This show was originally broadcast February 3, 2018. It’s been ten years since former NASDAQ chairman Bernie Madoff was arrested for committing one of the largest financial crimes in U.S. history. For decades he ran a Ponzi scheme from a secret office in New York, duping thousands of investors out of billions of dollars. Many of them lost everything when the house of cards fell.
How did Madoff pull it off? And what steps have regulators taken in the past decade to ensure that it doesn’t happen again? For this week’s episode, we teamed up with Steve Fishman, a reporter based in New York City who’s followed the story for years. He produced and hosted a seven-part podcast for Audible called “Ponzi Supernova.”
Through interviews with financial experts, federal agents, Madoff’s cellmates and Madoff himself, Fishman explains how the $60 billion con worked, and why Madoff was able to elude regulators for decades. Fishman says that while Madoff was the mastermind of the scheme, it was banks and other financial institutions who “weaponized” him, turning him from a “local swindler” into an unstoppable force.
Madoff will spend the rest of his life in prison, but no one from these institutions faced similar consequences. And even though some precautions have been put in place since Madoff’s arrest, financial experts warn that for the most part, investors are still on their own.