FRAUD – Bernie Madoff died aged 82 in North Carolina Penitentiary where he was serving 150 years in prison. Back on the biggest financial scam of the century which caused its downfall.
“I leave shame as a legacy for my family and my grandchildren.” In June 2009, on the last day of his trial, Bernie Madoff had split the armor, admitting to having inflicted “a lot of pain and suffering” around him. Shame and sorrow, certainly, but also abysmal losses which have earned him the nickname of “crook of the century “.
This figure of New York finance, died this Wednesday at the age of 82 in the North Carolina penitentiary where he was serving a 150-year prison sentence, will remain as the author of the biggest financial scam in history. Coming from a modest Jewish family in Queens, Bernard Madoff founded a brokerage company while he was still at the university, at the end of the 1950s. Over the years, he manages to build a double image of pioneer of finance and establishment personality.
High net worth clients and institutions trapped
It took the 2008 financial crisis to expose the scandal. Suddenly, Bernie Madoff found himself faced with multiple requests for massive withdrawals, while deposits became scarce. His system then collapsed, like a house of cards. Many financial institutions and high net worth clients found themselves trapped, including American actor Kevin Bacon, writer Elie Wiesel or director Steven Spielberg, who lost several million dollars. Some of his victims know a dramatic end: Thierry de la Villehuchet, French financier based in New York and who had placed at Bernie Madoff about 1.4 billion dollars of clients such as Liliane Bettencourt, committed suicide in his office in Manhattan end of December 2008.
The Madoff system? Pyramid fraud, “like Ponzi“. Its principle: to draw from the deposits of its new clients to remunerate or reimburse older investors. Having become a figure on Wall Street, he offered, in addition to brokerage services (sale and purchase of securities on behalf of clients ), an investment vehicle that quickly became a success.
- United States: Bernard Madoff is dead
A growing number of institutional investors but also high net worth individuals have entrusted it with billions of dollars in management, seduced by the promise of a high and above all stable return, in a world of finance that is by definition unpredictable. The sums claimed by investors who took legal action after the scandal broke reached more than $ 17 billion. Including the profits touted by Bernie Madoff, which turned out to be virtual, the losses amount to $ 65 billion.
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