Since the beginning of the Madoff story, we’ve been talking about Frank Avellino and Michael Bienes, the early Madoff feeders who were busted by the SEC in the early 90s for fraudulent fundraising. Of course, they kept on raising money for him, and there’s plenty of evidence that they were more intimately tied to Madoff than many of his other feeders.
We were kind of surprised that the Frontline episode on Madoff managed to snag Michael Bienes, since he likely has a lot of legal problems ahead of him.
Of course, he put on an incredible act, talking about how the whole time he was getting rich just thought he was blessed from god, rather than dealing with a fraudster.
Avellino didn’t talk to Frontline, on the other hand, and it recently came out that Avellino is one of many Madoff feeders investigators are looking at for possible criminal charges. Bienes wasn’t on the list.
Whereas before we always put the two together “Avellino and Bienes” it seems possible that Avellino was the real ringleader here and Bienes is just is the know-nothing sidekick. Remember, it was Avellino who told his maid that she had lost all her life savings 10 days before the Madoff scandal broke. It was Bienes who friends thought might commit suicide.