picard use the statement values to steal money back from the victims?
      Seems to be illogical thinking.

    • Charles Gevirtz

      Ben Stein – The time value of money is entirely ignored in Picard’s distribution determination, thus it is not a fair or equitable solution.

  • Peter S.

    How is that JP Morgan’s top legal counsel, Stephen M. Cutler, had Madoff in his crosshairs as our nation’s top security cop in 2001, yet failed to pull the trigger? JP Morgan was the only single institutional investor able to yank the firms $250,000,000 from Madoff investment vehicles just weeks before Madoff ran out of rope.

    SEC OIG-509/Exhibit -0526

    Columbia Journalism Review: What Dimon, Cutler Knew About Madoff

    • Obsvr-1

      it can not just be coincidental that JPM always squeezed their money out of these fraudulent deals (Madoff, MF Global, Bear Stearns takeover, AIG bailout …)

      Unbelievable amount of time and legal fees expended on a case where the defendant pleads guilty….

      We are all just screwed, the big “insider” lawfirms and captive corporate lawyers get paid to build the pile of kindling, then they get paid to create the ignition source, then they get paid to fight the fire, then they get paid to rebuild the pile of kindling … Amazing how these “insiders” get a free pass on all this waste, fraud and abuse designed into the the system.

  • SG: recommended

    Larry,

    You may not have seen this from Amy Sepinwall. Joe Nocera never did.

    She explains that there is no legal basis for clawbacks in this situation just as investors who loose in the stock market can’t clawback from investors who win.

    Suppose that we were to decide that the “winners” in some financial frauds should have to give up their winnings, and that the losers should receive compensation, why require that restitution operate strictly between winners and losers of the same fraud? Why, that is, should the Madoff winners restitute the Madoff losers, rather than investors who were defrauded by, say, Countrywide?

    Countrywide, we now know, overcharged customers who were desperately hanging on to their home loans, a federal offense for which it paid $108 million in fines;
    it also discriminated against Black and Hispanic borrowers, for which it paid an additional $335 million fine.

    These fines presumably diminished the share value of those who held shares in Bank of America (which acquired Countrywide in 2008) at the time the fines were paid. And,
    those who sold shares in Countrywide or Bank of America before the offenses were uncovered presumably received more money for their shares than they were worth, since the share value at the time of sale was inflated as a result of Countrywide’s offenses.

    It might then be reasonable to think that the investors who innocently profited by selling Countrywide’s fraudulently inflated shares owe some or all of the profits they earned to those who bought the shares at an artificially inflated
    price, or to those whose shares diminished in value as a result of the fines assessed against Countrywide. But, again, why think that restitution should operate just between the Countrywide investors?

    Or to take an example that hits even closer to the Madoff scandal,consider that shareholders in J.P. Morgan Chase collectively earned after-tax profits totaling $435 million between 1993 and 2008 as a result of the billions of dollars Madoff deposited in the bank using his investors’ money.

    Yet no clawbacks are being pursued against these shareholders. Why shouldn’t the Madoff winners help defray the losses of the Countrywide losers, and the Countrywide winners, or J.P. Morgan Chase.

    The answer is surely related in part to administrative convenience – the trustee in the Madoff case does not have authority to claw back money from individuals who did not have accounts with Madoff. But the fact of administrative
    convenience is relevant only if we have already determined that there is an obligation on the part of those who win in a fraudulent scheme of which they were ignorant to defray the losses of those who lose, whether from that same fraudulent scheme or some other. The innocent winners
    in a Ponzi scheme are not more responsible for the losers’ losses than is anyone else who is innocent of the fraud.

    So, we must turn to the second question raised above – why think that those who innocently profit from a fraud bear obligations of restitution that those who profit from a
    legitimate investment lack?

    I now contend that that question has no good answer. The innocent winners in a Ponzi scheme are innocent not just in the sense that they did not know, and had no reason to know, of the fraud but also that, from their perspective, their withdrawals constituted earnings no less legitimate than the earnings reaped by an investor in a genuine investment vehicle. It is on this ground that Judge Rakoff held that
    innocent investors in Madoff’s scheme could avail themselves of the Bankruptcy Code’s safe harbor provision.

