A decade ago this weekend, the King of Ponzi Schemers was sentenced to 150 years in jail.
New Yorker Bernie Madoff pleaded guilty in March 2009. His lawyer wanted only a dozen years, but Judge Denny Chin made sure he would never leave jail alive for bilking $65 billion from tens of thousands of investors.
No reporter knows Madoff better than Diana Henriques, author of The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust. The New York Times bestseller was made into an HBO film starring Robert De Niro.
Henriques is one of the best in the business at following the money. She was in Vancouver last week to speak at the Trace International Bribery and Economic Crime Summit.
“I actually had known Bernie before you’d ever heard of him,” Henriques told theBreaker.news Podcast host Bob Mackin. “He had been a trailblazing innovator in the world of NASDAQ, even before the world of NASDAQ.”
He could buy a stock for $1 a share and sell it for $4 under the radar. He harnessed the potential of technology to further his scheming.
“You could almost say he automated Ponzi schemes, he did for the Ponzi scheme what he did for over the counter stock trading,” Henriques said.
A decade later, are investors and regulators wiser?
Henriques said there have been steps forward, such as reformation of the SEC whistleblower office. But poorly funded policing of markets and a lack of trained, experienced people mean there is still a long way to go.
“I am hoping it won’t take another giant Ponzi scheme to get to the point where effective regulation is taken,” she said.
Listen to the full interview with Henriques. Plus commentaries and Pacific Rim and Pacific Northwest headlines.
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