Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I just do not understand...

What the hell was Bernard Madoff thinking? How does an individual go from being the chairman of the NASDAQ exchange to being one of the biggest crooks on Wall Street to ever pull off a ponzi scheme? How does someone who's been in business since 1960 in the financial world come to be this huge fraud? What the hell was he thinking dragging his two sons, both of whom have also been arrested, into this fiasco? How does someone who has donated $25 million dollars to lymphoma reasearch, hospitals, theaters and Jewish educational, health and cultural charities bankrupt the charities that got caught up in his scheme?

I get how people bought into it. A ponzi scheme works and his worked very well because he paid his investors a 10-12% return using the money coming in from new investors. That percentage is high enough above the average yield to make the "investors" happy but not so high that it sets off any alarms that it might be too good to be true. He also made people feel like they were being allowed into an elite class of investors by networking through country clubs and boasting of clients with names like Steven Spielberg and Elie Wiesel as well as institutions like the Royal Bank of Scotland. I'm not shocked that people were fooled and bought into this sham.

I am shocked my Madoff's complete lack of conscience. The man must be souless. His heart must be as black and cold as a piece of coal. To defraud philantropists and charities that held dear the same values that he at least pretended to share and ruin national financial institutions reflects a lack of conscience that I can only compare to a feral, rabid, starving animal. The fact that he hadn't taken a pistol, rammed it in his mouth and blew his brains out at some point over the 48 years that he had bilking his "investors" boggles my mind. How did and how does he sleep at night?

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