    Righting Others’ Wrongs- A Critical Analysis of Clawback Suits in the Wake of Madoff-Type Ponzi Schemes and Other Financial Frauds from the Selected Works of Amy J. Sepinwall, University of Pennsylvania; March 2012

  • LCG

    Loved your open letter. Somebody needed to stand up to Nocera.

  • ralph cohen

    Thank you Larry Doyle for your insight.

    Unfortunately it is the big mouths who always get the media exposure. Ben Stein has now left behind his reputation as a rational commentator, and has joined Nocera, Henriques, Morgenson and the NYT in total disregard of the law.

  • Dana Foy

    Clearly Helen Chaitman is a threat to folks like Joe Nocera and Irving Picard because she has so much integrity. In a world of personal agendas, greed and avarice, Ms Chaitman stands out as the oddball … the one who acts with honor.

    How can it be that those who claim to represent the people feel so insecure with Ms. Chaitman in the room?

    How is it those who claim truth are so afraid to have others heard publicly?

    How is it those who claim honesty are allowed to spread poison instead researching the facts?

    How can the facts and clear thinking presented by Ms. Chaitman be the enemy?

    Could it be that her light might expose their tiny, self centered agendas?

    Perhaps her light might reveal the simple truth that they are the ones with no integrity at all.

  • Phil

    Great read Larry. Thanks for reflecting what millions of working stiffs feel.

  • SK

    Appreciated your letter to “Joe”. Thank you. I was incensed by his article.

    I worked from the day I left University. Until I retired. Then I self-financed a business. With what money? Money I had deposited with Madoff Investments.

    My father had advised my sister and I to invest. He even loaned me money to invest he was so confident that Madoff was safe and secure and would help me, in particular, ultimately put my kids through school since I was at that point a single parent. Working full time.

    When the economic crisis hit, my business was too young to survive. And I could no longer self finance. So I lost my
    money, my business and had an additional outstanding business loan to repay. I was by no means a rich person. Worked my entire life. Was frugal. Saved.
    Lived small. Raised two kids. Was not at all a big Madoff player. And since I knew nothing about investing, followed my father’s lead and left my money there, trusting that all was well since no-one identified that there was a problem.
    Now we know there were undercurrents of awareness. But I was a tiny investor, got my statements, trusted in them and thought one could use one’s gains as one needed.

    Who knew it would become a crime to withdraw monies to pay taxes and send my kids to school? I was sued by the Trustee. On what basis? Apparently I took more money out than I put in, based on a 6 year clawback. That didn’t
    seem possible, however, until I realized how the Trustee was calculating monies in. Don’t know if you’re aware that he has calculated it based on 6 years back for monies out – but in my case almost 30 years back to calculate my father’s
    holdings, how much he took out (Madoff served as my father’s pension) then how much was transferred to my account when he passed away. My inheritance. Had I taken the money out when he died and invested it elsewhere I would have been OK.
    But since it was transferred into my account I’ve been told that that money cannot be considered as ever having been in my account. Or, for that matter, as ever having existed. Hard to believe that something like this can be permitted.

    I of course had to hire a lawyer to look into this. With monies I need to live on. But I can’t afford to give up any more.

    The IRS has given us back 5 years of taxes. I paid in for over 20 years for Madoff earnings. So the IRS thinks the money was taxable. The Trustee thinks we all stole someone else’s. And to make matters even worse, has turned us into
    the criminals. Not the victims.

    The situation is ghastly. Having planned all my life to make sure I was able to be independent in my later years it is devastating at this stage of my life to have to worry about no longer having the money I spent my life saving and
    counted on. To say nothing of how dreadful it is to watch the Trustee, who was meant to help us, earning a fortune from those of us who no longer have much in hand. It takes a lot longer to review cases going way back than using final
    statement figures. That’s for sure.

