The Bernard L. Madoff Ponzi case


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I recommend this book is an excellent source for anyone wanting to make a serious study of the inside workings of the Bernard L. Madoff fraud.  The book draws together numerous scholarly articles the author has written on the subject. I’ve highly recommended Lionel Lewis’s case analyses to my students.

From the Publisher – Book Description…

Bernard Madoff’s financial fraud was global, an enormous amount of money was involved, and thousands of people and hundreds of institutions were swindled. Madoff’s con game was a Ponzi scheme—an investment that pays returns to early investors from money acquired from subsequent investors.

This case study of the Madoff scheme looks at the effects of his crimes on the victims. Elements from a theoretical framework put forward by Erving Goffman provide a perspective for understanding the development and the aftermath of Madoff’s con. For example, as Goffman would have put it, Madoff’s “marks were not cooled out.” Many did not accept the fact that they were victims of a con game and publicly clamored for sympathy, restitution, and for public officials to share their perspective.

Inside men, ropers, outside men, and victims are at the core of con games. Lionel S. Lewis emphasizes that it is important to understand a con game’s characteristics so as to grasp how it operates. The Madoff fraud includes elements of a variety of con games. For a comprehensive study of this economic crime, the “case study” must be seen as part of the broader social system. Considerably more is known about the dynamics of con games than about Ponzi schemes, and this fact frames this book’s approach. To better understand what Madoff did, who was central in keeping his scheme alive, whom he defrauded, and how they reacted, this work is as invaluable as it is illuminating. (from the publisher)

Lionel S. Lewis (Author)

Lionel S. Lewis is professor emeritus of sociology and adjunct professor of higher education at SUNY/Buffalo. He has written more than one hundred fifty research articles, essays, and reviews. He is the author of Cold War on Campus: A Study of the Politics of Organizational Control and Academic Governance: The Lattimore Case at Johns Hopkins.


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If you’re looking for a readable, intelligent, and authoritative book about Bernard L. Madoff and the massive Ponzi scheme he perpetuated with his exclusive “hedge fund”, this book should be your source. Diana B. Henriques presents Madoff’s story through the eyes of solid investigative reporting, skillfully weaving the facts together while never forgetting the impact on human lives.

In the words of the publisher, The New York Times…

In The Wizard of Lies, Diana B. Henriques of The New York Times — who has led the papers coverage of the Madoff scandal since the day the story broke — has written the definitive book on the man and his scheme, drawing on unprecedented access and more than one hundred interviews with people at all levels and on all sides of the crime, including Madoff’s first interviews for publication since his arrest.

A true-life financial thriller, The Wizard of Lies contrasts Madoff’s remarkable rise on Wall Street, where he became one of the country’s most trusted and respected traders, with dramatic scenes from his accelerating slide toward self-destruction.

It is also the most complete account of the heartbreaking personal disasters and landmark legal battles triggered by Madoff’s downfall — the suicides, business failures, fractured families, shuttered charities — and the clear lessons this timeless scandal offers to Washington, Wall Street, and Main Street.


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For anyone wanting to track the events of the Bernard L. Madoff fraud with authoritative content as they unfolded in the news, this New York Times compilation of NYT articles about Bernard L. Madoff is a must-read. It chronicles events from his arrest in December 2008 to his long-term secretary’s sentencing hearing in December 2014). It’s available only in eBook editions, but at significantly less than $5 it’s a bargain.

Many of the articles carry Diana B. Henriques byline. This New York Times investigative reporter has been reporting Bernie Madoff’s fraud case from the beginning in 2008, and has recently released her own book, The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust.


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Harry Markopolos may have been the first person to officially point to Bernard L. Madoff as a fraudster. This is a very interesting read, and an illuminating vision of the difficulties of reporting a high-profile fraudster. No one wanted to believe that “the emperor has no clothes.”

No One Would Listen is the thrilling story of how the Harry Markopolos, a little-known number cruncher from a Boston equity derivatives firm, and his investigative team uncovered Bernie Madoff’s scam years before it made headlines, and how they desperately tried to warn the government, the industry, and the financial press. lp.wileypub.com/Markopolos/