It’s doubtful that the devotees of Reaganomics and the trickle-down theory ever envisioned that they would be the ones trickling downto the middle class rather than the just leftovers from their lavish spending.
However, that is what may be happening to wealthy clients ofBernie Madoff, founder of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities and victimsof the biggest fraud in U.Shistory and quite possibly the world.
The scope and audacity of the scam is staggering with lossesof upwards of $50 billion. However, when the final tally is taken into accountnot only of personal loss, but banks and charities around the world losing alltheir assets, it will most likely be even higher.
Madoff’s client list reads like a society page roll call ofthe rich and famous. Not just rich, but lavishly rich from Manhattan toHollywood, and the wealthy enclaves of Palm Springs and the Hamptons. Onelong-time investor, who has lost virtually everything, knew Madoff from sharinga helicopter ride to work every day with him from Long Island toManhattan.
Yes, a helicopter ride.
The investment firm of Fairfield Greenwich Group, owned byWalter M. Noel, might be the biggest monetary loser in the scandal with anestimated $7.5 billion evaporating overnight. Over the years Noel invested hisclient’s funds in Madoff’s company. Noel reaped the benefits with an estate in Connecticut – featured inVanity Fair, as well a cover story in Town and Country about their homes inPalm Beach, Southampton, Park Avenue and a retreat in Mustique. Now, however,his extraordinary wealth may be in jeopardy. Not only his client’s money butalso a large portion of his own was invested exclusively in Madoff’s firm.Gosh, he might have to sell one of his 5 homes!
Wait. Let me try to muster up a little sympathy.
Some families have three generations of investors spanningover 30 years. So how did one man dupe so many people for so long? Possiblybecause they allowed themselves to be.
Bernie Madoff, a former chairman of the Nasdaq Stock Market,was a venerated name on Wall Street. His firm was on East 64th St.in Manhattan. He was a member ofgolf clubs in the Hamptons, Westchester County and Boca Raton. He had threehomes as well as a yacht in the Bahamas. He donated generously to charity.