    That Nocera thinks Chaitman a fool for continuing to fight is quite remarkable. She’s fighting for everything we had.
    And the deck seems truly to be stacked against us. While Chaitman is not representing me – any decision which comes out of her efforts would have a broad impact.

    So I appreciate all she has been doing. And now you, for raising a number of questions which should surely have been asked before this whole charade was permitted and reinforced and locked down.

    I’d like to see Nocera’s reply, if he gives you one.

    Thanks again.

  • Marge Forrest

    Thank you for writing as a responsible journalist with the voice of reason. If Nocera and the New York Times will only take the time to really read and digest.

  • Peter

    Larry, that was an incisive piece.

    Please consider adding to your list Bernie’s brother Peter who was reported to be the Chief Compliance Officer of the fraudulent operation. Also the Trustee’s lawsuit against him says he took out $17,000,000 on a $27 investment. Why isn’t that theft and why is he still living in his Park Ave.apartment that he bought, according to the Trustee, with money Bernie stole from his victims.

    Did the U.S. Attorney make a deal with Bernie to protect the family members and if so, what did he get in return and shouldn’t it be public? Or, do we have the biggest failure of the judicial system since the O. J. Simpson murder trial?

  • Robin

    Once again you have come through. Great letter! Hope it has legs and really begins to make an impact.

    • Rich Rosen

      Joe:

      SIPC has perpetrated the largest insurance fraud in this country’s history.

      In 1968, I started my Wall Street career in the cage as a tub clerk just when it was impossible to physically handle thousands of certificates a day. The guy who ran the cage seemed never to go home. And boy did he thank the heavens for “street name” as did the guys who ran the firm because not only would they save millions of dollars in back office costs, they had a brand spanking new way of making money. Billions of it.

      I moved from the cage in 1970 and became a registered rep just as President Nixon announced that investors had nothing to worry about because SIPC would protect them in case their brokerage house went under. Within a few days, management came down to instruct us on what to say to customers about the new insurance. They told us to say it was exactly like the FDIC, but for brokerage accounts. Guess they just forgot the Ponzi scheme part. Guess so did SIPC until 2008.

      Now, if you think about it Joe, stock brokers became the vehicle for disseminating the information about SIPC insurance. And like good little salesmen, thousands and thousands of us told our worried clients that “SIPC was the FDIC of Wall Street” backed by the greatest country of all, the United Streets of America. I would say, “Not to worry sir, you are insured. Now let me get back to finding out some more inside information from a Congressman’s niece I’m dating.”

      You want another good lead Joe? Take a look at every Series 7 exam from 1970-2008. Tell us what brokers had to know about SIPC to become registered.

      As John Lennon said, “Let me say it again.”

      SIPC has perpetrated the largest insurance fraud in this country’s history. Not once did SIPC warn brokerage houses about the Ponzi exclusion.

      They had us all fooled including you Joe so stop your childish comments about Helen Chaitman and be the journalist your mother wanted you to be.

      • Charles Gevirtz

        Rich Rosen – very well put.

  • norma hill

    Once in a life time we come across a woman like Helen Chaitman, she is relentless. She has worked thousands of hours for her clients and has barely covered her expenses. Unfortunately we meet honest people under very unfortunate circumstances.

    I would like to see Messrs Picard & Sheehan put in a few pro bono hours. For them and their law firm, win lose or draw they can keep on billing hours. With regards to Joe Nocera, he can hardly be called a journalist. He is a reporter who is a gold mine of misinformation and can’t be taken seriously. One has to ask what has happened to good investigative reporting.

    Is it a thing of the past?

  • LW

    The newspaper banter won’t ever bring back a life we the innocent worked so hard to achieve.:Life’s realities and hindsight has taught us believing and entrusting our hard earned $ directly to Madoff Securities was an irreparable tragedy. . BUT, I sure did feel that inner smile come back for a moment when reading your crossfire to that complete ignorant, ill-informed and “tunnel-visioned” Joe. I ‘d like him to walk in my shoes one day just to experience how drastically ones life can change from living to existing. Not knowing if I can pay the bills each month is my new lifestyle as I put in 16-18 hour days 7 days a week trying to stay above water. Forget ever going to a movie or a restaurant or even a store to purchase a new article of clothing once in awhile. Forget buying a child or a grandchild a birthday present ever again. Forget owning a car or having any credibility with banks. Ahhh, the pleasures of living like a prisoner with limited access to partake of the real world..

