Alleged swinder Bernie Madoff hasn’t bought a stock in 13 years, a court-appointed trustee said Friday.
What did he do with the money?
Most likely investigators will show that he just shoveled it around, pinching the pot to handsomely pay himself and his employees. New money coming in went to pay off any old money going out – until the alleged scheme could no longer sustain itself.
This $50 billion nightmare is so unbelievable that nobody would have believed it had Madoff not run out of dough to cover redemptions in December.
I can’t imagine going up to a Madoff investor before December and trying to explain what’s allegedly been going on.
Imagine this scene:
Me: Hey, you know that money you gave Bernie? He doesn’t even invest it. He just shovels it around.
Investor: Nonsense, I just got my statement. We’re still doing pretty well.
Me: He makes those statements up. Really. They’re fake statements.
Investor: That’s the most paranoid thing I’ve ever heard.
Me: They’re going to be calling it history’s biggest Ponzi scheme once it blows. And soon people will forget about Charlie Ponzi and start calling every other Ponzi scheme “a mini-Madoff” instead.
Investor: Please. Mr. Madoff is one of the most respected men on Wall Street. He used to be chairman of the Nasdaq.
Me: That’s what made the whole thing work all these years.
Investor: Don’t be ridiculous.
Me. The downturn we’re in now is going to lay it all bare.
Investor: Come on. Some of the smartest people I know have invested with Madoff.
Me: Nobody is too smart to be hustled.
Investor: You really know how to sensationalize a story, don’t you?
Me: I wish I were that talented. You just can’t make up stuff like this.