No One Would Listen

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No one would listen

By Joseph Kiobbo, Newman University

No one would Listen: A True Financial Thriller. Harry Markopolos, ed. New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, Inc. 2010. Pp. 345.
$17.35 (hard cover)
This book brought out the failures of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in America’s history, as orchestrated by Bernie Madoff. Harry Markopolos caught up with Madoff’s Ponzi scheme earlier on in his career and saw all the red flags. There was no explanation of the continuous one percent yield in over forty five stocks that Madoff dealt with. Madoff took advantage of the laxity by the SEC officials in failing to follow up complains with an investigation, and the trust bestowed upon him by the high and mighty. As long as the public saw paper trail provided by Madoff that the stocks were continuously yielding dividends, there was no cause for alarm. The few people that realized that Madoff was actually pushing a Ponzi scheme alerted the appropriate authorities which in turn let Madoff off with a slap on the wrist. The SEC went to investigate Madoff in his building on the 18th and 19th floor but missed a whole 17th floor where the scam was mainly doing its operations. Over a period of nine years Markopolos alerted the SEC five times about the Ponzi scheme that Madoff was running, but they caught up with him when most of the money was already spent lavishly in gifts and exorbitant parties. One of the reasons Madoff was able to perpetrate his fraud for so long was his preference for marketing his investment business by word of mouth. Until the scam's later years, people heard about it from friends. It was a private club, one that, famously, became only more desirable because of Madoff's seeming reluctance to admit new investors. One of the tacit conditions, as we know now, was an understanding that information about Madoff investments -- including their existence was to be held closely. Most...
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