    Believing in the SIPC and SIPA regulations from the 70′s stating somewhere within those pages ….. those that are innocent with no prior knowledge of wrong doings by a Security Firm ( in this case many aged) would be paid what is on their last statement…. has cost so many of us indescribable pain and hardships. Living in the greatest country in the world, one would think our country would help every innocent victim from ALLl Ponzi Schemes and not just Madoff. Instead, they add insult to injury by returning to us a mere pittance of 5 years repayment on fictitious back taxes keeping the other past 20 years; also fictitious. How could they not have had compassion and help so many Americans get through a month or two of their lives? To not consider making an exception to comfort those that are left destitutee only added to the pain and suffering of thousands of people that are victims of ponzi schemes.

    I’ve never written or responded to all I have read these past three years but your written response was so right on the dime with unspoken compassion for the people. I felt you should know that I for one stepped out of my involuntary zone to applaud and thank you for speaking ( writing) back the way you have to that thing they call a Journalist.

  • Rich Rosen: recommended

    NY Times did not publish my comment above. Yes, it made the word count limit. Today, I re-worked removing a couple of “Joe’s”. Let’s see if they let it run.

    • LD

      Rich,

      No such issues of censoring here at Sense on Cents as we pursue the truth, promote transparency, and embrace integrity.

      You think they might understand that their business model is dying. The NY Times’ emphasis on advancing an agenda as opposed to pursuing the truth is relegating them to second tier status.

      • Rich Rosen

        As a test, I made it 100% inoffensive, but keeping all else intact and they still didn’t print it. Any ideas why?

        • LD

          Rich,

          I can only guess that the NY Times has some sort of censor that automatically negates your ability to leave any and all comments for a period of time. The times probably can ‘read’ the fact that a comment is coming from your computer. That happened to me for an extended period at the WSJ.

  • Jeff

    Thanks Larry

    As a Madoff victim I am constantly amazed at the lack of knowledge and effort pretty much every reporter has put in to this event since December of 2008.

    The vast majority of the public perceive Madoff investors as asking the US Government for reimbursement when in fact we are asking SIPC (an organization funded by the ridiculously low yearly dues paid by Wall Street for that little emblem that implicitly implies US Government “insurance” for all investments up to $500,000) to honor their contract with the American public.

    I am also at a loss for words for how little has come from Dipascali during his 2+ years of house arrest and “cooperation”.

    Why haven’t the various members of the Madoff family been forced to disgorge their assets to offset the monies they received over the years and why aren’t all of the complicit parties in jail by now? All you have to do is read the original complaint filed by Picard against the Madoff family to see how complicit they were in the theft of billions of dollars from their victims.

    Some other questions might be:

    How much was Picard paid strictly relating to the Wilpon case? The final settlement, effectively trading the Wilpon’s what they were entitled to against what they owed was a total loss in my opinion for Picard, but that has never been reported.

    Besides the money that was already in Madoff’s accounts and the Picower settlement, how much money has Picard actually been able to retrieve for defrauded investors as a percentage of what he has been paid overall for his work over the past three years?

    The US Government should get the credit for the Picower settlement, not Picard.

    There are hundreds of other questions to be asked…and this reporter, as well as all the others, simply aren’t smart enough to ask them.

  • Huckleberry

    I have often considered the Madoff crime as something of a sideshow with regards to the Great Fraud recently perpetrated on the nation. Madoff seemed like a far-to-convenient scapegoat or, as William Black described him, a “piker” — at least when compared to Goldman and friends.

    That said, and having read this thread, I am forced to conclude that if our law enforcement officials, regulatory agencies, and media outlets cannot get the Madoff crime right, then we have no hope whatsoever for an actual reckoning for the larger financial fiasco.

