Posted tagged ‘Madoff Fraud’

Bernard Madoff Gets 150 Years

June 29, 2009

A federal judge sentenced Bernard Madoff to 150 years in prison for operating the Ponzi scheme that devastated thousands of people.

From the New York Times:

In pronouncing the sentence — the maximum he could have handed down — Judge Denny Chin turned aside Mr. Madoff’s own assertions of remorse and rejected the suggestion from Mr. Madoff’s lawyers that there was a sense of “mob vengeance” surrounding calls for a long prison term.

“Objectively speaking, the fraud here was staggering,” the judge said. “It spanned more than 20 years.”

The sentencing came at the end of a 90-minute hearing in which victims of the $65 billion fraud told a packed courtroom that the judge should show no mercy and Mr. Madoff himself stood up from the defense table to acknowledge the damage he had inflicted and express regret.

“I’m responsible for a great deal of suffering and pain, I understand that,” the 71-year-old financier told the court. “I live in a tormented state now, knowing all of the pain and suffering that I’ve created. I’ve left a legacy of shame, as some of my victims have pointed out, to my family and my grandchildren.”


Investor in Madoff Scheme Commits Suicide

February 14, 2009

William Foxton, a former British soldier, killed himself after losing his life savings in an alleged $50 billion fraud run by Wall Street financier Bernard Madoff.

From Reuters:

William Foxton, 65, who had served in the British Army and more recently worked as a defense contractor in Afghanistan, died from a single bullet wound to the head in the southern English port city of Southampton on Tuesday, police said.

“A pistol was recovered at the scene. Police do not believe the death to be suspicious,” a police statement said.

His son Willard said his father had returned from Afghanistan and revealed his life savings had been lost. He did not say how much had gone, but news reports said it was close to 1 million pounds ($1.45 million).

“He came back and we were all very glad he was back and retiring and we were looking forward to him spending a long and happy retirement with us, but unfortunately very recently … I got in contact with him to ask him some ordinary family stuff and halfway through the conversation he said: ‘Look, I’m really sorry, I can’t concentrate, I’m afraid I’ve lost everything, I’ve lost all the money, I might have to declare myself bankrupt’,” Willard Foxton told Sky news.

“He invested in hedge funds (and) without going into the names of the specific hedge funds, essentially these two hedge funds had taken the money, and as far as I can understand from news reports and the class action lawsuits being filed against them, they had taken all the money that was invested with them and then sunk that into Bernie Madoff’s fund.”

Madoff Investor Commits Suicide

December 24, 2008

he founder of an investment fund that lost $1.4 billion with Bernard Madoff was discovered dead Tuesday after committing suicide at his Madison Avenue office.

From the Associated Press:

Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet, 65, was found sitting at his desk at about 8 a.m. with both wrists slashed, New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said. A box cutter was found on the floor along with a bottle of sleeping pills on his desk. No suicide note was found.

De la Villehuchet was one of several fund managers to be hit hard in Madoff’s alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme. Investment funds that lost big to Madoff are also facing backlash and investor lawsuits for not protecting their clients from the alleged fraud.

It is not immediately known what kind of scrutiny de la Villehuchet was facing over his Madoff losses through his Access International Advisors, located a couple of blocks from Rockefeller Center.

But on Monday night, he told cleaning crews in his building that he wanted them out of his office by 7 p.m. because he was going to be working late.

Workers returned Tuesday morning and found the door locked. He was later discovered dead at his desk, with a garbage can placed near his body to apparently catch the blood, Browne said.

De la Villehuchet, (pronounced veel-ou-SHAY) was a prominent investor who came from a long line of aristocratic Frenchmen, with the Magon part of his name referring to one of France’s most powerful families.

The Magon name is even listed on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, a world-famous monument that was commissioned by Napoleon in 1806.

His fund enlisted intermediaries with links to the cream of Europe’s high society to garner clients. Among them was Philippe Junot, a French businessman and friend who is the former husband of Princess Caroline of Monaco, and Prince Michel of Yugoslavia.

De la Villehuchet, the former chairman and chief executive of Credit Lyonnais Securities USA, was also known as a keen sailor who regularly participated in regattas and was a member of the New York Yacht Club.

From CNN:

Thierry de la Villehuchet, a hedge fund adviser and investor whose firm said he lost $1.5 billion investing with Wall Street adviser Bernard Madoff, was found dead in his office in an apparent suicide Tuesday, police said.

Emergency personnel discovered the body of Villehuchet, 65, at 7:29 a.m. in the Madison Avenue office of Access International Advisors, police said.

Villehuchet suffered “cuts made to his arm, to his wrist and also to his bicep area, with a box cutter,” New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said at a news conference.

He also told reporters there were pills present, though it wasn’t clear whether any were ingested, and there was no suicide note.

The body will be examined and a toxicology report issued Wednesday, said Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the New York medical examiner.

Kelly read a statement from Access International Advisors’ attorney saying the firm lost $1.5 billion by investing with Madoff, 70, a former Nasdaq chairman who is accused of operating a $50 billion Ponzi scheme.

Madoff Scheme Hits Charities Hard

December 18, 2008

The list of charities devastated by Bernard Madoff’s alleged fraud keeps growing and now includes celebrities such as Steven Spielberg.

From the AFP:

Steven Spielberg’s charitable foundation fell victim to the mammoth 50-billion-dollar fraud allegedly carried out by Wall Street heavyweight Bernard Madoff, reports said.

It is not known if the Oscar-winning film-maker had chunks of his personal fortune invested with Madoff but the director’s Wunderkinder Foundation has suffered losses, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The foundation could not be immediately contacted for comment.

The newspaper reported that about 70 percent of the dividend income and interest for the foundation had been handled by Madoff’s securities firm, which is now the subject of one of the biggest fraud investigations in history.

The Journal also cited people familiar with the case as saying that Spielberg’s partner at DreamWorks Animation SKG, chief executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, had sustained “millions in Madoff-connected losses.”

The report said both Katzenberg and Spielberg were the only two clients of legendary Hollywood financial adviser Jerry Breslauer, who had dealt with Madoff since 2004.

From Reuters:

The alleged $50 billion fraud by former Nasdaq Chairman Bernard Madoff has rippled deep into Boston’s wealthy elite, forcing a charitable foundation to close and triggering losses by prominent philanthropists.

The Robert I. Lappin Charitable Foundation, which financed trips for Jewish youth to Israel, said the money that supported its programs was invested with Madoff, a 70-year-old Wall Street trader arrested on Thursday.

“The money needed to fund the programs of the Lappin Foundation is gone,” the Salem, Massachusetts-based foundation said on its website, adding all staff had been let go.

“It is with a heavy heart that I make this announcement,” Robert I. Lappin, the foundation’s trustee, said in a statement.

The Boston Globe reported on Saturday that other clients of Madoff included philanthropists Carl and Ruth Shapiro, big donors to the Museum of Fine Arts, Brandeis University and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

The Shapiro family foundation lost almost half its money, or about $145 million, to Madoff, the newspaper said.

Other clients included Avram and Carol Goldberg, a previous owner of the Stop&Shop supermarket chain, and Stephen Fine, president of privately held Biltrite Corp.

Federal agents arrested Madoff at his apartment on Thursday after prosecutors said he told senior employees that his money management operations were “all just one big lie” and “a giant Ponzi scheme.”

A Ponzi scheme is an illegal investment vehicle that pays off old investors with money from new ones and is dependent on a constant stream of new investment. Because the invested capital is not earning a sufficient return on its own, such schemes eventually collapse under their own weight.