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Bernard Lawrence Madoff (April 29, 1938 – April 14, 2021) was an American banker and fraudster who orchestrated the world’s biggest Ponzi scam, totaling $64.8 billion. He was the chairman of the NASDAQ stock market at one point. He promoted the spread of electronic trading platforms as well as the notion of paying for order flow, which has been dubbed a “legal kickback.” In 1960, Bernard L. Madoff established a penny stock brokerage, which developed into Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities. Until his arrest on December 11, 2008, he was the company’s chairman. The business was the 6th largest market maker in S&P 500 equities in 2008. Madoff spent a year at the University of Alabama, where he joined the Tau Chapter of the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity, before transferring to Hofstra University and earning a Bachelor of Arts in political science in 1960. Madoff briefly attended Brooklyn Law School, but dropped out after his first year to start his own firm, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC.
Madoff established Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC as a penny stock broker-dealer in 1960 with $5,000 (equivalent to $44,000 in 2020) earned as a lifeguard and irrigation sprinkler installer, as well as a $50,000 loan from his father-in-law, accountant Saul Alpern, who referred a circle of friends and their families. Carl J. Shapiro was an early investor, putting up $100,000. Initially, the company created markets (quoted bid and ask prices) on the Pink Sheets of the National Quotation Bureau. His business began leveraging revolutionary computer information technology to compete with businesses that were members of the New York Stock Exchange trading on the stock exchange’s floor.
The company operated as a third-party market trader, circumventing exchange specialised firms by directly executing orders from retail brokers over the counter. Madoff Securities was formerly the NASDAQ’s largest market maker, and in 2008, it was the sixth-biggest market maker in S&P 500 equities. The fraud probe was focused on the firm’s investment management and advisory section, which it did not publish. Madoff was a member of the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD), a self-regulatory group for the securities sector. He was a member of the board of governors and chairman of the board of directors.
In 1992, two persons filed a complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over investments they made with Avellino & Bienes, the successor firm to his father-in-accounting law’s firm. Alpern and two of his colleagues, Frank Avellino and Michael Bienes, had been raising money for Madoff for years, and this practise continued when Avellino and Bienes took over the business in the 1970s. The SEC terminated the lawsuit after Avellino repaid the money to investors. In 2004, Genevievette Walker-Lightfoot, a lawyer with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE), alerted her supervisor branch chief Mark Donohue that her investigation into Madoff had shown significant anomalies.
Despite receiving concerns from Harry Markopolos and others for almost a decade, the SEC was chastised for its lack of financial understanding and lack of due diligence following Madoff’s arrest. Kotz, the SEC’s Inspector General, discovered that the SEC had mishandled six Madoff investigations since 1992, either due to inept staff work or by ignoring complaints from financial professionals and whistle-blowers. At least some SEC investigators questioned whether Madoff was trading at all. Inspector General David C. Williams of the United States Postal Service was brought in to investigate allegations about Inspector General Kotz’s behaviour in the Madoff probe. Because Kotz was a “very good buddy” of Markopolos, the Williams Report questioned his involvement on the Madoff probe. When Kotz and Markopolos became buddies, investigators were unable to ascertain. If the friendship had occurred while Kotz was investigating Madoff, it would have been a breach of the ethical rule.
Personal Profile of Bernie Madoff
- Name: Bernie Madoff
- Date of Birth: 29 April 1938
- Age: 82 Years
- Birth Sign: Taurus
- Nationality: American
- Parents: Ralph Madoff, Sylvia Madoff
- Siblings: NA
- Birth Place/City: Queens, New York, United States
- Profession: Financier
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