Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bernie Madoff: How much will we learn? Will we ever learn?

I've heard of one family, an elderly couple, who have lost everything but their home because of Bernie Madoff. 88 is elderly, right?

How does a person dupe so many intelligent people for so long. Are we really all that greedy? Lazy? Trusting?

I remember when Mark was a member of a golf club. Our lawyer was a member. So was our insurance guy. And our Merrill Lynch guy. It's the way life works - we develop relationships and trust and then work with people. We all do it. WASPS, Jews, Italians, Asians, Irish - we tend to gravitate to people whose names sound like our own, don't we?

I feel for the more average Joe's who've lost their life savings. Like the carpet salesman who had a million dollars for retirement. And it's gone.

Here's an article from GAWKER (which has totally topped Perez for me, it's more erudite and NY'y) about Madoff's Niece who married an SEC lawyer. Now there's an INSIDE job..... Ponzi Schemers Label Whoring Niece Married SEC Lawyer.
Then there's this piece from NYT's Tom Friedman:
The stranger, a Western businessman, slipped into the chair next to me at an Asia Society lunch here in Hong Kong and asked me a question that I can honestly say I’ve never been asked before: “So, just how corrupt is America?”

His question was occasioned by the arrest of the Wall Street money manager Bernard Madoff on charges of running a Ponzi scheme that bilked investors out of billions of dollars, but it wasn’t only that. It’s the whole bloody mess coming out of Wall Street — the financial center that Hong Kong moneymen had always looked up to. How could it be, they wonder, that such brand names as Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and A.I.G. could turn out to have such feet of clay? Where, they wonder, was our Securities and Exchange Commission and the high standards that we had preached to them all these years?

One of Hong Kong’s most-respected bankers, who asked not to be identified, told me that the U.S.-owned investment company where he works made a mint in the last decade cleaning up sick Asian banks. They did so by importing the best U.S. practices, particularly the principles of “know thy customers” and strict risk controls. But now, he asked, who is there to look to for exemplary leadership?

“Previously, there was America,” he said. “American investors were supposed to know better, and now America itself is in trouble.....
Read the rest HERE.


Petra said...

I just don't know what to think or say anymore...

Part of me is thinking 'Well, don't invest into things you don't understand' whenever I hear stories about people that fell for the 'just give me your money and I'll make you rich' schemes, but on the other hand, what little money I had in my 401(k) and the boys' college funds (diversified, solid mutual funds that have been around for a while with decent returns)has pretty much evaporated... (I don't even open up the statements anymore when they come in.. I don't need the additional stress).

My heart breaks for friends that are much closer to retirement age than I am and who have seen their entire future go 'poof'...

K Fuller said...

I have said so many times in the last few months...this is the first time I can remember being glad that we had very little money to lose. Sadly what is disappearing is the account we are trying to build for our son's special needs trust.

Merelyme said...

Hiyah Kim!

Thanks for stopping by my had come over from Stephen's. It is a small world. We have something in common...we both wrote a chapter for Embracing Autism. :>)

I am a writer over at Health will have to stop by there too sometime. I am desperately trying to get an autism site there started.

Nice to see you!

Kim Stagliano said...

Get out of town!!! That's a crazy small world coincidence! Which chapter is yours? Mine's the mouthy one... Of course. I'll stop over. Come to to see what we do over there.

Otherwise - Chrysler is closing all its plants for a full month, instead of 2 weeks. NO PAY. OMG, this world!!!!! Makes me want to key my own minivan!

K Fuller said...

Hi Kim,
I don't know if you want to post this comment. It is ok if you delete it, but I wanted you to know. I went over to Health Central(I am always looking for info!) When I saw Dr Dean Edell's picture it surprised me. Have you ever heard him pontificate about the vaccine/Autism myth? Not pleasant.

Kim Stagliano said...

He's a Kool Aid salesman..... brings in ad dollars too.


Merelyme said...

I have never read any of doctor dean's writings. I just write about depression and Multiple Sclerosis.

Kim Stagliano said...

Merelyme, he's a radio/TV personality doctor, been around a long time. Like a Sanjay Gupta long before Sanjay Gupta.