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article imageOp-Ed: Bernie Madoff's crimes still reverberating

By Eric Deville     Jun 26, 2014 in Crime
New York - Bernie Madoff's former attorney. Paul Konisberg, pleads guilty to security fraud — reminding us of a decade fraught with lies.
This past Tuesday, we were once again reminded lies and fraud on Wall Street when Paul Konigsberg, former accountant to Bernie Madoff, pled guilty to conspiracy related to the $65 billion Madoff fraud — the largest Ponzi scheme in history. Fraud is by no means a new occurrence, considering the term “Ponzi Sceme” was coined in 1920 after Charles Ponzi, who performed the scheme himself, but it does seem like these accounts of mass fraud are becoming more and more common. It only takes a quick Wikipedia search to see that there have been 44 reported Ponzi schemes in the past 14 years when there only five reported Ponzi schemes in the 80s. This comes as no surprise considering these accounts of mass fraud seem to be everywhere we turn. It was just this year that the Wolf of Wall Street, a film documenting Jordan Belfort’s penny stock scam, became a blockbuster hit making almost $400 million dollars.
What this movie as well as the constant news stories covering these scandals shows us is that these schemes genuinely ruin a lot of people’s lives. It is alleged that Madoff stole $20 billion, more than half of which has yet to be recovered and returned to investors. Countless people and companies, including a few non-profit organizations, went bankrupt after entrusting their life’s savings to Madoff. Even celebrities such as Kevin Bacon and Steven Spielberg lost considerable amounts of money due to the fraud.
Not just the lives of investors, but the lives of people close to these schemers were completely turned upside down. Konigsberg, who still maintains he knew nothing of Madoff’s lies, is now facing prison time due to his association with Madoff. Even more tragic, Madoff’s son, Mark, who was cleared of any wrongdoing, committed suicide exactly two years after his father’s arrest. Mark’s wife told authorities that her husband could no longer handle the shame that his father’s had brought upon the family. Both the former wives of Madoff and Belfort went from living lavish lifestyles in their multi-million dollar mansions to having all their money seized by the government. Madoff’s wife moved in with her sister after her husband’s arrest and Belfort’s wife was left as a single parent to their two children during Belfort’s 22 months in prison.
Bernard Madoff departs US Federal Court after a hearing in New York
Bernard Madoff departs US Federal Court after a hearing in New York
� Lucas Jackson / Reuters, Reuters
After a decade characterized by fraud and financial struggles, one can only hope that these cases will serve as cautionary tales to future brokers looking to succeed and Wall Street.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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