Portfolio & Information & More

December 11th, 2008

$50 Billion | Bernard Madoff

I photographed Bernie October 7, 1999 for a business magazine. It was one of the first portraits I ever made on assignment.

Today, at 8:30am, Bernie was arrested by the FBI and was set to be released this afternoon on a $10 million bond.

The charge? $20-$50 BILLION in Securities Fraud. Yes, Billion.

Bernie was once even chairman of the NASDAQ.

Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC
on their website:
“In an era of faceless organizations owned by other equally faceless organizations, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC harks back to an earlier era in the financial world: The owner’s name is on the door. Clients know that Bernard Madoff has a personal interest in maintaining the unblemished record of value, fair-dealing, and high ethical standards that has always been the firm’s hallmark.”

by Bernie’s own admission via the AP:
Madoff told employees he was “finished,” that he had “absolutely nothing,” that “it’s all just one big lie” and it was “basically, a giant Ponzi scheme,” according to a criminal complaint in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

via the WSJ/NYT:
The disclosure came after Mr. Madoff tried to distribute early bonuses to employees of his firm, (approximately $200 million to $300 million to “certain selected employees, family and friends.”) prompting questions by senior employees, a person familiar with the situation said. Mr. Madoff, 70 years old, allegedly told employees he had a couple of hundred million dollars left and wanted to distribute it before turning himself in to authorities, this person said.