  • Tommy Anonymous

    Helen Chaitman is a great lawyer & a hero!

    God Bless Her.

  • Andrew

    Since we know Mr. Madoff did not lose the money in the stock market or bond market, where did it go? Who got it? His friends and family could not have spent $50 billion. Why no congressional investigation? Think any campaigns were financed by Bernie?

    • Tommy Anonymous

      It went to & thru the banks, to the SEC, to all the people who made ridiculous profits,and many more. Picard knows all about where the money went.
      In 2002 I met a guy in a bar, who told me Madoff was a Ponzi Scheme! He wouldn’t give me his name, so what was I to think?
      Still my Dad and I, gave the SEC a call, and they said Madoff was A_OK, even though there were already red flags that they knew about.
      I should of belived the guy I met in the bar!

      These people are all criminals, swimming in the Washington-Wall St. cesspool, while most the 99%, have no clue, and could care less.
      I don’t blame my self, I did my due diligence!
      The SEC lied to me, and others who asked them about Madoff.
      The SEC shredding of 9,000 docs, might raise a question or two? I guess they didn’t think of scanning them first. LOL.
      When Harry Markopolos, said before congress, that Finra was “totally corrupt” and the SEC was “totally incompetent”, always confused me.
      Doesn’t Harry get paid by the SEC?
      Does Harry want to bite the hand? NAH!
      Maybe someone can explain how this works?

      So when the head of the “totally corrupt” FINRA, became the
      head of the “totally incompetent” SEC, I guess she left all that corruption behind at FINRA!
      My hope is that she becomes “incompetently corrupt”.

      Thank you Rich Rosen for you’rer article.

      When the spirit of the law becomes so preverted as to make it a mockery of it’s intent, you got SPIA.

      Sometimes it feels like the deck is stacked and the cards are marked, so I can only hope what Winston Churchill, once said about this country, is true.

      “The United States invariably does the right thing, after having exhausted every other alternative.”

      Since this is Sense on Cents, I have a little riddle.

      “What’s the only good thing about a penny?”

      I wonder if anyone will respond?

  • Phil Hocott

    “Falling on Deaf Ears”, has a certain ring to it, as is evinced in Joe’s attacks on Helen Davis Chaitman, a person, who (Joe doesn’t understand)seems to have the necessary integrity, grasp of the law, character, common sense, and credentials, to be allowed…I repeat ….to be allowed to address our (your) Congressional Finance Committee,TWICE, to defend her clients, and for that matter, all of the victims, of the Madoff Madness. Would you have done the same…..if the roles were reversed…or would you not have the “Balls” to stand up to the Committee’s scrutiny, as she did? She also took on SEC’s Shapiro, who publicly admitted, that one of her subordinates, who had invested with Madoff, should go ahead and recuse himself from any testimony, if he were subpoenaed!!! Whoa….read that again Joe…..another CYA that doesn’t seem to have enough “meat” in it to deserve an investigative report??!!

    Yes…..Helen’s mad, “And she ain’t gonna take it no more!!!”…and neither am I, nor my wife, who is still trying to sell real estate in a lousy market ( she’s 75 now, and has put in 25 years teaching, and 25 years in R.E) and lost all of her and my IRA and 401K funds to Madoff. Do you care? No….it’s obvious…..we deserved to lose our money, because we invested with a crook!!!! How did I hear about Madoff……through my Church, that’s how….they lost money too!!! I know a good Audiologist, Joe, if you need to have your ” deaf ears” checked!! …..I’ve already given his name to your friend, Picard!!!!

    Phil

  • Meg

    I sit here with tears in my eyes. I have no words to descri
    describe our desolation. Some of the above comments
    are right on target. Thank you God for giving us the
    knowledgeable and upstanding Helen Chaitman to fight
    for our rights. Mr. Picard and those that live off
    the free flowing money from the SEC and SIPC should
    put themselves in our shoes. When will Congress wake
    up and do the right thing? Pass HR 757!!






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