Now that the Sosnik Bell angle it starting to get some pickup in the press, let’s recap what we know about New Jersey accounting firm Sosnik Bell, and their relationship to the Madoff Ponzi scheme.
- We know that several Madoff investors, from individuals like Burt Ross, to private foundations in Texas and Minnesota used Sosnik Bell to handle the Madoff portions of their investments.
- We know they were urged to use Sosnik on the claim that the firm had sophisticated software or expertise that was designed to digest the myriad, complex trades that Madoff performed.
- We know that Burt Ross, the former mayor of Ft. Lee New Jersy was referred to Sosnik Bell by Bob Jaffe, who was one of Madoff’s closest partners. Of all the players in this story, Jaffe may have been closer to Madoff than anyone. The two had a joint venture, Cohmad Securities Corp. The -mad stood for “Madoff”.
- Like David Friehling’s firm, Sosnik Bell is clearly very tiny with no presence on the web besides some business directory listings. Clearly this is odd for a firm of Madoff’s size and stature.
Now for some open questions and theories
- Why were so many Madoff clients steered towards this accounting firm? We haven’t proven (hopefully shortly) that Madoff-himself directed clients to Sosnik Bell, but we know that Jaffe was, perhaps, his closest confidant and that Jaffe urged Burt Ross to use them.
- If Madoff is proven to be the one who pushed his clients towards Sosnik Bell, that tells a lot, since Madoff is a cheat and a swindler who wouldn’t push clients towards a specific accounting firm by accident.
- Madoff clients were told to use Sosnik Bell because of their sophistication… BUT remember, Madoff feared sophistication. He reportedly turned down customers who asked too many questions about the business. Instead he preyed upon the financiallly naive — especially the wealthy naive.
- If Sosnik Bell were really as sophisticated as advertised, and if they were really working on behalf of their clients, how did they not sense that something didn’t add up?
- Does Sosnik Bell have clients that weren’t Madoff customers? This shouldn’t be too hard to answer, though everyone around the firm has clammed up.
- Is the FBI or the SEC currently investigating Sosnik Bell? At this point, it’s hard to believe they’re not, if only because Sosnik Bell should have some of the best “records” around.
We’ll update as we pick the lock further.
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