Any notion that Madoff was legitimately running money up until a few years ago, but then blew it all when the market tanked should be blown out of the water by now. The more we learn, it seems it was a scam through and through:
Bloomberg: U.S. regulators, trying to unravel the breadth of Bernard Madoff’s alleged $50 billion fraud, have found evidence of misconduct stretching back to at least the 1970s, two people familiar with the inquiry said.
Madoff’s investment advisory business, where he allegedly operated the biggest Ponzi scheme in history, is now estimated to have had more than 4,000 customers, the people said, declining to be identified because the inquiry isn’t public. An advisory unit Madoff registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission claimed in a January filing to have no more than 25 clients. People familiar with the probe said Dec. 14 he also ran a secret unregistered business.