Madoff: Banks 'Had to Know' About My Scheme

In first interview, says they were 'complicit' by not acting against him
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2011 8:29 PM CST
Updated Feb 16, 2011 4:35 AM CST
Bernie Madoff Interview: He Says Banks, Hedge Funds 'Had to Know' About His Ponzi Scheme
A 2009 file photo of Bernie Madoff outside court.   (AP Photo/Louis Lanzano, file)

How did Bernie Madoff pull off such a massive Ponzi scheme under the noses of the banks and hedge funds he dealt with? Simple, he says. They knew he was a fraud. “They had to know,” Madoff tells the New York Times in his first interview since being sent to prison for 150 years. “But the attitude was sort of, ‘If you’re doing something wrong, we don’t want to know.'" He did not name any of the banks he considers "complicit in one form or another" but says he told trustee Irving Picard—the man charged with getting investors' money back—all about it. Which might explain Picard's allegations against JPMorgan Chase.

Other tidbits:

  • Madoff "seemed frail and a bit agitated compared with the stoic calm he maintained before his incarceration," writes Diana B. Henriques.
  • He again insisted his family knew nothing and criticized the "disgraceful" media coverage of son Mark's suicide.
  • He said he's been helping Picard get clients' money back, adding that many earned good profits before the fraud began. “I would have loved for them to not lose anything, but that was a risk they were well aware of by investing in the market,” he wrote in an email.
Full story here. (More Bernie Madoff stories.)

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