Bernie Madoff described his scheme as a “$50 billion” fraud. As of January this year, Bernie’s firm reported $17 billion of assets. In his final days as a respected Wall Street kingpin, Bernie said he wanted to pay out as bonuses the “$200-$300 million” his firm had left.
There’s a big delta there, and no one seems to know yet how much Bernie actually lost.
$50 billion is an extraordinary number, so at this point it seems likely that it’s just more Bernie fiction. Even $17 billion is a pretty big number, however. (To put it in context, it’s more that Detroit is asking for). And God forbid that the real number is $50 billion, of which $33 billion was borrowed from Wall Street and other firms.
Perhaps the $17 billion on the books in January was hooey, too, and the fraud is actually much smaller. We (and Bernie’s clients) can always hope.
And who were these clients, anyway? We realise Bernie kept this and other info under lock and key, but we would be grateful if he or anyone else could send us a list. ([email protected]).